Balalaika / MiG-21 


Asif has been making paper airplanes continuously since he was around five or six years old. This project is that same childhood dream of a lightning-fast military jet and every dream since.  As to the motivation for choosing this particular airframe, the 21 is usually ranked among the best of the third generation jet fighters. A classic point defense interceptor and flexible mission/weapons platform, the MiG-21 was also very much a product of its time. Computer control in the mid-nineteen fifties had not caught up to advances in aeronautical engineering. And so, its design goals of high performance in climb, altitude, and speed were only matched by the limitations set upon the designers by primitive (by todays’s standards) electronic augmenting of the performance envelope. Hence, the engineers proposed a novel design solution using post war research on the the favorable qualities of a pure delta wing planform for high speed flight and a swept and tailed empennage for directional and three axis stability.

The result, is perhaps the most iconic Warsaw Pact fighter of its day. With a unique external geometry and truly exceptional performance capability, even by current standards, the MiG-21 is an effective and instantly recognizable addition to air forces around the world. The 21 is still utilized as a front line air superiority fighter, fighter bomber, and interceptor by 28 countries. In fact, the design is so successful that it is still being produced in updated from throughout the developing world.

The airplane project Asif is building is roughly 1.0588 times life size. Down to the smallest flush rivet (numbering tens of thousands) and functional landing gear and control surfaces, this is the logical conclusion of the childhood dream of flight. The control surfaces (ailerons, rudder, stabilators) will all be functional and milled from manufactured paper linkages and paper rope. All of the functions of the jet will be accessible through mechanisms within the functional cockpit. The engineering for the plane, although not a duplicate of the Mikoyan OKB original, is still analogous in almost every respect.

Asif Farooq Balalaika MiG-21 Press Kit