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1920s - 1930s: Polikarpov Po-2

Thought to be the highest production military aircraft type in history, the Russian Po-2 first flew in 1928 and went into production soon afterward. Between 1948 and 1953, large numbers of the type were produced in Poland, with some smaller scale production continuning until 1958 in other countries.

 

Like the Tiger Moths and Stearmans in the West, the Po-2 was adapted for use in a great many roles including aerial ambulance, air mail carrier, agricultural aircraft and in some instances, light offensive platform.

PolyA special chapter in Po-2 history was written by the young women of 'The Night Witches' who carried out night harassment attacks on German positions during the Second World Wa

Powered by the five cylinder Schvetsov M-11E radial engine of 115hp, the number of Po-2s produced is thought to be somewhere between 30,000-40,000 aircraft. Unfortunately, the all wooden structure led to the aircraft suffering in outside storage and just 23 are known to survive, only about half a dozen of them in an airworthy condition.

While at Omaka Aerodrome in Blenheim, New Zealand for a couple of years, this aircraft was the first of its type seen in Australasia and wore a colour scheme which paid tribute to the young ladies of 'Die Nachthexen' (The Night Witches). 

Progress

By mid-September 2002, the aircraft has had it's first engine run (see below), and was awaiting the attachment of the wings. The aircraft is now based in the UK with the Shuttleworth Collection.

 


The first post-restoration run of the Schvetsov engine.

 


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