Polish Aviation Industry - Part 04

Kraków 2015-01-22

Polish Aviation Industry

Part 4


Zakłady Mechaniczne E. Plage i T. Laśkiewicz in Lublinie

Zakłady Mechaniczne Emil Plage i Teofil Laśkiewicz in Lublinie. Around 1930. Photo of LAC
Zakłady Mechaniczne Emil Plage i Teofil Laśkiewicz in Lublinie. Around 1930. Photo of LAC

Place of former Works. 2015 year.
Place of former Works. 2015 year.

Zakłady Mechaniczne Emil Plage and Teofil Laśkiewicz in Lublin are undoubtedly the first Polish aviation company. She produced aircraft since 1921. From 1928, she produced her own aircraft constructions, and after nationalization under the name Lublin. In 1935, the factory was nationalized.  

Some history

In 1860, Albert Plage opened a metal workshop at Bernardyńska Street in Lublin, where he manufactured saucepans, copper tubs and distillery equipment. The company grew rapidly and by the end of the 19th century it already employed about 50 people. It was then called the Albert Plage Copper Products Factory. In 1897, Albert Plage sold the plant to his son Emil, who turned out to be even more entrepreneurial. In 1899, the company already employed about 90 people. Emil Plage built a new factory in the former Bronowice farm. South of the center of Lublin, between the Bystrzyca river and railway tracks. The location of the plant was convenient; Warsaw-Kowal railway line and road to Zamość. Also in 1899, Emil Plage entered into a partnership with Teofil Laśkiewicz, and so the "Zakłady Mechaniczne E. Plage and T. Laśkiewicz in Lublin" was created. Metal products for the food industry were still produced. They had very good quality, which resulted in numerous awards, including at the agro-industrial exhibition in Lublin in 1901. In 1907, production of boilers and metal elements for emerging cement plants was started. At that time, the factory already employed about 300 people.

In 1909, at the age of 41, Emil Plage died childless. His shares in the company passed on to his living parents, brother and sister. The company was continued by Teofil Laśkiewicz, and the interests of the Plagi family were represented by Józef Laube. In 1910, Teofil Laśkiewicz together with Kazimierz Arciszewski, who was a co-founder of a machinery factory in Łódź, decided to purchase Plagi's shares. The Plage family has agreed to sell, provided that the name Plage is left in the company name. It also happened.

From 1911, the plant produced ship boilers, mainly for Russian government orders. Marine hull components and fuel tanks were also produced. Many of these orders were not carried out because the great world war began. The plant was destroyed and looted in 1915 by retreating Russian troops. The plant, however, did not collapse, although it could only employ 30 people. Tins and field kitchens were produced here for the Austrian army.

Aircraft production

The rebirth of the Republic of Poland opened new possibilities for the plant. Teofil Laśkiewicz, at the instigation of eng. Kazimierz Arciszewski, asked the air force inspector for permission to establish an aviation department. A positive response came on February 14, 1920. On February 17, 1920, the plant signed a contract with Military Aviation for production based on the license of Italian aircraft; Ansaldo A-1 "Balila" fighter (200 copies) and Ansaldo A-300 reconnaissance-bomb bomber (100 copies). The contract was for 300 aircraft.

Further areas were purchased for new production halls. The plant area increased from just over 1 ha to 13-14 ha. 10,000 m2 was under the roof. In 1921, the factory employed about 500 people. Address; Lublin ul. Fabryczna 26. The first Ansaldo A-300 aircraft was flown on June 15, 1921. According to popular opinion, propagated during the People's Poland, the quality of the aircraft was low. There have been several disasters. This resulted in a reduced order. In individual years built; 1921 - 14 machines, 1922 - 22 machines, 1923 - 60 machines, 1924 - until production is stopped, 36 machines.

The fact is; that in 1921, while performing the evolution of the "As" of world aviation, pilot Adam Haber-Włyński, in 1922, as a result of the wing tearing off, ensign J. Ryba and sergeant W. Górski were killed. In 1924, an investigation was carried out and a report was made that found that out of 110 aircraft, 18 were involved in accidents, but only one of the plant's faults. Poor and faulty Italian engines should be blamed for this. The Italian airframes themselves had structural errors. They were adapted for use in dry climates and had no protection against moisture. The adhesives used were not resistant to high humidity and low temperatures, which was not initially taken into account. Therefore, Lublin planes did not enjoy good fame.

