24k b/w photo of the M-1 variant from
Soviet Supersonic Fighters Prototypes
Single-seat fighter, built with goal to reach sustained supersonic speed in horizontal flight.
Built around Lyulka TR-3A (AL-5) engine, which 'began to reach stage of maturity' in
the middle of 1950. I-350 was similar in general outline to the
MiG-17, but was refined rather for high steed performance than for a dogfight.
Specific features were 550 wing sweep, with very thin airfoil section. Four wing fences were installed to prevent
span-wise flow phenomenon. Long high fineness fuselage allowed to minimize drag and together with mid-fin raised tailplane
provided better high-speed stability. Airframe construction was quite conventional, similar to that of the
Two I-350 were built, equipped with different nose-mounted radars. M-1 carried the 'Izumrud' on the upper intake lip,
while the M-2 had a 'Korshun' unit installed in the intake splitter assembly. Two-seat trainer MT (or M-T) was designed
but it is unclear if it ever was built.
Flight tests were carried out by test pilot Grigory Sedov. As usual, trials started with slow and high speed taxi, followed
by 'hops' to altitude up to 1m. On June 16, 1951 the first flight was performed.
Due to engine failure it was cut short, and only pilot's skills saved the plane. Grigory Sedov had not only operate aircraft with partially
disabled controls, but perform manual extending of the landing gear because aircraft hydraulics failed together with the engine.
A.I.Mikoyan was at the doctor's order at the time, and chose not to be present at
the airport during tests. He received only a brief note : Sedov landed, everything is in order. Only some time later
designer learned from the pilot how he really landed...
Engine failure was traced to unstable fuel combustion in the burner section. The
TR-3A (production designation AL-5) was in need for considerable development.
Unreliability of the powerplant eventually ended the I-350 program after the fifth flight in August 1951.