And now the time has come to post my last "creative" entry to this thread. (Though hopefully Rhade will add more content here over time)
(Some of these drawings were recently posted in FD Aircraft 16)
At the beginning of the 1950s initial pilot training for the Polish air force was conducted on obsolete and worn-out Polikarpov U-2 and Yakovlev UT-2 aircraft. Because of the rapid expansion of the force at the time, the replacement was urgently needed and although domestic-designed Junak trainer was also being introduced, the demand was so high that it was decided to purchase also Soviet Yakovlev Yak-18 trainers. Eventually, between 1951 and 1955 military aviation received 55 such aircraft, mostly used by flying schools, but some were distributed to front-line units for proficiency training and flight technique control. On 23/24 July 1956 two such aircraft were used by 4 cadets to defect to Austria - remarkable feat, that, paradoxically, given the night time and lack of navigational aids, exhibited high quality of military pilot training at that time. Around 1960 military Yak's were transferred to aeroclubs, which were using some of these aircraft (but directly-imported) already since 1951, and in late 1950s also purchased 15 planes from Hungary. They were used until around early 1980s. Currently several, including one in flyable condition, are exhibited in several museums in Poland.
Poland, Yakovlev Yak-18 (Jakowlew Jak-18)
Works on the first privately-developed Polish jet aircraft were started by design team led by Edward Margański in 1997 and by 2003 they led to flying prototype of the EM-10 Bielik (White-tailed eagle, initially also called Iskra 2 - Spark - and marketed abroad as Fenix). It was intended as a replacement for successful but dated TS-11 Iskra but was also considered for civilian market. Unfortunately ministry of defence expressed nothing more than just a token interest and no civilian buyers appeared so far.
Poland, Margański ZRPSL EM-10 Bielik
Because the intended replacement for TS-11 Iskra, the I-22 Iryda, was cancelled in 1990s, Polish air force found itself without modern advanced trainer. Eventually, after numerous delays, in 2013 the contest was opened for advanced and LIFT trainer. Alenia-Aermacchi M-346 emerged as a victor (ahead of T-50 and Hawk AJT), not least due to best price. Although the initial demand was for 16 aircraft, the final order was for 8 planes and option for 4 more. First two aircraft were delivered to Dęblin in November 2016, though the final delivery was postponed due to failure of the aircraft to perform the LIFT role (specifically to carry the armament specified in contract). In Polish service M-346 are called Bielik
- White Tailed Eagle.
Poland, Alenia-Aermacchi M-346 Bielik
Year 1950 saw delivery of Poland's first jets - the Yakovlev Yak-17. First 3 aircraft in fighter version arrived in Summer of 1950 - one of them was used in 36 Specjalny Pułk Lotniczy
for trials and familarization and two others were intended as examples for license production in Mielec as G-1 (which never started). From 1951 to 1953 they were followed by 11 Yak-17UTI two-seat trainers - until 1953 they were distributed between fighter regiments undergoing conversion to jets, and afterwards they were concentrated at Oficerska Szkoła Lotnicza Nr 5
at Radom, where they served until second half of the 1950s. In 1957 two aircraft were transferred to Instytut Lotnictwa
(one of them for spares) and used until early 1960s. One of these aircraft is currently preserved in Kraków museum as one of only two remaining Yak-17's in the World (other can be seen in China).
Poland, Yakovlev Yak-17 (Jakowlew Jak-17)
Second jet in Polish service - and first used in significant numbers, was Yakovlev Yak-23. Already in 1950 plans were made for license production as G-3 (though - like with Yak-17 - it never started due to widespread introduction of more capable MiG-15), and in January 1951 deliveries of these aircraft from Soviet Union commenced. Initially 90 of these planes were delivered with 10 more obtained second-hand from Czechoslovakia (with some sources mentioning additional 5 more second-hand from Soviet Union), giving 100 or 105 total. Most of Yak-23's were initially delivered to 1
and 2 Pułk Lotnictwa Myśliwskiego
in Warszawa and Kraków, respectively, though in the end as much as 10 combat regiments, as well as training units of Oficerska Szkoła Lotnicza Nr 5
were using these planes, largely for familiarization on jets, before deliveries of MiG-15's. Polish Yak-23's ended their operational service in 1954 but remained in training units until 1959. Between 1956 and 1961 2 planes were used by Instytut Lotnictwa
(one flying and one for spares) and on 21 September 1957 test pilot Andrzej Abłamowicz established World record in climb time to 3000m (in 119 seconds) and to 6000m (in 197 seconds). Currently several Yak-23's can be seen in various museums in Poland.
Poland, Yakovlev Yak-23 (Jakowlew Jak-23)
Last combat aircraft of Soviet origin in the Polish air forces was Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-29. First batch of 12 (including 3 twin-seaters) was delivered to 1 Pułk Lotnictwa Myśliwskiego
in 1989-1990, where they formed one squadron. In 1995-1996 they were augmented with 10 (including 1 twin-seater) second-hand aircraft from Czech Republic, traded for 11 W-3 Sokół helicopters. That allowed to fully equip 1 PLM
with MiG-29's (even if it was somewhat understrength). In 2003-2004 Polish air force took delivery of further 22 ex-German MiG's (including 4 twin-seaters), equipping 41 Eskadra Lotnictwa Taktycznego
(former 41 PLM
), several of which were used for spares though (technically speaking 23 planes were purchased but actually last one was not delivered but had all valuable parts removed and airframe remained in Germany). Ultimately Poland obtained 44 aircraft of that type (36 single-seaters and 8 twin-seaters), but only 36 were actually used operationally.
