Yakolev VVA-1 / AIR-1
After success with the glider young designer decided to build single-seat 'flying motorcycle' with 18hp engine. But consultations with his advisor and good-wisher Vladimir Pyshnov changed Yakolev's plans. There was a need in two-seat trainer with much more powerful engine. A 60hp 'Cirrus' was chosen. Wood-and-fabric construction was common for light trainers, with front and upper parts of the fuselage covered with plywood.
Finally the project was approved by Osoaviakhim, and Yakolev received money collected by Moscow Pioneers. After day's work on the airfield he turned into designer, treasurer and administrator at the same time. Among his backers at this critical time was S.V.Ilyushin.
But some ill-wishers were around too. They not just expressed their skepticism. One of students at the Academy handed in a report about errors in Yakolev's calculations. Yakolev was summoned by the Osoaviakhim executives and was examined on aircraft airworthiness. He was discouraged and almost lost trust in his project. But V.Pyshnov checked his calculation and gave Yakolev written certificate with his personal approval.
AIR-1 was finished on May 1, 1927 and performed its maiden flight on May 12 with Yu.I.Piontkovsky at the controls. It was a complete success. All test requirements were fulfilled within the following two weeks, without serious rebuilds. The aircraft was approved for a trial flight Moscow-Kharkov-Sevastopol-Moscow. It was piloted by Yu.I.Piontkovsky, A.S.Yakolev participated as a passenger. They took off early on June 12, 1927 from Moscow. After landing and refueling in Kharkov they touched down in Sevastopol in the evening of the same day.
The return leg was made by Piontkovsky alone. He flew non-stop for 15h 30min and covered distance 1420km, creating two records in the aircraft class: for distance covered and time being airborne. Designer and test-pilot were given money rewards and diplomas. But the greatest reward was Yakolev's acceptance by Air Force Academy (VVA).
During the fall of 1927 AIR-1 participated in military exercises of Odessa military district, serving as communication aircraft. It proved to be superior over other presented light aircraft (powered by 18-20hp engines). Later AIR-1 was operated by flying clubs.
Engine: 1 x A.D.C. Cirrus I, 44kW
Max take-off weight: 535 kg / 1179 lb
Empty weight: 335 kg / 739 lb
Wingspan: 8.9 m / 29 ft 2 in
Length: 7.0 m / 23 ft 12 in
Height: 2.7 m / 9 ft 10 in
Wing area: 18.7 sq.m / 201.28 sq ft
Max. speed: 140 km/h / 87 mph
Cruise speed: 120 km/h / 75 mph
Ceiling: 3800 m / 12450 ft
Range: 480 km / 298 miles
Yakolev VVA-3 / AIR-1