10 January 2008

Door opens to a new life in Australia

January 2008 A New Year, and finally, after a transit lasting 8 instead of 5 weeks, my new toy arrived in Sydney. After clearing Australian Customs, the next step was to clear quarantine checks. As the container door was opened, it also opened a new chapter in the life of this Yak-50, serial number 853101.

Painted in a WW2 Soviet era paint scheme, this Russian bird attracted a number of compliments from a gaggle of port workers unloading other containers nearby. Then questions and comments came fast...how fast can it go...it's as big as a Spitfire, isn't it...where are the guns...you should fly it in the Red Bull race...man, it's real sick! "Sick means cool or awesome," a worker helpfully explained - in response to my puzzled look.

The Yak-50's forward, sliding and rear canopies are styled after the Yak-1, 3, 7 and 9 fighters produced by the venerable Yakovlev Design Bureau back in the dark days of WW2. Note the magnetic compass inside the forward canopy, on top of the instrument panel glare shield. The red knob at the top of the forward canopy is the emergency canopy release. Partially visible over the seat, is the 7-point Hooker harness.

For its long voyage from Lithuania to Australia, the bird was mounted on a steel cradle (dark frame in the lower right of the picture); which was itself attached to the container floor. Notice the hefty wing attachment points (painted part grey and part sky blue) on the side of the lower fuselage. Their heftiness is required for the +8G to -5G limit loads in aerobatic flight. Plastic covers pipes for supplying air to power the landing gear retraction/extension jack and the wheel brake.

Aft fuselage without the vertical fin and rudder, and the horizontal fins and elevators. Note the non-retractable tail wheel.

Underside of the left wing showing the aileron (secured with a locking pad) and the retracted landing gear. When finally delivered to the airfield hangar, it will still take time to reassemble the bird, weigh it, prepare documentation, inspect it and test fly it. These will be the subject of later posts.

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