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Russian Roulette

By patspeirs  
Russian Roulette

An icon of the early stages of the Russian/German campaign the I-16 Rata (Rat) was the mainstay of the Soviet fighter air arm in 1941-42. As uncompromising in performance as itís looks would suggest the I-16 proved to be comparable to the Bf 109E series and acquitted itself very well in aerial combat. The design was really Ďbare-bonesí stuff and although it was the first fighter fitted with retracting undercarriage this was only achieved by strenuous efforts on a hand crank, I-16 pilots were immediately recognisable by an over developed right arm!! The very short coupled airframe resulted in an extremely sensitive control response and although very well armed - two 7.6mm machine guns and two 20mm cannon - accurate aiming was frustrated by the need for a hefty pull on the wire toggle to fire the guns often resulting in unplanned manoeuvres. The cockpit was left open and with a height capability in excess of 30,000 ft the I-16 must have been one of most uncomfortable aircraft environments in WW2.

The version in the image was flown at Duxford this year, a quite remarkable sight and sound, and is presented in a composite image with itís standard adversary the Bf 109E. Cloudscape from that well known Russian region of South Ayrshire!

Tags: Aircraft Digital art Bf109 Rata

Voters: UBOAT, Silverzone, DeSilver and 31 more

Readers' Choice Awards are given to photos that get over 30 votes

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UBOAT 10 41 Scotland
30 Jul 2010 9:30AM
Final got the comp the way you like it I see Grampa. Excellent lighting as well and would be cold in the i16 cockpit.


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30 Jul 2010 9:57AM
Excellent image/work again Pat - well done indeed !

franken Plus
15 4.4k 4 United Kingdom
30 Jul 2010 10:20AM
Another superb image.

lonely_oryx 10 61 55 England
30 Jul 2010 12:39PM
Well put together
30 Jul 2010 4:43PM
I almost ducked for cover, brilliant!!
30 Jul 2010 5:48PM
Great shot, great history and I'm so glad you're on epz Pat, GREAT stuff.

John Smile
30 Jul 2010 7:45PM
Pat, you do this so well, and inform so eloquently...

30 Jul 2010 8:56PM
Excellent Pat.
harrattp 10 11 4 England
30 Jul 2010 9:22PM
A true work of art Pat.

metro074 7 8 Australia
31 Jul 2010 2:09PM
Excellent Pat. These would make wonderful post cards at events. Superb. Well done
31 Jul 2010 5:26PM
A very good shot
photophantom 9 108 3 Philippines
3 Aug 2010 12:42PM
viscostatic 11 35 5 United Kingdom
5 Aug 2010 12:32PM
So pleased to give the 30th vote to this excellent image Pat.


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