Aviation of World War II
MiG-3 with AM-38 Engine
In the summer of 1941, to ensure the best flight characteristics of the MiG-3 fighter at low altitudes, an AM-38 engine with a take-off power of 1600 hp was installed on machine No. 3595. and screw AV-5L-110A. The aircraft was handed over for factory testing at the FRI, where the first flight took place on July 31. Test pilot Yu.K. Stankevich and lead engineer K.N. Mkrtychan were appointed responsible for the tests, which took place from August 1 to 12.
Due to the higher power of the AM-38 engine (by 400 hp at the ground) and the lower altitude limit compared to the AM-35A engine, the MiG-3 No. 3595 showed significantly better flight data up to an altitude of 4000 m, especially at top speeds. The fighter was tested in two versions: the one presented by factory No. 1 and with changes proposed by the Chief Designer (new design of the fairings on the exhaust pipes, retracted bomb racks and a neutral gas system). In the first version, a speed of 582 km / h was achieved at an altitude of 3400 m, in the second version - 592 km / h.
However, the installation of the AM-38 on the MiG-3 aircraft with the old water and oil coolers caused an increase in the operating temperature, which ensured the normal operation of the engine at an outdoor air temperature on the ground of no more than +16°C. In this regard, it was necessary to change the aircraft cooling system.
Tests have shown that the MiG-3 fighter with the AM-38 engine, provided that the temperature conditions are brought to normal and the causes of unsatisfactory engine response are eliminated, can be effectively used to combat enemy aircraft at altitudes below 4000 m. AM-38 did not require significant structural modifications of the production aircraft.
After testing at the LII, the MiG-3 No. 3595 was returned to Factory No. 1 to change the engine and eliminate defects, after which it was sent for state testing at the Air Force Research Institute. It was not possible to complete the tests completely due to the inconsistency of the suction boost. In addition, during one of the flights there was a deformation of the fuel tanks. Having made about 22 flights, the aircraft was returned to the factory on September 28 for revision, replacement of crumpled tanks and removal of flight characteristics. On October 4, flights resumed at the LES of plant No. 1. However, on October 5, 1941, the MiG-3 aircraft No. 3595, while determining speeds by altitude and checking the rate of climb, crashed, in which test pilot N.P. Baulin died.
As the investigation showed, the cause of the incident was an air battle, as a result of which MiG-3 No. 3595 went into a dive, which ended in disaster. According to eyewitnesses, they saw a second plane in the crash area and heard gunfire in the air. The study of the remains of the MiG-3 showed that 5-10 shots were fired from the ShKAS machine guns, and 50-70 shots from the BS machine gun. This circumstance also testified to combat contact with an enemy aircraft. The immediate cause of the disaster was the destruction of the fuselage tail skin, damaged in battle, with the loss of the tail, as a result of which the aircraft lost control and went into an uncontrollable spin.
Meanwhile, due to the shortage of AM-35A engines in some parts of the Air Force, they independently installed AM-38 engines on MiG-3 aircraft. So the technical staff of 402 IAP in November 1941 in the field installed AM-38 engines on two aircraft. The tests were carried out by the regiment commander, Major K.A. Gruzdev and squadron commander Captain B.G. Borodai. During one of the test flights, K.A. Gruzdev on the MiG-3 fighter No. 4184 with the AM-38 engine installed on it entered into battle with enemy bombers and shot down two aircraft.
2 Without slats.
3 Without slats.
4 With slats. With AV-5L-110 airscrew. The airplane has shown maximum speed near the ground 475 km/h and at the altitude 8100 m - 619 km/h. Taking - off and run have made 380 m and 415 m accordingly