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Yak Attack!

by edlu | on Mar 12, 2012 | No Comments

I spent the other afternoon flying around the skies chasing and trying to shoot down my friends.   I’ve been learning the ins and outs (and ups and downs) of how to fly aerial combat in a Russian built Yak-52 aircraft.  The Yak-52 is a 9-cylinder 360HP radial engine aircraft mostly used for military and aerobatic training.    It is a great airplane (tough like Russian Bear!).

This dogfighting video was taken (on a different day) by my friend Freezer.  I’m still learning, and I’ve noticed how much more he makes use of the 3rd dimension, i.e. going vertically (up or down).  I still fly a bit like Khan in the old Star Trek movie “Wrath of Khan” where his weakness like mine is that he doesn’t think 3-dimensionally.  The other day I was often in the situation where I needed to increase the turn rate of the aircraft (i.e. needing to pull back on the stick harder to come around behind the other aircraft) but couldn’t because I was running out of airspeed.  Freezer was trying to coach me to bank the aircraft more to bring the nose downwards and using gravity to increase my airspeed thus allowing me to keep the airplane above stall speed while still increasing my pull on the stick (and my resultant turn rate).  Then once I’d caught up to the other aircraft in the turn I can climb back upwards to pull in behind them and shoot them down.

How better to spend a Sunday afternoon?

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