Yakovlev YAK·3

On March 3, 2017, after 6+ years of decorating our maintenance hangar, the work on the YAK-3 engine cooling was completed and the Alison engine once again breathe life into this airplane.

The work done constitutes a complete overhaul, the highlights of which being:

  • Redesign of the oil cooler ducting. 
  • Installation of a spray bar system for the coolant radiator and oil radiator.
  • Overhauled engine by Vintage V-12’s.
  • Overhauled prop.
  • Landing gear evaluations and adjustments. 
  • Fuel mixture cable mounting.
  • Numerous crack repairs. 
  • Many new components. 
  • All new hoses of all types.
  • New tires, brakes.
  • Fuel tank repairs

Ground crew personnel:

Crew Chief : John McMahon
Martin Mohan engineering/ installation
Pete Law – Thermodynamics/ evaluation
Paul De Laurel -welding/ design.
Tom Newhard.  Ken Gottschall.  Steve McCartney. Chris Liguori

The paint scheme is from Captain Marcel O. Albert of the Normandie – Nieman Free French squadron fighting in Russia.
Captain Albert had 23 Air to air victories and flew the Yak 3 in 1943-1944 with this paint scheme.

  • The Yak-3 is widely considered the lightest and most agile of the fighters built between 1939 and 1945. Design began in 1941 with the parameters being the least possible drag, smallest dimensions and weight consistent with a maneuverable and tough fighting machine. It did not enter operations until July 1944.  Yakovlev built 4,848,
  • The Yak-3 proved to be an exceptional dogfighter at altitudes up to 13,125 feet with an “exceptional” score rate against German aircraft The Luftwaffe pilots were warned to avoid combat with the Yak-3 when flying below 15,000 feet.
  • We had two Yak-3’s, one built in 1944 and the other a newer one built in the late 1990’s at the Yakovlev factory on the same assembly line.
  • The YAK-3 currently operated by CAFSoCal is the “replica” airframe built in the 1990s, although the term “replica” is not an accurate description for this aircraft since it was built on the same assembly line, using the same tooling as the 1940s vintage airframes.
  • The 1944 Yak-3 was one of the two original Yak-3’s left after WW II and the only one in the United States. It was paid for by Feraponty Petrovich Galovatog and given to Boris Eromon after his Yak-1 (and six other Yak-1 ‘s) encountered 25 German fighters and bombers, downed them all and were damaged beyond repair during the dogfight. Eromon flew this Yak-3 throughout the remainder of WW II totaling more than 20 victories over Stalingrad and Berlin.
  • It was on display in Moscow as a national treasure from the end of WW II in its original state until it was transported to LeBourget in May 1985 for the Paris Air Show. This extraordinary demonstration of friendship between the Soviet Union and the United States was the first time the Soviets allowed a national aviation military treasure to be displayed in the United States and signified a new era in cultural understanding.
  • In August 1991 it was flown from Moscow to Vancouver, B.C, by Antonov An-124 and transported by truck to the Santa Monica Museum of Flying for display. In 2003 the
    aircraft was transported from Santa Monica to the CAF Southern California Wing Museum in Camarillo after the Santa Monica Museum of Flying closed at the Donald Douglas Loop facility. This Yak-3 is now located at the Museum of Flying in Santa Monica, CA.

Donate to the Yak-3 Maintenance Fund!

Manufacturer: Yakovlev

Built: 1944 -1945 (CAF SoCal airframe built in 1990s)

Type: Single engine Fighter

Wing Span: 30 ft. 2 .25. in.

Engine: Klimov VK-i05PF-2 Liquid cooled, V12 piston 1,300 HP (CAFSoCal engine: Allison V-1710

Weight:4,641Ibs. (empty); 5,864 Ibs. (fuIly loaded)

Max Speed: 407 mph. at 10,170 ft.

Cruising Speed:348 mph. at optimum altitude

Climb rate: 2.980 ft. per min.

Range: 559 nautical mi.

Service Ceiling: 35.105 ft.

Armament: One 20 mm ShVAK cannon engine-mounted; Two 12.7 mm wing mounted UBS machine guns