MiG-1 turns 81!

When the MiG-1 first flew on April 5, 1941 it was clear that the aircraft had many deficiencies... yet 100 were still ordered, and the aircraft flew for 4 years. Why?

The Soviet built MiG-1 was designed to meet the requirement for a high altitude fighter that was issued in 1939. The aeroplane itself didn't fly until 1940 after three prototypes, and when it did fly it was underwhelming. Nevertheless, a hundred MiG-1s were produced and were issued to Soviet fighter regiments in 1941.

The MiG-1 was built of steel tubing and wood. It was a low-wing monoplane and had a tail wheel undercarriage of mixed construction. The resultant aircraft could reach speeds of just over 400 mph, a considerable amount less than many of the Allied and Axis powers' fighter aircraft such as the Messerschmitt Bf-109 or the Spitfire. While little is known of its in depth performance under combat conditions, the aeroplane underwent lots of improvements during its design and production phases. At the state trials in August 1940, the aeroplane revealed itself to have some severe defects inclusive of heavy controls, poor taxiing visibility and many, many more issues. One of the most serious of the issues faced by the MiG-1 was its "dangerous propensity to flick from a simple stall into a spin from which it was almost impossible to recover". Many of the issues were addressed in the subsequent improvement phase, however not all of these alterations were in place on all produced aircraft by the time the fleet became operational. Despite this, in December 1940 the 41st Fighter Regiment of the Soviet Air Force entered the MiG-1 into operational trials.

From June 22, 1941 to December 5, 1941 the Soviet Union were subject to invasion by Nazi Germany. The codename for this became known as Operation Barbarossa. Of the one hundred MiG-1s that were built, it is believed that most were destroyed in the beginning part of the retaliation offensive against the German invasion of the Soviet Union. It was succeeded by the MiG-3, which was a much more successful fighter which amassed production numbers of over 3000.

MiG-1 specifications:

Crew: 1

Length: 8.16 m (26 ft 9 in)

Wingspan: 10.2 m (33 ft 6 in)

Height: 2.62 m (8 ft 7 in)

Max take off weight: 3,319 kg (7,317 lb)

Powerplant: 1 × Mikulin AM-35A V-12 liquid-cooled piston engine

Maximum speed: 408 mph

Range: 360 mi​​les