Poland, Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-29 (Mikojan-Guriewicz MiG-29)
Lockheed-Martin (formerly General Dynamics) F-16 fighters (locally called Jastrząb
- Hawk - to avoid confusion with W-3 helicopter) are currently most modern combat aircraft of the Polish air force. Contest for new multi-role combat aircraft (Wielozadaniowy Samolot Bojowy
) were initiated as a result of the parliamentary bill in 2001 and initially called for purchase of 60 combat aircraft, including 44 brand new and 16 used. In 2002, due to delivery of used 23 MiG-29's from Germany these plans were verified to 48 brand new aircraft. In December of the same year the F-16 was declared winner. Deliveries begun in November 2006 and ended in December 2008. Once delivered, the aircraft were split in equal numbers between three squadrons: 3 Eskadra Lotnictwa Taktycznego, 6 Eskadra Lotnictwa Taktycznego
(both in Poznań) and 10 Eskadra Lotnictwa Taktycznego
(in Łask, which has additional specialization in aerial reconnaissance). In 2011 these units become 31 Baza Lotnictwa Taktycznego
in Poznań and 32 Baza Lotnictwa Taktycznego
in Łask (with proportions of aircraft attached remaining unchanged).
Poland, General Dynamics/Lockheed-Martin F-16 Falcon
Legendary Antonov An-2, in Poland nicknamed Antek (Tony)
was the longest used aircraft in the history of Polish military aviation, as well as its most numerous transport aircraft. First aircraft were delivered to 36 Specjalny Pułk Lotniczy
in 1955 (though some sources claim that first aircraft was delivered already in 1951). In 36 SPL
they were used until 1959 for aerial surveying. From 1960 they were built by WSK-PZL Mielec under license, with nearly 12000 made, and although around 10500 of them were exported to the Soviet Union, they were also very widely used in Poland, both in the military and in civil aviation. Aeroclubs used them for parachute training, many were used for crop-dusting, some were used as air ambulances and one was even equipped with signals relay equipment for national radio and television. In the armed forces they were used in numerous units, with their number peaking in 1975 at 115. Most important military users were transport regiments and liaison squadrons, but each combat aviation regiment usually had 1-2 An-2's, and some were used by navy, border troops (initially in floatplane version, later converted to standard land undercarriage and transferred to navy) and internal troops. From 1990s they were gradually replaced by An-28/M-28 aircraft and in their final years their main role was training of future transport pilots. Poland's last military An-2 made its final flight on 14 December 2012 in Radom, ending 57 (or more) years of faithful service to Polish wings. That said, a significant number of these venerable aircraft can be still found in civil aviation, and likely will remain so for years to come.
Poland, Antonov An-2 (Antonow An-2)
Together with planes for Polskie Linie Lotnicze LOT
, Ilyushin Il-14 transport planes were in 1955 delivered also to Polish military aviation, where they gradually replaced Li-2's. Air force used both Soviet- and East German-manufactured aircraft, in transport and in passenger/VIP versions, equipping with them first the 36 SPL
, and later also 55 Pułk Lotnictwa Transportowego
in Kraków (later renamed 13 Pułk Lotnictwa Transportowego
, with small number of these planes equipping several other units. Significantly, two modernizations were applied to Polish military Il-14's - in 1975 single plane was adapted for navigation and bombardment training at Wyższa Oficerska Szkoła Lotnicza
in Dęblin, replacing recently-retired Li-2's, and in 1968 one Il-14T, designated Il-14E and nicknamed "Pueblo" (after notorious USS Pueblo spy ship) was adapted for ELINT duties and attached to 7 Brygada Lotnictwa Bombowo-Rozpoznawczego
. Both these specialized planes served until 1980, while last Il-14T remained in service at 13 PLT
Poland, Ilyushin Il-14 (Iliuszyn Ił-14)
Image updated February 2020
Large four-engined Ilyushin Il-18 passenger aircraft were purchased in 1961 both for Polskie Linie Lotnicze LOT
(see page 7 of this thread) and for 36 Specjalny Pułk Lotniczy
which got 2 planes in -E VIP version. In 1975 one of these aircraft was transferred to the airline, while the other remained in military service until 1991.
Poland, Ilyushin Il-18 (Iliuszyn Ił-18)
In 1966 Kraków-based 55 Pułk Lotnictwa Transportowego
(year later renamed 13 Pułk Lotnictwa Transportowego
) received 2 Antonov An-12 transports. Although intended to support training of the 6 Pomorska Dywizja Powietrznodesantowa (6 Pomeranian Airborne Division)
, for most of their existence they were leased by Polskie Linie Lotnicze LOT
(see page 7 of this thread). In 1977 one of them crashed in Beirut and second was sold to Bulgaria in 1993.
Poland, Antonov An-12 (Antonow An-12)
Also the year 1966 saw first deliveries of Antonov An-24 aircraft to the air force, with two attached to 36 Specjalny Pułk Lotniczy
in Warszawa. In 1969 they were transferred to PLL LOT
as SP-LTO and -LTP. In 1968 third plane was delivered, and in 1977 it was transferred to PLL LOT
as SP-LTZ, but after some time it returned to the air force and was converted into airborne command post, serving until 1992. Next two An-24's were delivered to 36 SPL
in late 1969, serving until 1973, when one was transferred to PLL LOT
(as SP-LTT) and other one crashed near Szczecin with 18 fatalities, including ministers of internal affairs (security) of Poland - Wiesław Ociepka and Czechoslovakia - Radko Kaska. Final, sixth military An-24 was delivered in 1970 and served until 1975 when it become PLL LOT
's SP-LTU. More on civilian An-24's on page 7 of this thread.
