Monday, July 18, 2011

OKB Yakovlev - A History of the Design Bureau and Its Aircraft (part 2)

In 1924 Yakovlev gained admittance to the AVF as a humble shop floor worker. He did not shun work of any kind and thanks to his perseverance, in two years he acquired enough skills to earn him the position of hangar keeper at the airfield. Enlisting support from his school friends and from the ODVF section, Yakovlev embarked on the construction of his first glider. The result was the AVF 10 (that is, the tenth glider designed at the Air Fleet Academy). It was a capably designed monoplane which was taken to the 1924 All-Union Glider Meet at Koktebel' and tested there. The glider behaved faultlessly and impressed the pilots who had flown it. Yakovlev received 200 roubles and a diploma. With his awa'd Yakovlev was able to build a second glider, the AVF-20. which was a refined version of the first. The AVF-20 again flew superbly and was described by the Aviakhim adjudicator I. S. Unshlikht as 'the best training glider design' (Aviakhim was an acronym for the voluntary society for the support of Soviet aircraft and chemical industry, a forerunner of the Osoaviakhim, DOSAV and DOSAAF).