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 West. It is equipped with an original engine and propeller, and all instrumentation and other miscellaneous parts are of original Russian manufacture. The aircraft is painted in the markings of the Russian World War II ace, Gen Maesky.