Poland, Antonov An-24 (Antonow An-24)
Tupolev Tu-134 passenger aircraft joined service in PLL LOT
in 1968, becoming airline's first jets (see page 8 of this thread). In addition to airliners, 2 Tu-134A with solid nose (like on Tu-134B) were delivered in 1975 to 36 SPLT
for VIP flights. In 1977 and 1978 they were transferred to PLL LOT
, though it was mostly just a formal move and they continued their service as semi-military VIP carriers, and in 1984 one more such plane joined the military before being also transferred to PLL LOT
Poland, Tupolev Tu-134 (Tupolew Tu-134)
In early 1970s Wojska Lotnicze
were in dire need of the rapidly dwindling in numbers Li-2 and Il-14 transports. Given the political realities, Antonov An-26 was the obvious choice and between 1972 and 1973 12 aircraft (of the 20 planned) were delivered to 13 Pułk Lotnictwa Transportowego
(from 2001 13 Eskadra Lotnictwa Transportowego
) in Kraków. They were supporting paratroopers from 6 Pomorska Dywizja Powietrznodesantowa
, as well as fulfilling general transport needs of the Polish military, transporting personnel and supplies of the Polish contingents in UN nations etc. From 1974 these aircraft (in military markings) were transporting air mail on behalf of PLL LOT
. From 2003 they were gradually replaced in service by CASA C-295M aircraft, but due to high demand for air transport service (largely related to Polish presence in Afghanistan and Iraq), last of them remained in service until 2009.
Poland, Antonov An-26 (Antonow An-26)
First Polish user of Yakovlev Yak-40 trijets was Instytut Lotnictwa
, which got one aircraft in 1972 and used it for research work as well as service flights until 1980 when it was leased to PLL LOT
. Second IL
's Yak was ex-air force aircraft used between 1985 and 1994, while LOT
also got 5 aircraft leased from air force between 1988 and 1991 (see page 8 of this thread). But it was the military that was the biggest user of Yak-40's (18 of 19 purchased) - mostly for VIP and communication flights, but also as target tugs. First of the military Yak's were delivered in 1973 and majority of them were used by 36 Specjalny Pułk Lotnictwa Transportowego
, but few of them were also flying at 17 Eskadra Lotnicza
in Poznań supporting headquarters of Wojska Lotnicze
, and at 19 Lotnicza Eskadra Holownicza
at Słupsk, towing targets over Wicko Morskie firing range. In 1990s they were all concentrated in 36 SPLT
(not least due to dwindling numbers) and by 2007 they were all due to retire, but lack of replacements necessitated the lifetime extension of last 4 aircraft that theoretically extended their service until 2013, but because their parent unit was disbanded in the wake of Smoleńsk disaster, they were retired in 2011.
Poland, Yakovlev Yak-40 (Jakowlew Jak-40)
In 1978 Polish aviation industry agreed to undertake production of Antonov An-28 light transports, intended to become succesors to venerable An-2. After a prolonged development process (Polish engineers made 21 thousand changes to original design), first Polish An-28's rolled out from the line in 1984. Initial orders called for 1000 planes to be delivered to the Soviet Union alone (with more expected in the future), but the fall of Soviet Union (and whole Soviet block) led to cancellation of this plans after some 160 delivered. Already in late 1980s Polish military become interested in the aircraft and first 2 planes (designated "Bryza" - Sea Breeze) were delivered in 1988, followed by more, mostly from mid-1990s onwards, including, besides basic transports, SAR and maritime patrol versions. Also, in early 1990s, to overcome limited export potential due to "eastern" engines and equipment, Polish engineers developed "westernized" version with modern avionics and PT-6 engines, initially named An-28PT Piryt, and later renamed (due to legal disagreements with Ukraine and Russia about use of "An-" brand) M-28 Skytruck. Besides the simple re-engined/re-equipped models, PZL attempted to create a larger Skytruck-Plus version, but only mockup was made from one older damaged aircraft. Skytruck achieved some moderate export successes with quite good perspectives (including siginificant order from Venezuela and later delivery of several aircraft - designated C-145 - to US Special Operations Command), somewhat wasted after, as a result of the "industrial offset" agreements from F-16 contract the control over the manufacturer passed into American hands, which resulted in price of aircraft skyrocketing (being literally multiplied) and several export contracts being cancelled by new owners. Currently production of M-28 seems to proceed but average numbers are in low-single digit areas per year, mostly for Polish military that so far received around 30 of these aircraft.
Poland, Antonov An-28 / PZL M-28 Bryza / Skytruck
As was mentioned already on page 10 of this thread, in 1980s several Let L-410 Turbolet light transports were bought for various institutions. 2 of them (one in late 80's and one in early 90's) entered service in Zespół Lotnictwa Sanitarnego
until they were replaced by Piaggio P.180 Avanti II.
