BI fighter file photo [15534]

BI

CountryRussia
ManufacturerOKB-293, Khimki/Bilimbay, Russia
Primary RolePrototype Aircraft
Maiden Flight15 May 1942

Contributor:

ww2dbaseSoviet aircraft engineers A. Y. Bereznyak and A. M. Isayev began working on rocket-powered aircraft designs as early as 1938. Satisfied with the progress in late Jul 1941, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin ordered a prototype to be completed in about a month. Because the prototypes were planned to be made from plywood and fabric, furniture workers local to the OKB-293 design bureau were summoned to speed up the work. With only a slight delay, the first prototype, named BI-1 (Blizhnii Istrebitel, "close range"), was ready for unpowered flight on 1 Sep. In Oct 1941, OKB-293 was evacuated to Bilimbay, Sverdlovsk Oblast, Russia in Central Asia; shortly after, a test stand was build on the shore of Lake Bilimbay, which was used throughout the winter to test the engine. During one of the testing sessions in Feb 1942, the rocket engine exploded, a broken propellant line spraying the nitric acid fuel all over aircraft engineer Arvid Pallo; mechanics saved him from severe burns by quickly dumping him in a tank full of a sodium carbonate solution kept nearby for the very purpose of neutralizing the acid. By Apr 1942, the BI-1 prototype aircraft was finally ready for testing. At 1902 hours on 15 May 1942, with test pilot Grigory Bakhchivandzhi at the helm, the BI-1 prototype aircraft took off from the nearby Koltsovo Airfield, reaching a maximum altitude of 840 meters and maximum speed of 400 kilometers per hour. Although the engine experienced slight overheating and the landing gear broke upon landing, the first test, which lasted 3 minutes and 9 seconds, was considered successful. The second prototype, BI-2, took its first flight at the start of the following year, again with Bakhchivandzhi at the helm. Two days later, test pilot Konstantin Gruzdev took BI-2 for its second flight; with the restriction on throttle lifted, BI-2 reached the altitude of 2,190 meters and the speed of 675 kilometers per hour. On 27 Mar, on the fourth and final flight of the BI-3 prototype aircraft, a top speed of more than 800 kilometers per hour was reached, but the aircraft soon lost control, crashing to the ground and killing Bakhchivandzhi; Boris Kudrin and M. K. Baykalov would together replace Bakhchivandzhi as the project's test pilots. In May 1943, OKB-293 was moved back to Khimki near Moscow, Russia, where the work on the BI fighter design continued. Six more prototype aircraft were built between 1943 and 1945, utilizing different engine designs, including one (BI-6) with a ramjet engine, a departure from the previous rocket engines. In 1945, as the European War slowly drew to its end, support for this project was withdrawn.

ww2dbaseSource: Wikipedia

BI Timeline

21 Jun 1941 Soviet aircraft engineer A. M. Isayev proposed to use compressed air rather than a pump to force propellant into the rocket engine that he was developing for a new fighter design.
9 Jul 1941 Soviet aircraft engineers met to compile a report on their rocket-powered fighter development, which was to be forwarded to Joseph Stalin.
1 Aug 1941 Joseph Stalin, satisfied with the progress of the rocket-powered fighter development project, issued an ordered in late Jul (and dated for 1 Aug 1941) for a prototype aircraft to be completed in a little more than a month.
1 Sep 1941 The BI-1 rocket-powered prototype aircraft was ready for unpowered flight at Khimki, Moscow Oblast, Russia.
20 Feb 1942 The experimental rocket engine for the BI-1 prototype aircraft exploded during a test in Bilimbay, Sverdlovsk Oblast, Russia, spraying nitric acid fuel all over aircraft engineer Arvid Pallo; mechanics saved him from severe burns by quickly dumping him in a tank full of a sodium carbonate solution kept nearby for the very purpose of neutralizing the acid. Test pilot Grigory Bakhchivandzhi was slightly injured as the head of the rocket engine punched into the cockpit.
2 May 1942 The BI-1 rocket-powered prototype aircraft successfully underwent a low-power test at Sverdlovsk (now Yekaterinburg), Sverdlovsk Oblast, Russia, lifting the aircraft about one meter off the ground.
15 May 1942 Soviet test pilot Grigory Bakhchivandzhi made the first powered flight in the experimental Berezniak-Isaev BI-1 rocket-powered interceptor at Sverdlovsk (now Yekaterinburg), Sverdlovsk Oblast, Russia, reaching an altitude of 840 meters and reaching the speed of 400 kilometers per hour.
10 Jan 1943 The BI-2 rocket-powered prototype aircraft took its first flight at Sverdlovsk (now Yekaterinburg), Sverdlovsk Oblast, Russia (the second flight of the design), reaching an altitude of 1,100 meters and reaching the speed of 400 kilometers per hour.
12 Jan 1943 The BI-2 rocket-powered prototype aircraft took its second flight at Sverdlovsk (now Yekaterinburg), Sverdlovsk Oblast, Russia, reaching an altitude of 2,190 meters and reaching the speed of 675 kilometers per hour.
11 Mar 1943 The BI-3 rocket-powered prototype aircraft took its first flight at Sverdlovsk (now Yekaterinburg), Sverdlovsk Oblast, Russia (the fourth flight of the design), reaching the altitude of 4,000 meters.
14 Mar 1943 The BI-3 rocket-powered prototype aircraft took its second flight at Sverdlovsk (now Yekaterinburg), Sverdlovsk Oblast, Russia.
21 Mar 1943 The BI-3 rocket-powered prototype aircraft took its third flight at Sverdlovsk (now Yekaterinburg), Sverdlovsk Oblast, Russia.
27 Mar 1943 The BI-3 rocket-powered prototype aircraft took its fourth flight at Sverdlovsk (now Yekaterinburg), Sverdlovsk Oblast, Russia, reaching the speed of more than 800 kilometers per hour. The aircraft would lose control during flight, crashing to the ground and killing test pilot Grigory Bakhchivandzhi.
24 Jan 1945 The BI-7 rocket-powered prototype aircraft took its first flight at Khimki near Moscow, Russia (the eleventh flight of the design); a problem with the landing gear was reported during this flight.
9 Mar 1945 The BI-7 rocket-powered prototype aircraft took its second flight at Khimki near Moscow, Russia.
29 May 1945 The BI-7 rocket-powered prototype aircraft underwent a unpowered glider test at Khimki near Moscow, Russia.

SPECIFICATIONS

BI-1
MachineryOne Dushkin D-1A-1100 liquid-fuel rocket engine rated at 1100kgf of thrust
Armament2x20mm ShVAK cannon
Crew1
Span6.48 m
Length6.40 m
Height2.06 m
Wing Area7.00 m
Weight, Empty958 kg
Weight, Maximum1,683 kg
Speed, Maximum800 km/h
Service Ceiling4,000 m

Photographs

BI-1 rocket-powered prototype aircraft, date unknown




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BI-1 rocket-powered prototype aircraft, date unknown




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