Category Polikarpov I-16 Rata

Polikarpov I-16 Rata – Introduction

As soon as I saw this aircraft flying around my hotel in Madrid last summer, I have wanted to model this aircraft.

The Polikarpov I-16 Rata was a Russian fighter aircraft from the 1930’s. It was used during the Spanish Civil War, and also during WWII.


  • Crew: One
  • Length: 6.13 m (20 ft 1 in)
  • Wingspan: 9 m (29 ft 6 in)
  • Height: 3.25 m (10 ft 8 in)
  • Empty weight: 1,490 kg (3,285 lb)
  • Max. takeoff weight: 2,095 kg (4,619 lb)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Shvetsov M-63 supercharged radial engine 820 kW (1,100 hp)
  • Maximum speed: 525 km/h (283 kn, 326 mph) at 3,000 m (9,845 ft)
  • Range: 700 km (378 nmi, 435 mi (with drop tanks))
  • Service ceiling: 9,700 m (31,825 ft)
  • Rate of climb: 14.7 m/s (2,900 ft/min)
  • 2 × fixed forward-firing 7.62 mm (0.30 in) ShKAS machine guns.
  • 2 × fixed forward-firing 20 mm (0.79 in) ShVAK cannons.
  • 6 × unguided RS-82 rockets or up to 500 kg (1,102 lb) of bombs

Polikarpov I-16 Rata – Model

This is a really tiny aircraft. Scaled at 1:5 it yields a model with a:

length: 1226 mm
wingspan: 1800 mm

While we are at it, the 3-view is an old Russian one from the internet.


Polikarpov I-16 Rata – Initial layout

The fuselage formers were drawn from the 3-view and cleaned up. A bit of a headache, with that huge turtle-deck, but it worked out OK in the end.

Polikarpov I-16 Rata – Discrepancies

I have been struggling with the fuselage formers. It looks to me like the fuselage diameter is smaller under the cowl, and the top fuselage formers are tubular in front of the cockpit. This is not shown on my 3-views.



Polikarpov I-16 Rata – Fuselage Info

I have found the actual fuselage dimensions for a version 4 Rata in a Russian book, but I want to build the version 24.  Since there are no difference between the two fuselages, I am good to go.

Polikarpov I-16 Rata – Version 4 and 24

I have overlaid the side-views of the Polikarpov I-16 version 4 (green) and 24 (red), to see the differences. First of all, the fuselages are totally identical, with the exception of the canopy (open vs. closed) and the engine cowl. Since there are no differences, I will be using the version 4 formers. This should be the most accurate Polikarpov I-16 model ever!

Polikarpov I-16 Rata – Fuselage formers

The fuselage formers are of a version 4 Rata, and I want to build a version 24 aircraft. The differences are in the cowl and cockpit areas. The rest are the same. I will probably keep the version 4 cowl and cockpit and include them with the drawings, in case someone decide to build a version 4.


Polikarpov I-16 Rata – Longerons

The basic fuselage is now almost done. There are still a couple of issues that I will be cleaning up tomorrow. First and foremost, the center of the last two formers are offset by 15 mm, resulting in the longerons not aligning up. Secondly, the head-rest is a bit off, and the cutouts for the first three formers are not perpendicular to the edge, resulting in a twist in the longerons. Apart from that, I am really happy about it.


Polikarpov I-16 Rata – Fuselage Cleanup

The fuselage has now been cleaned up. Everything is straight and true.

Polikarpov I-16 Rata – Wing profile

The Polikarpov I-16 uses the TsAGI R-II (16%) profile, which is a Russian developed profile. I must admit I do not have the data for this airfoil, but it must be a fast airfoil with average lift.

Polikarpov I-16 Rata – Related posts


  • hello from Belgium ,
    sorry for the English it’s from school and i’m 60 years old
    we loved the russian Airplane ( my wife was Russian ) PO2 , IL15 Mig3 and try to found the plan of the Rata.
    it’s very difficult to found those plan , if you have something about this plane can you follow near us.
    thanks for your respons
    regards from Belgium
    Natalia and jean michel

  • admin  says:

    Hi Natalia and Jean-Michel,

    Of course I can help you out. Please see your private e-mail.

  • Grant Thompson  says:

    Hiya bud, greetings from down under. Beautiful plane, always loved them. I gree with Natalia & Jean Michel… it’s very difficult to find any plans for this aircraft. Any chance you can help me out? I would like to get o e flying here in Australia


  • Joshua Harel  says:

    I would love to buy a set of plans if they are available. Please advise.

  • Trevor James  says:

    Hi. Have You completed these plans yet? I would be happy to purchase a set.
    Kind Regards Trev.

  • Alexander Olsson  says:

    Is there any chance to get a copy of the reel plans you have of the airframe and airfoil?

    Best regards Alexander Olsson Sweden

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