Poland, Let L-410 Turbolet
From 1986 to 1991 Polskie Linie Lotnicze LOT
took delivery of 14 Tupolev Tu-154M trijet airliners (see page 8 of this thread). Additional,15th aircraft in M-Lux version for VIP transport was delivered in 1990 to 36 SPLT
. Because the airline service of Tu-154's in Poland was rather short, last plane delivered to LOT
(SP-LCO) was already excess to requirements and in 1994 it was also transferred to the military. During their service as VIP carriers both Tupolevs made numerous flights with highest representatives of the Republic of Poland, including first transatlantic flight of 36 SPLT
in 1991, and were also used to transport military personnel for long-range deployments as well as for humanitarian services, like when one of them was used to deliver aid to Haiti after disastrous 2010 earthquake. Tu-154's active service in the Polish air force came effectively to an end in 2010, when on the 10 April, on the way to the events commemorating 70th anniversary of the Katyń massacre, airplane (number 101) from the 36 SPLT crashed on approach to landing killing all 96 onboard, including President of the Republic of Poland Lech Kaczyński and his wife Maria, last President-in-Exile Ryszard Kaczorowski, all top military chiefs (chief of the general staff, chiefs of army, navy, air force, special forces, joint operational command and of the Warsaw garrison), governor of the National Bank of Poland, 18 members of parliament (including 3 deputy speakers of both houses), numerous other dignitaries as well as relatives of the victims of the 1940 massacre. After that, remaining aircraft was effectively grounded and in 2011 36 Specjalny Pułk Lotnictwa Transportowego
was disbanded while it's main duties were transferred to chartered (from PLL LOT
) Embraer E-Jets.
Poland, Tupolev Tu-154 (Tupolew Tu-154)
As a replacement of increasingly worn-out and uneconomical An-26's a CASA C-295M transport aircraft were chosen in 2001. First order called for 8 aircraft, which were delivered to 13 Eskadra Lotnictwa Transportowego
in Kraków between 2003 and 2005. 2 more were delivered in 2007, next two in 2008 and 5 more in 2012-2013, giving a total of 17, but actually their number is 16, as on 23 January 2008 one of the aircraft crashed near Mirosławiec killing all 4 crew and 16 passengers - group of air force commanders that were, ironically, returning from flight safety conference.
Poland, CASA C-295M
Lotnicze Pogotowie Ratunkowe
is using 2 Piaggio P.180 Avanti II aircraft - one delivered in 2004 and second in 2007.
Poland, Piaggio 180 Avanti II
Due to increasing participation of Polish troops in overseas operations, air force felt the need for a (relatively) heavy transport aircraft to support these deployments. Most obvious choice was ubiquitous Lockheed C-130 Hercules. Initially, in 2004-2005 a purchase of 5-6 ex-RAF C-130K was considered, but eventually 5 C-130E were obtained from US stocks and delivered in late 2009. Initially they served in 14 Eskadra Lotnictwa Transportowego
in Powidz, later renamed 33 Baza Lotnictwa Transportowego
, part of the 3 Skrzydło Lotnictwa Transportowego
Poland, Lockheed C-130 Hercules
Military VIP aircraft fleet was in need of replacement already since 1990s, but political issues and fiscal constraints were delaying any decisions even after the 2010 Smoleńsk air disaster, after which the need become desperate. Finally in September 2016 Ministry of National Defence opened contest for 2 "medium" (eventually increased to 3) and 3 (eventually reduced to just 2) "small" VIP aircraft, which was eventually won by Boeing 737 (similar to those already in use by the Polish airlines) and Gulfstream G550 respectively. First of G550's was delivered on 21 June 2017 and given individual name "Książe Józef Poniatowski", while second arrived on 26 July 2017 and given individual name "Generał Kazimierz Pułaski". Both aircraft serve in 1 Baza Lotnictwa Transportowego
Poland, Gulfstream G550
Boeings 737 of the 'Classic' series purchased by LOT in the 1990s were modern planes when bought, but passing of time is merciless and eventually the time has come to seek their replacement. Since much of the LOT's fleets are Boeing's, it was decided to buy more current-generation 737's. As a stop-gap measure, 4 second-hand 737-89P (800NG-series) were obtained in 2017 (SP-LWA to -LWD) and delivered in May-June. As the intended replacement model the 737-MAX8 was chosen, with 6 ordered and options for 5 more. First two aircraft were delivered in December 2017 (registration numbers beginning with SP-LVA).
Additionaly, 3 B737's were purchased for the Air Force as the VIP aircraft. Initial plans called for 2 aircraft, but eventually it was decided to buy 1 B737-86X (for immediate delivery) and 2 B737-800BBJ2 (to be delivered in 2020). First aircraft arrived in Poland, in 1 Baza Lotnictwa Transportowego at Warszawa-Okęcie on 15 November 2017 and was given individual name "Marszałek Józef Piłsudski" and special commemorative painting for the 100th Anniversary of the Polish Independence (1918-2018).
Poland, Boeing 737-800/-MAX8
In late 1940s the Polikarpov Po-2 biplanes were considered extremely outdated, and Polish military aviation sought a replacement. In response the Żuraw (Crane)
was designed at LWD and test flown in 1951. Plane exhibited good STOL characteristics, but due to military's insistence on the use of weak Soviet M-11 engine, it's overall performance was very unsatisfactory and didn't enter production. Around 1956 version with AI-14 engine was considered, but at this time Polish industry was already producing Yak-12 on license so these plans never come to fruition.
