Yakovlev Yak-23 (Flora)

Yakovlev Yak-23 (Flora) was a jet fighter developed in the USSR in the 1940s and used in early 1950s. The first aircraft were produced in a factory in Tbilisi (Georgian SSR) in October 1949. In late 1949 they entered Soviet air force service, and were also ordered for export in 1949-50. The Yak-23 was quickly replaced in the Soviet service with the more complicated swept-wing MiG-15, which offered superior performance. In all, only 310 Yak-23 aircraft were built before production ended in 1950.

They were not used in combat (there are reports of US pilots encountering Yak-23s during the Korean War, but their presence in North Korea is not confirmed).

Aircraft were delivered to Bulgaria, Poland, Romania and Czechoslovakia. In late 1953, one of the Yak-23 was smuggled from Romania to the United States. After tests conducted at Wright-Patterson, Captain Tom Collins fighter was returned to Romania.

On September 21, 1957, the Polish pilot Andrzej Abłamowicz set two FAI world records on Yak-23 with civilian markings SP-GLK, in its weight class, climbing at 3,000 m (9,843 ft) in 119 seconds (4,962.6 ft/min) and at 6,000 m (19,685 ft) in 197 seconds (5,995.4 ft/min). This plane was withdrawn in 1961, being possibly the last Yak-23 used in the world.

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