The YAK 3
“New” Old Aircraft
In the early 1990’s there was a glaring gap in the international warbird market, Spitfires and Mustangs were relatively commonplace yet none of the excellent series of the 35,000 V-12 powered Yak fighters built during The Great Patriotic War were airworthy. Following the discovery of original engineering drawings and jigs from late model Yak 3 production, Sergei Yakovlev- who is the son of the legendary Aleksandr Yakovlev-approached Flight Magic of the U.S. to fund a build of new Yak 3 aircraft. These aircraft were to the original design but utilized modern materials.
Various engine types were considered including the original Russian V-12 Klimovs and the RR Merlin before the builders settled on the V1710 series Allison. This engine was selected because it was very close in power, weight and external dimensions to the extremely rare Klimov.
Our YAK 3
Yak 3 serial number 0470106 was first registered to well known Reno race pilot Tiger Destefani in 1996 before being sold on later in the year. The aircraft was raced at Reno a number of times but unfortunately it was crashed on take- off at Reno in 1999. Luckily the owner though injured made a full recovery, testimony to the strength of the design.
Graeme Frew purchased the aircraft as a project in 2004 and had it shipped to Omaka Airfield at Blenheim. A full overhaul of the airframe and engine and all systems was completed by Jay McIntyre’s JEM Aviation over a four year period. During the rebuild a second seat was incorporated under it’s own sliding canopy so that the experience of flying in this high performance fighter could be shared. The Yak first flew again in March 2012 and a week later débuted at Warbirds over Wanaka.