Poland, LWD Żuraw
In 1951 Polish military aviation took delivery of first 2 Yak-12 (M-11) liaison aircraft, intended mainly as replacement for Po-2 in communication duties. Several years later civil aviation got 2 or 3 more of these aircraft. In 1956 military received 5 Yak-12R aircraft with AI-14 engine. Around the same time (in 1955) Poland purchased licence to produce these aircraft - 1054 Yak-12M and (from 1958) 137 Yak-12A were built in Poland, mostly for Soviet Union. Polish military aviation received 51 Yak-12M's and 32 Yak-12A's and used them until 1983, though already from late 1960s they were gradually transferred to civil aviation, which received 76 aircraft, including 21 for Zespół Lotnictwa Sanitarnego
and rest mostly for aeroclubs, where they were main workhorse in glider towing, but used also in variety of other duties. In 2006 there were still 47 Yak's in Polish civil aircraft registry.
Poland, Yakovlev Yak-12 (Jakowlew Jak-12)
As was mentioned already on page 6 of this thread, in 1952 Polskie Linie Lotnicze LOT
purchased in 1952 3 Czechoslovak Aero Ae-45 courier planes. In 1957 2 surviving aircraft were transferred to Zespół Lotnictwa Sanitarnego
for aeromedical work, where they served until 1967. Between 1959 and 1962 a total of 11 improved Aero Ae-145 were also bought for the same service, where they remained in use until around 1980.
Poland, Aero Ae-45 and Ae-145
As part of the process of equipment modernization, in 1952 38 Zlin Z-26 Trener aircraft were purchased for aero-clubs, for use as trainers (including initial training of future military pilots) as well as in aerobatics contests (as primary platform). In 1964 one of Z-26's were converted into single-seat configuration and given semi-formal name "Kasper Super Akrobat" (after pilot and initiator of conversion, Stanisław Kasperek) to differentiate it from "genuine" single-seat Zlin's. Because the plane won 3rd place at World Aerobatics Championships in Moscow, it was decided to convert more planes (with a total number of 16). In 1966 more sophisticated attempt of conversion was made, using engine from Z-326 and named Krosno-66 and later Beskid-1, but development was cut short after crash of one of 3 converted planes, which exposed material fatigue in wings. Both Z-26's and Kasper's remained in use until around 1969 (due to mentioned material fatigue) and scrapped in 1974. In 1962 3 Z-326 planes were purchased and in 1971 deliveries begun of relatively large numbers of Z-526F and Z-526ASF (I couldn't find exact numbers, but by 2006 there were still around 30 left).
Poland, Zlin Z-26 and Z-326 and Z-526 and Super Kasper Akrobat and Beskid-1
Poland's first post-war amateur aircraft was designed by Stanisław Sobkow (who already made attempts of building amateur airplanes before the war) and was quite sophisticated design. Design work begun in 1949 and in 1951 Sobkow managed to get some institutional support from Liga Przyjaciół Żołnierza
which allowed construction to start. In 1956 plane - WS-3 Czajka (Sea Gull) was ready and made first flight. Until 1959 it made number of flights, but because Instytut Lotnictwa ignored all requests for homologation of the aircraft, it was eventually permamently grounded and in 1960 burned by orders of authorities.
Poland, Sobkow WS-3 Czajka
In 1957 Zespół Lotnictwa Sanitarnego
received 3 Aero L-60 Brigadyr utility aircraft. They remained in service until 1974.
Poland, Aero L-60 Brigadyr
From 1960 onwards Polish civilian aviation took delivery of up to 50 Czechoslovak Let L-200 Morava aircraft (including many second-hand from Aeroflot). Their most important user was Zespół Lotnictwa Sanitarnego
until 1990s, but they were also used by Aeroklub PRL
and several institutions, including Instytut Lotnictwa
and ministry of mining.
Poland, Let L-200 Morava
In 1967 Jarosław Janowski from Łódź begun construction (in a a second-floor flat of 18 sq.m!, and with frequent visits from Służba Bezpieczeństwa
(secret police) officers suspecting the plane might be used to defect to the West) of a relatively sophisticately-designed amateur plane, which was completed and flown in 1970 as J-1 Prząśniczka (female spinner). Because of the sympathetic reaction of local and central media, which popularized Janowski's effort, authorities
somewhat lessened pressure on the designer. During next several years plane made numerous flights, exhibiting very good flight characteristics, and after a long bureaucratic battle the designer had in 1976 his plane formally registered (for some reason as motoglider), as the only second post-war amateur design in Poland. Subsequently several other amateur flyers in Poland (at least 4) built their own copies of J-1 (on documentation supplied by Janowski), and soon later orders for plans start coming from abroad - though there they had to be literally smuggled because drawings on blueprint paper couldn't be transferred outside Poland without government license! In mid-1970s Janowski adapted design to US legal demands, and renamed J-1B Don Quichote (or Don Quixote; to commemorate designers' struggle with authorities) was marketed in North America, where it was produced in kits (with at least several dozen being built). In 1981 original Prząśniczka was written off after a minor crash. In 1983 it's slightly updated version was built by Piotr Fojcik from Rybnik with designer's blessing and designated J-4 Mewa.
Poland, Janowski J-1 Prząśniczka
In 1977 Jarosław Janowski built his next plane, J-2 Polonez (Polonnaise), designed with even greater (than J-1) simplicity of construction in mind and with slightly different configuration. About dozen copies were made in Poland (with various engines, but most often Trabant) and similar number abroad.
Poland, Janowski J-2 Polonez
Janowski J-3 Orzeł (known abroad as Eagle) was follow-on to J-2 but with elements made from laminates and epoxy. Curiously, although built in Poland, it was then shipped to Canada where it made a first flight in 1978. It has the distinction to be the first amateur plane from the Eastern Bloc to appear at Oshkosh. Only one was made.
