Polish Aviation Day – the card from the historical Polish aviation calendar

Since 1993 the date 28 of August is known in Poland as a National Aviation Day, common holiday for civil aviation, military and aerospace industry and it was established to commemorate the victory of Captain Franciszka Żwirki and Engineer Stanisława Wigury in Challenge Touring Aircraft 1932 Competition (Challenge International des Avions de Tourisme) in Berlin.

Before the outbreak of World War II, International Tourist Aircraft Competition were perhaps the biggest aviation event in Europe. During this event engineers showed their aviation construction, which were evaluated. It was a huge exam of pilots and mechanics skills.

International Tourist Aircraft Competition as every sporting event had its own rules. It specified what and how will take place. Assumed technical tests on the ground and in the air, rally and race around Europe. The first competition was held in 1929, the winner was the pilot from Germany. He also won the competition which was held next year . After this victory, all started to believe that German team had no competitors, and that their engineers and pilots are the best in Europe.

In 1932, the organizer of the competition were Germany. Poland was represented by pilot
Franciszek Żwirko and mechanic Stanisław Wigura. Polish couple flew on RWD-6, which was a polish construction One of the designers was Franciszek Żwirko. A lot of people did not belive in success of polish crew, although they were known as a very good pilots.

 

rwd 6RWD-6 fot. “Polish Aviation “ magazine from 1984

 

In first competition all attencion was fosuced on aircrafts . They were weighed and evaluated the technical side . Airframe weight could not exceed 480 kg, while the weight of the crew could not be less than 200 kg.

The panel of judges evaluated the aircraft also in terms of safety, comfort and equipment. Wigura could be satisfied with what he created together with his friends. The design received the most points. Moreover, second place belong to other polish construction PZL.19. This allowed polish team to get an advantage over German machines at the beginning of competition.

The second competition was the test of minimum speed – passing back and forth at a height of not more than belt 40 x 800 m with the lowest speed. Żwirko and Wigura had two trials, what was accordance with the rules. After measuring it turned out that they were flying at a speed of 57.6 km/h Terms assumed maximum number of points for a top speed 63 km/h. None of the authors had anticipated that they could go on much slower. The last part of the trip was route 7 300 km.

The first, and also the longest stage was between Berlin and Warsaw. The flight crew took off on August 21. During the route a lot of crews fed up. Polish team Żwirko and Wigura again took first place.

The winning team Żwirko and Wigura returned to Poland. Two weeks later, on September 11, 1932, the pilots flew to the Czech Republic. They took part in the celebration of the airport in Prague.

Above the village Těrlicko during a thunderstorm gust of wind tore wing. RWD-6 fell to the
ground. The crew was killed.

Two years later, in 1934, the competition took place in Warsaw, Poland. Among the polish crew were pilot Jerzy Bajan with a mechanic Gustaw Pokrzywka. They flew on RWD – 9, which was developed version of the RWD-6. Once again from the technical side polish construction was the best.

Bajan started with the highest score. Flight route was longer than that of the last competition. It ran over Europe and Africa. Had more than 9 5000 km. In this competition, Jerzy Bajan took 8th place.

However, overall he was in the lead. The same as in Berlin, strategic competition was the race on distance of 297 km. First place went to Bajan, the second at the finish was Płonczyński.

Because of these victories Poland has received the right to organize next event. Unfortunately, because of the bad financial situation Poland was not able to do it. The event required a very high cost. These also did not allow other countries to organize similar events at their country.
Samoloty.pl

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