History[edit | edit source]

Built as c/n 2015357,[1] Red 2057, of the 2nd Regiment, Korean People's Air Force, was flown from Sunan Air Base, just outside Pyongyang, North Korea and landed before 10:00 am at Kimpo Air Base in South Korea, by Lt. No Kum-Sok on September 21, 1953. The aircraft was disassembled and loaded onto a C-124 Globemaster and shipped off the next day to Kadena Air Base on Okinawa.

Lt. No provided valuable insight to American test pilots prior to their evaluation of the MiG at Kadena Air Base. The test pilots were Major Chuck Yeager and Captain Harold "Tom" Collins, led by Major General Albert Boyd, the commander of the Wright Air Development Center.[2] Major Yeager later stated, "Flying the MiG-15 is the most demanding situation I have ever faced. It's a quirky airplane that has killed a lot of its pilots."[3]

Testing of the MiG-15 lasted 11 days. It revealed that the aircraft was a reasonably good fighter, but lacked the technological sophistication of American aircraft, such as the F-86. Major Yeager was able to fly the aircraft to 0.98 Mach before it became dangerously uncontrollable. While the MiG-15 did have a faster climb rate and operated in a higher altitude ceiling than the F-86, it suffered from problems with oscillation, poor pressurization, unexpected pitch-up at high speeds, unrecoverable spins, sudden stalls, and a particularly dangerous emergency fuel pump that could cause the aircraft to explode if improperly activated.[4] Despite such shortcomings, Yeager and Collins determined that the MiG-15 and F-86 were equally capable. Pilot experience and training proved to be the most important factor during dogfights. Maj. Yeager said, "The pilot with the most experience will whip your ass no matter what you're flying!"[5]

After the testing of the MiG-15bis, it was again disassembled and each part was scrutinized and evaluated by engineers. The Americans offered to return the aircraft to North Korea, but there was no response. The MiG-15 was crated and shipped to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, in Dayton, Ohio, in February 1954. From March to October 1954, the MiG-15bis, was tested at Eglin AFB, Florida. It was flown extensively in comparisons with the B-36 Peacemaker, B-47 Stratojet, F-84 Thunderstreak and F-86 Sabre before returning to Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, in October.[6][7] Further evaluation of the aircraft continued until it was damaged in a hard landing in 1956.[N 1] The aircraft was donated to the National Museum of the United States Air Force for restoration and display, where it remains.[9]

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. The aircraft was being flown on this occassion by RAF pilot Flt. Lt. E. S. Chandler[8]

Sources[edit | edit source]

  1. http://www.airport-data.com/aircraft/2057.html
  2. Kum-Sok, No. A MiG-15 to freedom: memoir of the wartime North Korean defector who first delivered the secret fighter jet to the Americans in 1953. McFarland & Co. Jefferson, N.C. 2007. Page 158.
  3. Yeager, Chuck (with Leo Janos). Yeager: An Autobiography. Bantam. New York. 1985. Page 259.
  4. Yeager, Chuck (with Leo Janos). Pages 259–263
  5. Yeager, Chuck (with Leo Janos). Page 263
  6. Young, Rob, National Air and Space Intelligence Center historian, "A History of NASIC: ATIC's MiG-15bis Exploitation", Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio.
  7. http://www.nasicaa.org/mig15bis.pdf
  8. Aeroplane Monthley - January 2017. Page 98
  9. Kum-Sok, No. Pages 164–165
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