Poland, Janowski J-3 Orzeł (Eagle)
Because the ex-military aircraft, that were mainstay of the training activities in the aero clubs, were approaching end of their useful lives, it was decided to obtain new types. Main effort was directed at obtaining a license for domestic production (see PZL-110/-111 Koliber below), but as a stop-gap, Czechoslovak Zlin Z-42 and Z-43 aircraft were purchased. Because production volume of Kolibers was eventually below expectations, further deliveries of Czech planes followed, with total amount (including those imported privately after 1989) was above 100 (in 2006 Aeroklub PRL
alone still had 49 Z-42's and 41 Z-142's).
Poland, Zlin Z-42 and Z-43 and Z-142 and Z-143 and Z-242
In 1970s constantly-modernized planes of Zlin Z-26 family were no longer a viable competitors in Aerobatics Championships, so Czechoslovak industry developed their successor, the Zlin Z-50, which was introduced in 1975 and year later first such aircraft were purchased by Aeroklub PRL
for the national aerobatics team, with more planes following.
Poland, Zlin Z-50
In mid-1970s Aeroklub PRL
was in need of modern basic trainer, and preferably one that would be produced domestically. Decision was made to purchase a license abroad (with a desire to obtain with it some relatively modern - at least for PRL's standards of the day - technologies) and a contest was made between Morane-Saulnier/SOCATA Rallye, Zlin Z-42, Grumman AA-1 Tiger and Rockwell 111/112, though for political reasons it was clear to industrial insiders that French plane will be chosen (France at that time was most important source of foreign licenses for Poland). Plane was subsequently modified for Polish technical needs and industrial standards, as well as for different engine (PZL-Franklin 4A-235-B3 - shortly earlier Polish government bought assets of bankrupt Franklin factory and transferred all equipment to Rzeszów). First PZL-110 Koliber 125 (Hummingbird) - as it was known locally - was flown in 1978, but this was plane made largely from French parts, and first "really Polish" PZL-110 flew in 1979. Despite the initial hopes, production suffered because of the engine issues - WSK-PZL Rzeszów was for some reason had the engine very low on it's development and production priorities and as a result only relatively small number of early-series Kolibers was made (some 40). In late 1980s design was modernized with Lycoming O-320-E2A engine as PZL-110 Koliber 150 (later model number was dropped from the name and it become PZL Koliber 150), but this version suffered from economic hardships of the transformation era, so in the end they were made in similar numbers as previous model, and in late 1990s O-320-D2A engine was introduced (in Koliber 160), but this was made in even smaller number (just around dozen). Meanwhile, in mid-1990s much more modernized, higher-powered version was developed, PZL-111 Koliber 235 with Lycoming O-540 engine, but just one was made.
Poland, PZL-110/-111 Koliber (SOCATA Rallye)
Late 1970s was a period when a number of types of aircraft in civil aviation was reaching obsolescence. Besides small aircraft for aeroclub use (mentioned above), replacement was needed also for L-200 Morava aircraft used for air ambulance and service flights. Since it was a period of opening towards the West, it was decided to purchase license on the other side of Iron Curtain, choosing in 1978 popular Piper PA-34 Seneca aircraft. Polish variant - PZL M-20 Mewa (Gull) - was initially produced with PZL-Franklin engines, but due to problems with these, only very few were made and eventually the original Lycoming engines were used from late 1980s. Production volume of upgraded version was somewhat higher, but for some reason only some 20-30 (sources vary) M-20's were made. Of these 3 were used by Zespół Lotnictwa Sanitarnego / Lotnicze Pogotowie Ratunkowe
and 1 by 103 Pułk Lotniczy Nadwiślańskich Jednostek Wojskowych
and later by Straż Graniczna
Poland, PZL M-20 Mewa (Piper PA-34 Seneca)
In 1983 Jarosław Janowski has built next plane, the J-5 Marco, and one that again was to make several Polish "firsts", most notably being first Polish aircraft built from glassfibres and epoxy. It's production (in knock-down kits) has started at Alpha company in Kraków and exported, with at least several dozen built. In 1990 one of French-registered J-5's, flown by Alain Flotard and modified for extended range made a 2900km-long flight around Europe, establishing three records. Later, in 1990s the design was enlarged into a motoglider J-6 Fregata, which was used as basis for BAE Systems HERTI and Fury military drones
Poland, Janowski-Alpha J-5 Marco
In 1984 Adam Kurbiel, designer of Jantar gliders, built an ultralight aircraft ULM-1 Moskito, loosely based on unfinished RW-01 Skoczek by Jarosław Rumszewicz and Tadeusz Widełka. It was notable by being built from carbon fibres and in 1988 entered series production for West German market (over 20 were made). Also a twin-seat (side-by-side) version ULM-2 was built, but just two planes were made.
Poland, Kurbiel ULM-1 Moskito
In 1984 Edward Margański, noted aircraft designer from PZL (already mentioned in previous entries) designed and built an advanced twin-engined ultralight aircraft with very sophisticated lines named DK-3 Kasia (Katie). Unfortunately because of various problems with propulsion it made just few jumps in 1984 and it's development was shelved.
Poland, Margański DK-3 Kasia
In 1987 Roman Orliński from Malbork built a light plane RO-7 Orlik Experimental (Eaglet) powered by Walter Mikron engine. Plane is apparently still in use.
