Yakovlev YAK 9V
Registration: Yet to be registered.
This aircraft started life as a Yakelov Yak-11 trainer and was supplied to the Egyptian Air Force. Recovered in company with 40 other Yak-11's by Jean Salis and Raymond Capel in the early 1980's she spent her first Western years in the U.S.A prior to being purchased by two Blenheim, based enthusiasts in 1999.
Once in New Zealand an eager start was made on rebuilding the aircraft as a stock Yak-11. Unfortunately a change in personal circumstances for both owners meant the project was put up for sale a few years later. With the project on our back doorstep and a history of successful syndications of many differing types, a push to create a syndicate with a difference was mounted in 2011. However, rather than being rebuilt to Yak-11 specs, the project was marketed as a full dual control V-12 fighter-trainer based on the WWII Yak-9V. With Graeme Frew's Yak-3M nearing completion potential syndicate members were able to get a feel for what was required and most importantly see and hear the real deal in action!
After some carfeul consideration and research the project was declared live again in August 2012 with the relocation of the fuselage and wings to the JEM aviation hangars. Work intially focussed on getting the rebuild of the remaining wing underway and the finishing off of the empennage components.
Unfortunately it was found that the rear lower spar cap of the LH wing had suffered badly from exfoliation corrosion in the gun bay. This had been caused by the build up of cordite fumes and residue from the gun the Egyptian's had rather haphazardly installed in the wing. After much research and many plans later a replacement spar cap was sourced from a company in Romania who had just rebuilt 2 Yak-11's.
As always seems to be the way of the world today, the company was able to manufacture the 14 foot spar in short order but the bureaucracy involved in getting the old spar into Romania for use as a pattern and then the new section out has resulted in delays of nearly a year! Having said that, the price was right when compared to the other options considered and virtually all other refurbishment of the wing was able to be carried out around the missing section of spar.
Once work on the wing came to a halt our focus turned ot the fuselage. Naturally, bolting a V-12 on where a 700HP radial engine once was is not just 'plug and play'! Although the structure and welding involved is actually quite simple, Centre of Gravity issues and location of the front rudder pedals versus engine accessories meant more design work resulting in the need to move the cockpits backwards by 600mm, something that is easily acheived with the Yak fuselage design. Other options such as pushing the engine forward were quickly discarded as, although perhaps more practical in one sense, it would have required literally a tonne of lead in the tail to keep from standing on her nose when the brakes were applied! Needless to say the various soloutions arrived at are of a proprietary nature and won't be discussed further at this time!
Also in the back of our minds was the need to find main undercarriage legs for the aircraft. They were reportedly in a container lost overboard when the aircraft were liberated from Egypt and this has always been a stumbling block to rebuilding this particular airframe. With more and more Yak's being returned to flying status there is the increased chance of accidents and one of the first things to be damaged in these accidents is typically the gear legs meaning they are in short supply. We have had an eye-watering quote for new legs from Europe and being Kiwis we have done some research and are quietly working on an alternative.
As of July 2014, the project has been on hold for the better part of a year while we wait for the new spar section and beginnings of the gear legs. While the fuselage could have been continued with the project had to be set aside when the Comper Swift (a project of more pressing nature) entered the workshop in January 2014.
We are excited to get back into this machine when time and other priorites allow. With full dual controls and performance to match the single seat Yak's, this is an aeroplane with a lot of bang for buck!
If you are interested in becoming a shareholder there are a very small number of shares remaining for sale - feel free to get in contact via this website.
In the meantime, check out the promo video on YouTube