New Zealand


Polikarpov I-16 Fighter
Volker Heydecke

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..........Polikarpov I-16 Completed:

..........Videos of 1st Sart and Taxi Tests: rotecradial

Three Videos: Start Up 1 (1) ... Start Up 2 (2) ... Start Up 3 (3)

Three Videos: Taxi 1 (1) ... Taxi 2 (2) ... Hi Spped Taxi Run (3)

High Speed > ....

.VVV FLYING & Volker's Comments!

17th June 2009:

First Series of Pics> . Take off . Fly by . Landing .............

Hi Guys,

VVV commited aviation today. Many thanks again for your wonderfull engine. It sounds awesome. Just a few adjustments to the airframe are needed, the engine runs perfectly. Nr 2 cyl runs slightly hotter in a longer climb, we'll see how this runs in over the next few hours.


19th June 2009: Added 4 more videos and large static shots ...

ready for take off .. Ignition On ..

..Take off. . FLY BY!

2nd Series of Pics > You tube take off . FLY BY . Landing 1 (1) Landing 2 (2) .......................

9th July 200: Hi Jim, Hi Paul,

The plane has now flown allmost 5 hours and the engine performes flawlessly. Many thanks again. Please find some new video here:

. .

I changed the prop pitch, so that we can only get 2600 rpm (engine) statically. On the takeoff run this drops slightly when the prop gets some grip and then gets up to 2800rpm for the climb at 100kts. With this we can avoid overreving the engine at higher speeds. So-far we got the plane to 165kts and the engine would have ample reserves, but needs a constant speed unit. Otherwise, all people that see and hear it are impressed, and you have to say, the sound is awesome. :)

So long, -Volker

..........Classic Photos: r

Prop and Prop Hub

Sensational! . Polikarpov I-16 Fighter by Volker Heydecke. Rear View Polikarpov I-16 Fighter

Wow! .Polikarpov I-16 Fighter by Volker Heydecke . Side View - Polikarpov I-16 .

Side View - Polikarpov I-16 . Volkers Awesome Polikarpov I-16 . Polikarpov I-16 Fighter by Volker Heydecke

Polikarpov I-16 Fighter by Volker Heydecke

Volker Writes (3rd November 2008):

The tests yesterday were at half power, just to get a feel for the plane (I was on the brakes the whole time, I have to consciously get my feet off ;) .

The prop uses blades are from GT in Italy but the hub is made locally. I did the design and verification calcs (TBO min1000h). The hub bolts on using a rear flange, like MT props have. Dia 1.94m.

Today full static power runs had to be shut down after 1min each as the CHT ran away (no cowling), max static 2300rpm (prop).

After that I did the high speed taxi tests today as well (w cowling). without backpressure the tail comes up, but I didn't dare and look at the ASI then. The slowing down was spectacular for the bystanders (no video of THAT), I have to remember the massive torque, my plane has NO roll inertia :)

Max rpm on the go today 2000 prop rpm. The gain still to go is rather scary :) It would certainly fly off even at half throttle, if I would let it.

With cowling on the CHT was not a problem, the augmented exhausts work well.

Wing loading is about 80kg/m2 at MAUW, so only 2/3rd of original...



More to come ...

rotecradial Now read about the project:



Volker Heydecke Russian Polikarpov I-16 Fighter (1st of its kind):

A Polikarpov I-16 Type 24 over the eastern front during World War II.

Often referred to as the I-16 Ishak (Little Donkey)

Originally powered by a 450HP radial it made its first appearance in 1933 and flew in December of 1933 achieving a creditable 376 km/h (234 mph).

Development continued and the I-16 took on a 1000HP radial which provided speeds reaching over 520km/h (325 mph).

It was also used by the Republicans in the Spanish Civil war (1936). rotecradial YOU ARE @ HOME of Rotecradial

Specifications Polikarpov I-16
2/3 Scale (as scaled by Volker)
Wing span 29 ft. 6.5 in (9.18 m) 6 m
Length 6.13 m (20 ft 1.25 in) 4 m
Weights Empty: 3,110 lb. (1,412 kg) MAUW 400Kg
Operational: 4,034 lb (1,831 kg) max pilot weight 90kg
Speed 288 mph (463 km/h) (Maximum) VNE 240kts and a stall speed 45kts (full flaps)
Service Ceiling 29,500 ft. (8,998 m)  
Range 500 miles (805 km) tank volume max 80L (plus drop tanks)
Powerplant Shvetsov M-62R 1,000 hp 9-cylinder radial 150HP 9 cylinder Rotec R3600 (3:2 Geared)
Armament Two 7.62 mm machine guns with two 20 mm cannon.  

Additional info from Volker: Polikarpov and RotecRadial home page

As I need to outfit my plane with flaps to achieve the low stall speed I will finish the plane with the ideas of the early models of the I16, i.e. sliding canopy, flaps, no gun fairings.