Poland, Orliński RO-7 Orlik Experimental.
In 1989 Józef Borzęcki, one of the most prolific designers of amateur aircraft in socialist-era Poland, built Skowronek (Lark) ultralight designed with safe and inexpensive (especially relative to dire economic realities of the day) flying. It was powered by engine from Volkswagen Kubelwagen (produced 1943!) and flown in 1989. Unfortunately in October 1990 wing broke in flight killing the designer.
Poland, Borzęcki Skowronek
Antoniewski AT-1 - single-seat ultralight designed by Tomasz Antoniewski in 1990, loosely based on Jodel D-9 Bebe. Later changed owners and registration several times.
Poland, Antoniewski AT-1
In 1995 Tomasz Antoniewski designed and built AT-2 ultralight based on modified Pottier P-220S documentation. In 1998 further improvement of the design, AT-3 was flown and in 2002 entered production (under Aero brand) with at least 70 made. In 2007 AT-4 version for US market (where it's known as Gobosh G-700) was introduced and in 2013 production for Chinese market also commenced.
Poland, Antoniewski AT-2 and Aero AT-3 and AT-4 (Gobosh G-700)
Adam Kurbiel, who already built a commercially fairly successful ULM-1 Moskito glider, in 1992 built an ultralight sports plane named Eol-2 (Aeolus). Year later Kurbiel entered cooperation with German businessman and they established a Remos company, that until 1996 produced modified version of the plane named Eol-2 Gemini (some 30 were made of both these versions). In 1996 partnership was dissolved and both parties continued production on their own - old (now-German-owned) Remos company made slightly modified Mirage G.3 plane, mostly for German market (with at least 160 made), while Adam Kurbiel continued development, including version optimized for Czech market named Raček. After the death of Adam Kurbiel in 2000 in automobile accident, his company transformed itself into 3Xtrim company, continuing development of the plane and producing it in large series.
Poland, Kurbiel Eol-2 and Remos Eol-2 Gemini and Remos Mirage G.3 and Kurbiel Eol-2 Racek and 3Xtrim Eol
Aviata company has adapted a concept of Edward Margański for a specialized glider-towing aircraft utilizing as many as possible elements of other planes manufactured in Poland at that time. Resulting plane GM-1 Gniady (bay - horse hair color) used engine and undercarriage from PZL-104 Wilga while wings and tail from PZL-110 Koliber. Prototype flew in 1995 but unfortunately aeroclubs at that time were too cash-strapped to buy any.
Poland, Aviata GM-1 Gniady
DEKO-9 Magic - aerobatics plane from 2000, currently in offer of Kaiser Flugzeugbau.
Poland, DEKO-9 Magic
Margański EM-11 Orka (Orca) - four-seat, twin engine business and communication aircraft, designed by team headed by Edward Margański, first flown in 2003 and currently in offer. Works are made on patrol, amphibious and jet-powered versions.
Poland, Margański ZRPSL EM-11 Orka
Bilsam Sky Cruiser - ultralight twin-seat plane developed by company from Swarzędz, owned by Pakistani national resident in Poland, and flown in 2005 and put into production.
Poland, Bilsam Sky Cruiser
In 2006 Polish businessman Artur Trendak and French aerospace designer Raphael Celier started partnership that resulted in manufacture in Poland of Celier Xenon autogyros, over 100 of which were manufactured until 2011 when partnership ceased and Trendak 's company continued production of slightly modified design as Trendak Zen-1.
Poland, Trendak Zen-1
In 2009 Aero-Kros works (mostly producing FK-series aircraft) developed their own ultralight aircraft, MP-2 Czajka (Sea Gull) and put it into production.
Poland, Aero-Kros MP-2 Czajka
Aerodes Opal-1 - ultralight twin-seat training plane flown in 2010.
Poland, Aerodes Opal-1
Aerodes AF-129 - light aircraft in twin-boom configuration with two seats (side-by-side), flown in 2011.
Poland, Aerodes AF-129
Aero-Service Panda is ultralight sports plane flown in 2011.
Poland, Aero-Service Panda
Margański/Aeroem Małgosia II is an experimental plane for research in stability and flight control, designed by Edward Margański and built in 2014 using elements of Małgosia motoglider (itself a deep modification of Fox glider).
Margański/Aeroem Małgosia II
Mid-1950s saw the need for a new agricultural aircraft that could replace Po-2/CSS-13 biplanes. License-produced Yak-12's had insufficient payload, but were considered a promising base on which an upgraded design could be made. As a result the PZL-101 Gawron (Rook) was developed, with enlarged space for chemical tank (giving it characteristic hump) and slightly swept wings to alleviate effects of moved centre of gravity. First flight was made in 1958 and until 1969 total of 325 were built, both as crop-dusters and in utility (transport) version. Of these 134 were exported, including 40 to Bulgaria and 67 to Hungary, with remaining being sold to Austria, Finland, Spain, India, Turkey, Venezuela, Vietnam and Hungary. Although the production aircraft had by default huge "winglets", most users over time removed them and replaced with more typical wingtips. Before the introduction of PZL-106 and M-18 the PZL-101's were the mainstay of Polish agricultural aviation - both in domestic services and in it's commercial activity abroad. Currently significant number of Gawron's is still in use, mostly in utility version.
