Ilyushin IL-1E. Radio control scale model Russian fighter prototype for .40 to .60 engines and 4 to 7 functions.
Quote: "Brian Young unearths a unique Russian combatant - makes an ideal introduction to WW2 models - for '40' to '60' engines, 59 ins span and four to seven function radio.
THIS MODEL has been designed and built to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a little known Russian prototype which, had fate decreed otherwise, could have made a significant contribution to the outcome of WW2. The Ilyushin IL-1E was, like the British Martin Baker MB5, the right aircraft at the wrong time. At a time when most Western fighter development was tending towards bigger, heavier and more powerful aircraft, the Soviet policy was to go for the smaller, lighter and more manoeuverable machine of much simpler construction which could be mass produced in greater numbers with less sophisticated facilities.
The Ilyushin IL-1E was just such an aircraft, mainly of traditional wooden construction, at a time when the Soviet aircraft industry was suffering critical shortages of steel tube and light alloy, with a span of just 10.2 metres and weighing 2560g (empty) it was smaller and lighter than most of its contemporaries, but still packed (for the time) quite a formidable punch with 2 x 20mm Berezina cannon and 4 x 7.62mm machine guns. It was powered by the Shvetsov M82 14 cylinder radial engine of 1050hp, developed from the American Wright Cyclone 14, but with shorter stroke and higher compression ratio to make it more compact for the smaller Russian fighters. Unusually for fighter aircraft of that period, all the engine exhausts were taken to a central trough on the underside, which together with the wing mounted (and shrouded) guns suggested an application for night fighter duties, (ie no exhaust flame or gun flash to spoil the pilots night vision). It was fitted with a wide track inward folding undercarriage, similar to our Hurricane, which made the aircraft much easier to operate from rough 'pasture' type airstrips (and most suitable for a scale model).
Development of the prototype was delayed due to engine cylinder head overheating problems, so by the time of the first test flight in early April 1940, with test pilot Aleksei Nikashin at the controls, the llyushin production facilities had already been fully committed to the production of the IL-2 Stormavik ground attack aircraft which went on to be produced in greater numbers than any other aircraft before or since. Other Soviet production facilities were also fully stretched, so that while othe major WW2 combatants phased into service new fighter types as the conflict progressed, the Soviet Union alone was unable to afforc such luxury; all effort had to be directec towards maximising fighter output and the disruption of assembly lines and ensuing loss of production inevitably associatec with the introduction of an entirely new aircraft were not be tolerated.
The Model. The model is built to a scale of 1-3/4 in to 1 foot, making it the same scale as the Brian Taylor/Mick Reeves Spitfires and emphasising just how small the full size 1L-1E actually was when the models are parked side by side. As far as I can be sure from the limited ammount of information available, the outline and general shape are accurate but lacking definite information have used a symmetrical wing and tail sections making the model a useful aerobatic performer.
The only deliberate deviations from scale have been to enlarge the tailplane slightly (as spotted by one eagle eyed gentleman at Old Warden), and to shorten the undercarriage legs, as the full size had a tendency to 'kangaroo' somewhat on landing. The prototype model has been built with the usual four function 'full house' controls, plus flaps, retracts and 'working' machine guns. The 'guns' are in fact small light bulbs in the wing leading edge, being controlled by a suitable circuit (described later) to flicker on and off as required - all very gimicky but effective - it's funny, real guns barely flicker, except in films, so everyone expects them to!.
I have used a little 'artistic licence' with the colour scheme (based on the third prototype), as the only photographs I have are in black and white, so the desert camouflage scheme (courtesy of 'Do it All' spray cans), is most probably inaccurate but the markings and lettering are accurate... "
Ilyushin, R/C Scale Aircraft, April/May 1990.
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Article pages, thanks to RFJ.
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