The Incredible Adventures of the Yak in the USA
The Yak-23 fighter was developed at the end of the forties in an active manner, and, although it was distinguished by quite good flight qualities, it did not find use in the Soviet Union (still, with the existing MiG-15!).
But it turned out to be quite good as an export fighter, and was widely used in the Air Force of the Warsaw Pact countries: Poland, Czechoslovakia, Romania, Albania, Bulgaria, Hungary, and the planes were delivered to Romania and Albania from Poland.
In general, the typical first-generation jet fighter, the aircraft was nothing special, but participated in a curious spy story.
As is known, after the end of the Second World War and the break in relations with the Soviet Union. Yugoslavia under the leadership of Josip Broz Tito was actively building his communism, with the United States and the NATO bloc. The US saw in Yugoslavia a springboard for destabilizing the region, therefore, willingly supplied Tito with money and weapons.
In October 1953, the Yak-23 was at the disposal of the Yugoslavs.
There are two versions of how the Yak got to the Yugoslavs: according to one, it was stolen from Romania by a defector.
On the second, the plane was transported from Poland to Albania by rail through the territory of Yugoslavia.
Be that as it may, the Yugoslavs saw this as a great chance to demonstrate their loyalty, and offered to transfer the aircraft to the United States for study.
The operation was called the "project Alpha", the train was detained in Yugoslavia under some pretext, one box of dismantled Yak was loaded aboard a transport
C – 124 b sent to the Wright – Patterson base.
On the base of the aircraft, they quickly assembled, made up American identification marks, struck a fake registration number and flew around. The first flight was made on November 4, 1953, the last - on November 25 of the same year. The base personnel were announced that they were testing the experimental Bell X-5, which was indeed somewhat like the Yak-23.
A total of eight flights were made. Impressions of the aircraft are described in the title video.
After the flight, the plane was disassembled, packed, loaded onto a transport ship and taken back to Yugoslavia.