Poland (Bulgaria, Hungary), PZL-101 Gawron
In 1991 103 Pułk Lotniczy NJW MSW
supporting internal security services received 2 Bell 206B JetRanger helicopters with police equipment. By 2000 they were both transferred to Lotnictwo Policji
(Police aviation), although in 2005 one of them crashed and now one remains in service. Additionaly several B206's are owned by private users.
Poland, Bell 206 JetRanger
Also in 1991 2 Bell 412SP helicopters in VIP configuration were delivered to 36 Specjalny Pułk Lotnictwa Transportowego
- one of them bought and another leased. Their purchase for the visit of Pope John Paul II was very controversial since Polish industry had a helicopter of roughly similar class for the job (W-3). In 1993 the remaining B412 was swapped with manufacturer for B412HP and served in the air force until 2011 when it was transferred to police.
Poland, Bell 412
In addition to 2 FFG-7 frigates (delivered 2000-2002), Polish navy obtained 4 Kaman SH-2G Super Seasprite, delivered by 2003. Initially they were used in 28 Eskadra Lotnicza
at Gdynia-Babie Doły, which was later reorganized into 43 Baza Lotnicza
Poland, Kaman SH-2 Super Seasprite
Single Agusta-Westland AW.109E Power was used by Lotnicze Pogotowie Ratunkowe
between 2005 and 2009 when it was written off after emergency landing.
Poland, Agusta A-109 Power
Eurocopter EC-135 helicopters were chosen in 2007 as replacements of the worn-out helicopter fleet of the Lotnicze Pogotowie Ratunkowe
, consisting mostly of Mi-2's. Deliveries of the 23 choppers took place in 2009 and 2010.
Poland, Eurocopter EC-135
Around 1950 LWD design team created an initial project for Junak's successor named Bies
(folk word for 'devil'), with similar arrangement but more sophisticated aerodynamics, stronger engine (Argus AS-10c), retractable undercarriage and optional armament. Not developed further due to dissolution of LWD. Later TS-8 Bies trainer was to an extent a descendant of this design, although it wasn't a single development line.
Poland, LWD Bies
In 1969 Andrzej Frydrychewicz aided by Andrzej Kardymowicz (both from Instytut Lotnictwa) designed a high-performance aerobatics plane named Harnaś 71 (harnaś is title of heads of outlaw gangs from Tatra mountains from bygone years). Aeroclub authorities were not interested in building it, thinking that purchase of more Zlin's will suffice.
Poland, Frydrychewicz Harnaś 71
In 1978 Ryszard Bartel, well-known pre-war aircraft designer, after many years of mainly educational work, once again designed an aircraft - aerobatic BM-7, which was largely downsized and updated BM-6. Unfortunately it remained a project.
Poland, Bartel BM-7
In 1980 Jarosław Janowski begun construction of his next plane, but this time with tractor configuration, designated J-4 Solidarność (Solidarity). In 1981 fuselage was already completed, but when martial law was introduced the construction was forcibly stopped (not least due to politically provocative name).
Poland, Janowski J-4 Solidarność
In 1986 Andrzej Frydrychewicz again designed high-performance aerobatics plane named Harnaś, but this time of a completely different - and unusual - configuration: biplane with upper and lower wings very wide apart and attached to fuselage not by usual struts but a vertical "wing" that extended below into a single-track undercarriage.
Poland, Frydrychewicz Harnaś 3
In 1994-1995 Jerzy Cisowski from SZD (and former designer at PZL and IL), responding to voices from light aviation community, designed light aircraft Tukan (Tucano). Design was optimized for simple operation, and storage in less-than-perfect condition, containing, among others, folded wings (respoidning to scarcity of floorspace in existing hangars).
Poland, Cisowski Tukan
In 1995 Edward Margański designed a small communications/taxi/VIP aircraft with ducted fan. Note that it was nameless design and "dyspozycyjny" means simply "(vehicle) at disposal" and is general name of that category of planes.
Poland, Margański Dyspozycyjny
Also in 1995 Edward Margański designed a cargo plane of 2500kg payload.
Poland, Margański Transportowy
In early 1990s design team from PZL Mielec started works on enlarged derivative of An-28/M-28 with PT-6 engines, larger fuselage, retractable undercarriage, capable of carrying up to 24 passengers or 3 LD3 containers. By around 1996 project was already quite well developed but got later quietly cancelled.
Poland, PZL M-34
DEKO-7 was a project of ultralight observation and training plane from 1995.
Maik Optica - ca. 2001 design of Tomasz Maik from Politechnika Warszawska
from very simple tourist aircraft with extremely good all-around visibility from cockpit (which could make it very suitable also for other uses).
Poland, Maik Optica
Aerodes A-5 Swallow - 4-6 seat jet communications/business plane. Designed around 2002.
Currently the follow-on to this project, Flaris LAR-1 (or LAR01) is undergoing ground tests.
Poland, Aerodes A-5 Swallow
Aerodes B-2 - bizjet for up to 11 seats and with 1 or 2 engines. Designed around 2002.
Poland, Aerodes B-2
Aerodes Opal-Aerovan - small twin-engine transport plane with up to 13 seats. Designed around 2008. In 2009 follow-on design with tandem biplane configuration was made.
Poland, Aerodes Opal-Aerovan
Aero-Service Puma and Raptor - ultralight aircraft of around 2010. Some sources mention that Puma is supposedly "in production", but I found no information about first flight or pictures of completed aircraft. Latest information I got about Raptor are from 2012 when it was "under development".
Poland, Aero-Service Puma and Raptor