Home      Polikarpov I-16

Polikarpov I-16

YouTube - Polikarpov I-16


        Primary Function:
        Weight Empty:
        Max. Weight:
        Machine Guns:
        Max. Speed:
        Initial Climb:
        First Flight:
        Year Deployed:
Shvetsov M-62 radial
1,000 h.p
3,250 lbs.
4,540 lbs.
4- 7.62 mm
19 ft. 10 in.
29 ft. 2 in.
305 mph
2,800 fpm
31,100 feet
375 miles

Polikarpov I-16
Polikarpov I-16

Polikarpov I-16 aircraft were the most innovative Soviet fighters of the time. Resembling a racer, they featured such innovations as being the first widely used aircraft in the world with retractable landing gear in a wing with no external bracing.

They flew for the first time in 1933. With a maximum speed of over 300 mph, they were among the fastest fighter aircraft of their time. They were also highly maneuverable.

We received the following email from Francisco Jose Cueto Jimenez:

"I have information for you related to Polikarpov I-16.

The Spanish civil war began in April 1936. The Polikarpov I-16 arrived in Spain in October of 1936. Russian pilots fought alongside the Republic against the fascists of General Franco.

After the Spanish Civil War,  a few captured Polikarpov I-16 aircraft served in the Spanish  Air Force through 1953. They were modified with a number of improvements, the most noticeable of which was a higher dorsal extending from the rear of the canopy to the front of the vertical stabilizer. The original round forward canopy of the I-16 was replaced by four glass panels made from bullet resistant glass.  This enabled better distortion free forward vision for pilots."

Thank you very much for the information, Francisco.

In 1937, Polikarpov I-16 aircraft saw action for China against the Japanese, especially in Manchuria. During the Winter War with Finland in 1939 and 1940, the aircraft again saw action.

By the time Germany invaded Russia during World War II, the aircraft were outclassed by Axis fighters. However, they continued in front line service until late in 1943.

A total of 9,640 Polikarpov I-16 aircraft of all types were produced.

Polikarpov I-16
Polikarpov I-16 - TDM Models

Pictured above is the Polikarpov I-16 for sale from TDM Models. It is available as a short kit or just plans. Wing span is 31". Length is 24". Recommended motors are either an AXI 2212/20 or Mega 16/15/6. All up weight is between 20 and 22 oz.

Carl Dombrowsky emailed us -  "Your readers may be interested in my experience with the Polikarpov I-16 from TDM Models.  I highly the airplane.   It is easy to handle, and goes where it is pointed. It handles cross winds with ease. Landings are easy, too. It slows quickly and needs just a touch of throttle for good landings." Thank you Carl, for your information.

Cleveland Models has plans for the Polikarpov I-16 in a number of sizes. Wing spans of the are 11", 15", 22", 29 1/2", 44", 59", and 88 ".

The first picture below is the Polikarpov I-16 ARF for sale from Global Anthem with a wing span of 30 3/4" and a length of 22". A fiberglass fuse and foam wings are the construction materials used. You can power it with .15 to .25 two stroke engines or Speed 600 size motors.

The next picture is Polikarpov I-16 built from Modellsport Verlag seimscale plans. Wing span is 80" and length is 53". The recommended engine is 30 ccm. All up weight should be around 20 lbs.

Manzano Laser Works has a Polikarpov I-16 short kit. It is designed by Derek Micko. Wingspan is 30" and weight is about 10 1/2 oz. Power comes from a Feigao geared motor.

The bottom picture is of the great looking Polikarpov I-16 built by Jeff Quesenberry from enlarged Massimo Zuffi plans. It has a wingspan of 118" and is powered by a 3W120 engine. Weight is around 45 lbs.

Polikarpov I-16
Polikarpov I-16 - Global Anthem.

Polikarpov I-16
Polikarpov I-16 - Modellsport Verlag

Polikarpov I-16
Polikarpov I-16 - Jeff Quesenberry

Email us