Why Soviet planes were sheathed with plywood in the Great Patriotic

Weapons 31/01/20 Why Soviet planes were sheathed with plywood in the Great Patriotic

In the wonderful film “heavenly slug”, the main character, played by Nikolai Kryuchkov sitting in the cockpit of U-2, sad claps on the plywood body. And not once in the film remind you that this here was a U-2 plane, made of plywood. As a result, the audience the strong impression that the wooden aircraft of the time is an archaism, and therefore deserved a Soviet fighter pilot is really a shame to sit in the cockpit of an aircraft, made of plywood.

a Training aircraft U-2 construction.N. Polikarpov had a mixed design. The hull was made of wood with fabric covering, the wings of steel pipes covered with wooden panelling. The rim of the wings and tail were made of duralumin. Engine mount from steel pipes. The front part of the fuselage, which knocked the pilot Bulochkin, was plywood.
However, the surprise of the former fighter major Bulochkin specialists in aeronautical engineering is hardly clear. If prior to transfer to the U-2 he flew the Soviet fighters, it is unclear his reaction to plywood sheathing.

this is easily seen by examining the design of Soviet aircraft, primarily those that could fly character, played Kryuchkov.
for example, Bulochkin flew fighter jets for the brand “Yak”.

All fighters designed by A. S. Yakovlev, from Yak-1 to Yak-9, and that is the end of the war the Yak-3 had approximately the same design. The frame of the fuselage was made of steel pipe, and partially sheathed with plywood, partially cloth. A wooden wing with plywood sheathing and spars of duralumin. On later models the “Yak” duralumin, the number of parts increased, but fundamentally the design has not changed.

Before the war in the Yakovlev design Bureau was developed by two experienced fighter. One of them, a high-altitude fighter-interceptor of I-28 (Yak-5) had metallicance fuselage and empennage, and the wooden wings. Second, gun-fighter I-30 (Yak-3), was built entirely of metal. Both aircraft in the series did not go, including for economic reasons — the Soviet Union could not afford such luxuries as all-metal fighters. By the way, the aircraft Yakovlev I-30 created a little confusion, as its original name of the Yak-3 later switched to another fighter, and some sources of late so the Yak-3 as metal point.

So, plywood-fabric Yak in this respect is not much left from the U-2.
Perhaps the major Rolls flew the La-5 or La-7. But here the picture is not much different. Of course, the La-5 and La-7 was significantly different from its predecessors LaGG-1 and LaGG-3. The design of the airplane LaGG its developers have gone for the maximum use of wood. Except that the engine and equipment remains metal, but power set made of wood. The fighter La-5, which is primarily different from Lagga engine, the frame has been made from metal pipes, but the plywood sheathing. In La-7 some elements were made of duralumin, but overall the construction is still a tree.
early In the war Bulochkin could fly MiGs, but these fighters had a mixed design. The frame of the fuselage was of welded pipes, siding in front of duralumin, the rest is plywood. The center section of the wing metal, wooden console.

earlier Soviet fighters, “Donkeys” and “Seagulls”, as you can guess, so did the wood on the frame of the pipes.
of Course, the pilot Bulochkin, as AC could fly American fighter Bell P-39 Airacobra, supplied to the USSR under lend-lease. As previously, 41–42, respectively, could fly and other well lendlizovskie fighter Curtiss P-40 Tomahawk. Just the American fighter had all-metal construction, but hardly the creators of the movie “heavenly slug” meant the US planes.
Not all of the Soviet aircraft withzdaval with wood, built a machine entirely of metal. Designing far or bomber out of wood for those times it would have been too unbelievable. But the war has made adjustments.

the Capture in 1941 by the Germans Zaporozhye and exit to the Volkhov, has led to a significant decline in the production of aluminum alloys to build metal aircraft was just not anything else. Therefore, during the war, with the shortage of aluminum, even in the design of long-range bombers Il-4 have introduced individual elements from the tree. The tail part of PE-2 bombers could be made of wood. The Il-2 also had a mixed structure: the front part of the fuselage puts broncotalk, which is the supporting structure, tail section and wings could be metal, mixed, wood-metal.

it is Worth noting at the end that although all German combat aircraft were all metal, but it did not save it from destruction.

Cyril Shishkin

© Russian Seven

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