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Yak-3 "Steadfast" Pinup RNAR 2011 102.JPG
The Yakovlev Yak-3 was a WWII Soviet fighter aircraft and was one of the most feared aircrafts in combat due to their high speed and maneuverability. With these classic YAK-3 qualities, Steadfast was adapted for air racing and successfully holds several world speed and climbing records. The origins of the Yak-3 went back to 1941 when the I-30 prototype was offered along with the I-26 (Yak-1) as an alternative design. The I-30, powered by a Klimov M-105P engine, was of all-metal construction, using a wing with dihedral on the outer panels. Like the early Yak-1, it had a 20 mm ShVAK cannon firing through the hollow-driveshaft nose spinner as a motornaya pushka, and twin 7.62 mm synchronized ShKAS machine guns in cowl mounts ahead of the cockpit on the fuselage, but was also fitted with a ShVAK cannon in each wing. The first of two prototypes was fitted with a slatted wing to improve handling and short-field performance while the second prototype had a wooden wing without slats, in order to simplify production. Although there were plans to put the Yak-3 into production, the scarcity of aviation aluminum and the pressure of the Nazi invasion led to work on the first Yak-3 being abandoned in late fall 1941. Steadfast is one of a small reproduction-run of the fearsome Soviet WWII-era fighter built in Romania during the early 2000s. This particular example was built originally to be a Yak-3U trainer with an ASh-82FN radial engine up front, but she was modified so that a race-tuned Pratt&Whitney R-2000 7M2 could power her instead. Steadfast was exported to the United States in the mid-2000s, embarking on an illustrious career at the Reno Air Races. During that time, the aircraft picked up nine world speed and climbing records, including reaching 655km/h over a 3km course in Utah. In 2013, the aircraft moved to Australia where it has been operating until this latest move across the Tasman Sea. Shot at the Reno National Air Races 2011.