Developed from the earlier Yakovlev fighters that included the successful Yak-3 and Yak-7, the Yak-9, when it first entered combat in 1942, was simply a lighter version of the former. The Yak-9 eventually was built in many different versions. Most were optimized for ground attack.
The Museum's Yak-9 is a rare, rebuilt original aircraft. Doug Champlin first learned of it during a trip to Russia in 1992. Shortly afterwards, Art Williams was hired to find and acquire it. Williams traveled to Novosibirsk, Siberia, and after consummating the acquisition, arranged for the Yak-9 to be transferred to Moscow via the Siberian railroad. The trip took four days under constant guard.
Once the Yak-9 was safely stored in Moscow, Sergei Kotov arranged for a restoration team to rebuild it. This work took two years to complete. In 1996, the Yak-9 was shipped to The Champlin Museum in Mesa, Arizona.
The Museum's Yak-9 is one of four original aircraft known. It is the only original Yak-9 on display in the...