Iakovlev, Aleksandr Sergeevich
(also AS. Yakov-lev). Born Mar. 19 (Apr. 1), 1906, in Moscow. Soviet aircraft designer. Academician of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (1976; corresponding member, 1943). Colonel general of the engineers (1946). Twice Hero of Socialist Labor (1940 and 1957). Member of the CPSU since 1938.
In the 1920’s Iakovlev was a pioneer in Soviet aircraft modeling, gliding, and aviation sports. In 1924 he built the AVF-10 glider, which was cited in all-Union competitions, and in 1927 he developed the AIR-1 light aircraft. He began working as an engine mechanic in 1924 and entered the N. E. Zhukovskii Air Force Engineering Academy in 1927. In the meantime, he continued designing light aircraft. After graduating from the academy in 1931, Iakovlev worked as an engineer at an aircraft plant, where in 1932 he organized a design office for light aircraft. He became a chief designer in 1935 and a principal designer in 1956. From 1940 to 1946 he also served as deputy people’s commissar of the aviation industry.
In 1932, Iakovlev designed the AIR-6 series-production, local-service aircraft and the AIR-7 high-speed postal airplane. He designed the popular UT-2 and UT-1 trainers in 1935 and 1936 and the BB-22 bomber (capable of a speed of 567 km/hr) in 1939. Between 1940 and 1943, Iakovlev designed the Yak-1, Yak-7, Yak-9, and Yak-3; the principal fighter aircraft used in the Great Patriotic War, they made up two-thirds of the Soviet fighter force of 36,000 planes. In 1944, the Yak-3 reached a speed of 745 km/-hr, the highest ever for a Soviet piston aircraft.
A pioneer in jet aviation, Iakovlev has supervised the development of various series-production combat aircraft. Among them are the Yak-15, which was developed in 1946 and was the first jet fighter used by the Soviet Air Force; the Yak-25, the first all-weather interceptor, developed in 1952; and the Yak-28, which was developed in 1958 and was the first Soviet supersonic tactical bomber.
Iakovlev is also responsible for the development of the first Soviet vertical-takeoff-and-landing (VTOL) aircraft (1967); the Yak-14 troop-carrying glider; the Yak-24 helicopter; the Yak-11 and Yak-18 trainers used by the air force and by flying clubs; the Yak-18T trainer used by Aeroflot; the multipurpose Yak-12; and the Yak-18P, Yak-18PM, and Yak-50 sports planes, in which world and European aerobatics records were set (in all, 45 world records were set in airplanes designed by Iakovlev); and the Yak-40 and Yak-42 passenger jets. He has supervised the development of 75 types of aircraft, 66,000 of which have been produced. Iakovlev’s school of design covers a wide variety of aircraft that includes combat aircraft, passenger airplanes, trainers, and sports planes.
Iakovlev was a deputy to the second through ninth convocations of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR. He received the Lenin Prize in 1972 and the State Prize of the USSR in 1941, 1942, 1943, 1946, 1947, 1948, and 1977. He has been awarded eight Orders of Lenin, eight other orders, and various medals. Iakovlev has also been awarded the French Legion of Honor (Grand Cross) and the Grand Gold Medal of the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale.
WORKSTseV zhizni, 4th ed. Moscow, 1974.
Rasskazy aviakonstruktora. Moscow, 1974.
Sovetskie samolety, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1975.
IU. V. ZASYPKIN