As the scale factor is hitting everybody over the head I did need to make changes to the original layout of the plane, i.e. the wing sweep, nose length (the 9cyl is not heavy enough!), aileron shape, as these changes make the plane not unrecognisable but hopefully easier to fly.

Mr. Polikarpov in the early days had good intentions by making the design tail heavy by nature but we're not all fighter pilots or expendable.

The Russians did build this plane so lightweight, it's quite frustrating at times to see what we can do today. For example weight of the outer wings of the original plane 35kg each, holding 18g (1550kg MAUW - makes about 7700kg load on that same bit of wing). That's a benchmark I like!


Date: 3rd May 2007:

Volker chose positive molding techniques. This means cutting plugs out of foam and glassing over (The foam will be removed to save weight)

It's a composite structure, the front and wing will be mainly fiber glass, cockpit and tail will be mainly carbon fiber..

At this stage the cockpit is ready to be outfitted with instruments and steering, the wing will get the undercarriage mockup next week.

Mould method and cockpit. Mould method and cockpit. Carbon Fibre Cockpit . Provision for undercarriage.

Click on the thumbnails to enlarge ...

At the moment I'm joining the tail cone to the cockpit section (weighs 35kg altogether), after which the tail feathers will be fitted and then the engine can be mounted.

Date September 2007:

Stabalisers . without the engine lotal length is 3 meters . Volker and work in progress . Taking shape

October and November 2007:

View from the rear. . Just the wing panels missing . Polykarpov I-16 Body all but done

April 2008: Hi Jim,

Flow through vents for the Rotec R3600Imagine a R3600 on the front! Awesome. . Just to let you know, I'm still working on my plane ;).

At the moment I'm waiting for the engine mount to be welded up.

The cowling front is finished and incorporates a shutter, long air guides towards the cylinder and a carb heat valve in the top carb air inlet duct.

Cheers Volker

Click on the thumbnails to enlarge ...

6/5/2008 Hi Jim,

Mounted - left viewMounted Right ViewAfter a few weeks waiting for the engine mount to be finished I got it and painted it yesterday and today at night I mounted the engine. All went well and the engine is sitting very proudly and wants to take the rest of the plane for a flight :)

< (Left and right views of engine mounted)

Please find some pictures attached. I trial mounted the cowling front as well and it fits. The top air inlet with the carb heat box needs to be reworked slightly but otherwise it will work. As the engine had to move forward (the cylinders now sit at the correct scale position, but the PSRU makes the cowling a bit longer) for CoG reasons I now find ample space behind the engine for a straight down channel to the carburetor.

Front of Cowl with air flow shuttersAir flow shutter.In the next days I should get the new canopy, the steering is allmost complete, so the biggest hold back at the moment is the prop. But I'll sort this out asap.

< (Engine cowling and air flow shutter)


8/5/2008 Hi Jim,

CanopyPlease find attached a picture of the canopy blank that I got today. The work on a mold for that really worked out.. Even so the russians used a multi- facett canopy on the earlier types, I think Polikarpov would have used a blown or vacuum (like mine) pulled canopy if it would have been available at the time.

I'll make one sliding canopy with the short wind shield and one as a fully enclosed canopy. Testflying will be done with the short version pushed forward..

cheers Volker

Top Cowling and Exhaust (25th June 2008): Click on the thumbnails to enlarge ... rotecradial

Hi Jim,

Please find some more pictures attached here.They show the engine compartment and some details. Cowling

I finally went to a laminated vinylester oil tank in the top of the cowling front, high temperature stuff. It's sitting as much forward as can be and cooling of the oil should never be a problem. Only every 25h I have to unplug most of the hoses to get the cowling front off for the PSRU inspection. But it's a 5 minute job only..

The drain and overflow sit in front of the cylinders in the cowling between two inlets. For the cylinder drain I remove the whole bottom cowl, takes only 1 minute, less time than on the other planes we built with normal screws to hold the cowl on.

In between the rocker cases I made those baffles, I still need to establish if I need baffles between the cylinders..

Some more things to put in are the CHT and EGT probes and the stainless fire membran behind the exhaust stubs.

The whole installation looks now quite similar to the original russian (I guess a good thing here), only they didn't use fire sleeve arround the oil hoses.



Top cowling .bottom exhaust < Cowling

right exhaust .Left Exhaust < Cowling

Access to RotecRadial < Access

LH  and RH view of RotecRadial in engine compartment < LH & RH Inside view

Oil Tank & Connection < Oil Tank


Volker - Feb 2009:

I made a spinner and gear doors (all made by hand, it only takes time, allmost no money).

The spinner has a central air intake with a diffusor aft, then a bulkhead in front of the prop hub and a back plate behind, both with holes to let the air through. I only have to fit seals arround the prop blades.

I also cut holes in the front of the cowling (closing up when the shutter closes) and put cooling ducts behind to guide the air onto the PSRU.


Spinner & airflow .Polikarpov Spinner .Airflow for PSRU .

Retactable Undercarriage .Retactable UC


Please review the project as a whole by starting from the top...Clik the arrow to go to the top: rotecRadial