14 January 1950

The first prototype of the USSR’s MiG-17 makes its maiden flight.

Another prototype of Mikoyan Gurevich fighter I-330 SI made its first flight on the 14th of January 1950 piloted by Ivan Ivashchenko. The aircraft, the improved version of the I-310 or the first prototype of MiG-15, was developed to be the advanced version of MiG jet fighter, the MiG 17.

The MiG-17 was a single-seat, single engine fighter armed with cannon, and capable of high subsonic and transonic speed.

The prototype’s wings were very thin and this allowed them to flex. The aircraft suffered from “aileron reversal,” in that the forces created by applying aileron to roll the aircraft about its longitudinal axis were sufficient to bend the wings and that caused the airplane to roll in the opposite direction.

The first prototype I 330 SI developed “flutter” while on a test flight, 17th of March 1950. This was a common problem during the era, as designers and engineers learned how to build an airplane that could smoothly transition through the “sound barrier.” The rapidly changing aerodynamic forces caused the structure to fail and the horizontal tail surfaces were torn off. The prototype went into an unrecoverable spin. Test pilot Ivashchenko was killed.

Two more prototypes, SI 02 and SI 03, were built. The aircraft was approved for production in 1951.

More than 10,000 MiG 17 fighters were built in the Soviet Union, Poland and China. The type remains in service with North Korea.

Ivan T. Ivashchenko was born at Ust-Labinsk, Krasnodar Krai, Russia, 16th of October 1905. He served in the Red Army from 1927 to 1930. Ivashchenko was trained as a pilot at the Lugansk Military Aviation School at Voroshilovgrad, and a year later graduated from the Kachin Military Aviation College at Volgograd.

In 1939, he fought in The Winter War. During the Great Patriotic War, Ivan Ivashchenko flew with a fighter squadron in the defense of Moscow.

From 1940 to 1945, Ivan Ivashchenko was a test pilot and flew the Ilyushin Il-2 Sturmovik fighter bomber extensively. In 1945 Ivashchenko was reassigned to OKB Mikoyan, where he worked on the development of the MiG 15 and MiG 17 fighters. He participated in testing ejection seat systems and in supersonic flight.

Ivan T. Ivashchenko was a Hero of the Soviet Union, and was awarded the Order of Lenin, Order of the Red Banner and Order of the Patriotic War. He was killed in at the age of 44 years.