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MD-5 Kometa

The MD-5 Kometa of 1957 represented the first step in an attempt by the Communist authorities then in power in the Soviet Union to popularize aeromodelling among Russian youth by making suitable model engines available through the school system. The underlying motivation was of course to enhance the students' technical capabilities as well as to instill an interest in aeronautics which might translate into involvement with full-sized aircraft down the road.

The MD-5 Kometa was an unabashed clone of the 1954 version of the Italian Super Tigre G21/29 racing glow-plug engine of 5 cc (.29 cuin.) displacement. Since the full weight of the Iron Curtain lay between Italy and Russia, there was nothing that Jaures Garofali and his colleagues at Super Tigre could do about this! 

Despite acquiring a not-undeserved reputation for spotty quality control, the Kometa was actually by no means as bad an engine as its reputation might suggest. Present-day tests on a well set-up example have shown conclusively that the engine was quite competitive if well prepared. The main problem was inconsistent fitting of the piston rings - the rest of the engine was generally produced to a good standard. A good example was actually very good indeed, while some examples undoubtedly suffered from poor compression seal. Even so, the engine probably fulfilled its intended purpose very well.

The engine appeared in both ring piston and lapped piston versions. The latter variant also appeared in diesel form. The Kometa enjoyed an amazingly long production life, extending from 1957 until the end of the Communist era in 1989. 

Full details of the Kometa story will be found in the detailed MD-5 Kometa article which appears elsewhere on this web-site. 


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