25 January 2008

A poor man's warbird takes shape

January 2008 It was very pleasing for me to cast my eyes on the assembled beast today. Like a boy in a toy store, I walked around the sleek Russian bird patting it and admiring its clean and perhaps slightly menacing lines.

Relative to modern day aerobatic aircraft, the Yak-50 is a big bird. It has a wingspan of 9.5m, length of 7.97m (including spinner) and height of 2.7m; similar dimensions to the famous wartime fighter, the Yak-3 (wingspan 9.2m, length 8.5m and height 2.39m).

At last, the instrument panel was completed by the addition of the flight hours meter. The panel layout is dominated by the large attitude indicator. Engine instruments are grouped on the right half of the panel, with flight instruments on the left half.

The simple and compact Becker VHF transceiver and transponder combination is housed in a small console below the switch bank. Rather than cramming a panel mounted GPS unit in a larger console in the same position as done in some other Yak-50s, I will use a portable moving map GPS unit such as the AvMap EK-IV.

After inspecting the beast and sitting in the cockpit amid the new leather upholstery, the grin on my face says it all.