TsKB-12 (I-16M-22) by N.N.Polikarpov

The TsKB-12 project emerged from Summer 1932 modern fighter drawings by N.N.Polikarpov. The original layout had Taunend ring covering the engine.
After mock-up tests in the wind tunel and several structure improvements, question of mass production was raised even before completion of a prototype. Two prototypes were built - TsKB-12 (with M-22 domestic analog of the Bristol Jupiter VI engine) and TsKB-12bis for tests with US built Wright-Cyclone SGR 1820-F-2.
Mixed design plane, using wing spars made of chrome-molibdenium steel alloy, dural ribs, and mixed D1 aluminum alloy/fabric skin. Fuselage was built of pine longerones and frames, covered with birch cross-graine glued strips 4.0mm-2.5mm thick. Tail plane and ailerones had dural frame and fabric cover. Gear retraction system employed cables, since hydraulic systems were not in wide use yet. Enclosed cockpit with forward-sliding canopy was a novelty, and later pilots often flew the TsKB-12, I-16 Type 4 and 5 with open canopy.

20k b/w drawing

56k b/w photo of TsKB-12 during first Winter trials.

Number of problems were revealed during flight tests (December 30, 1933 - Spring 1934), specially with landing gear (to be cranked up and down manualy) and airplane stability. Short fuselage, together with excellent maneuvrability provided serious handling complicity, and test-pilot's (V.F.Chkalov, V.K.Kokkinaki, V.A.Stepanchenok) conlusion was that this is a fighter for skilled pilots only.
In early tests prototype was unarmed, it carried dummy barrels in wings. During trials rudder area was increased and Hamilton-Standard 3-blade propeller was replaced by domestic V-22 two-blade unit. In early 1934 engine cowling was redesigned to solve overheating problem.

28k b/w TSKB-12 with reconfugured engine cowling and domestic propeller (I-16 with M-22 engine) from "History of aircraft construction in the USSR" by V.B.Shavrov, Vol.1 p.493

The TsKB-12 went into production in mid 1934, and few hundred of this aircraft were built with the M-22. TsKB-12 was followed by the I-16 Type 4 with several design changes. Despite outstanding performance of the aircraft, N.N.Polikarpov started to work on the second protoype ('Dubler' TsKB-12bis) with more powerful engine before the first TsKB-12 took off.

  • "History of aircraft construction in the USSR" by V.B.Shavrov, Vol.1 p.491-494;
  • 'Polikarpov Fighters in action, Part 2' by Hans-Herri Stapfer.
  • Technical data
    Type TsKB-12, I-16-M-22
    Function Fighter
    Year 1933
    Crew 1
    Engines 1*480hp M-22
    Length 5.9m
    Wingspan 9.0m
    Wing area 14.5m2
    Empty weight 934kg
    Loaded weight 1312kg first
    1345kg series
    Wing load 92.8kg/m2
    Power load 2.80kg/hp
    Speed at 0m 359km/h
    306km/h with fixed skis
    Speed at 3000m 325km/h
    Landing Speed 95km/h
    Landing Roll 230m
    Takeoff Run 220m
    Turn time 14.3sec
    Range 720km
    Flight Endurance 2h
    Ceiling 7310m
    5000m 9.4min
    Guns 2*7.62mm PV-1 900rpg
    Created August 08, 1996 by Alexandre Savine
    Modified Feebruary 12, 2000 by Sergey V. Andreev