This report contributed to the fact that in 1924, the plant received an order for the licensed production of French Potez XV aircraft, which produced 100 copies, in the period 1925 - 1926. The plant was then commissioned to license production of Potez XXV aircraft, which 150 units were produced, in the period 1928–1931. Both types of aircraft were produced in parallel in Lublin and Biała Podlaska at the PWS - Podlaska Aircraft Factory. Between 1929 and 1930, the plant produced, under Fokker license, 11 Fokker F-VIIB / 3m passenger aircraft and a further 20 in a self-developed bomber version.

Own constructions

In the mid-20 years, the management of the plant changed. In 1927, the head of the design office was Jerzy Rudlicki, a graduate of the aviation school in Paris. In addition to license production, the label then began to develop its own constructions under the guidance of Eng. Jerzy Rudlicki. The construction team also included Ing. Jerzy Dąbrowski. Planes of the Plage and Laśkiewicz plants were given the name Lublin and the designation "R" with consecutive Roman numbers. The first own design was a Lublin R-VIII single-engine liner plane, flown in 1928 and produced in 6 copies, in 1928 - 1930, of which 3 were then rebuilt into seaplanes and used by Polish Maritime Aviation.

In 1929, a prototype of the R-IX passenger aircraft was flown (based on the R-VIII design), and in 1930, it was developed into the R-XI passenger aircraft. The design was not ordered by the airlines.

Another construction was the Lublin R-X single-engine high-wing aircraft, flown in 1929, which won the competition for a connecting plane for Polish Aviation, beating PZL Ł.2. It was ordered in a quantity of only 7 pieces. On its basis, Eng. Jerzy Rudlicki designed the R-XIV school aircraft, whose version of Lublin R-XIII became the basic observation aircraft of Polish Aviation in 1933 - 1939. Lublin R-XIV was built in 1930 - 1931, 15 aircraft in number, and Lublin R-XIII in 1932 - 1935, 223 copies. A further 50 units were built after the plant was nationalized. In 1930, the Lublin R-XII sports plane was flown, however it was not successful and did not enter production.

The next construction of the passenger aircraft was Lublin R. XVI, from 1932, it was also not purchased by LOT Polish Airlines. On its basis, in the period 1933 - 1935, six R-XVI-b aircraft in the sanitary version were built. The last construction of the plant was a twin-engine heavy torpedo seaplane Lublin R-XX, flown in 1935, which also did not enter production. In addition to the constructed structures, the plant office also developed several other projects that were not implemented.

Another production of the plant in Lublin

Difficulties with the operation of aircraft built in Lublin caused the management of the plant to pay attention to other production. In the period 1924 - 1933, car bodies were also produced at Plage and Laśkiewicz. The factory specialized in shunting Somua and Ursus AW buses and Ursus A trucks. It also built luxury passenger cars on imported chassis "Chrysler", "Buick", "Hotchkiss", "Auburu". This production lasted in the period 1925 - 1931. Also returned to the production of steam boilers for steam engines, ships and boiler rooms.

At the end

In 1925, Teofil Laśkiewicz died, whose shares were inherited by his son, Roman.

General Ludomił Rayski, head of the Aeronautics Department of the Ministry of Military Affairs pursued such a policy that the entire Polish Aviation Industry should be concentrated in the hands of the state. This had good and bad sides. However, for Zakład Plage i Laśkiewicz it meant nationalization or liquidation. This happened when the order for 50 Lublin R-XIII-F aircraft was carried out. The first 7 machines were delivered to the army, and at the end of 1935, the order for the remaining machines was withdrawn. There were another 18 Lublin R-XIII-F aircraft under construction. The plant was in financial trouble. The company's management stated that bankruptcy should be filed, after which the plant was nationalized, starting production under the name Lubelska Wytwórnia Planów - LWS. 18 Lublin R-XIII-F aircraft were completed and the army placed an order for another 32 aircraft.

Constructions Zakładów Mechanicznych E. Plage i T. Laśkiewicz in Lublinie

Lublin R-VII "Retaliation" - 1924, project of a twin-engine bomber plane. biplane. Mixed construction.

Lublin R-VIII - the flight was carried out in March 1928. Reconnaissance bomber (linear). The first prototype had a Farman 12WE in-line engine with 537 kW (730 hp). the second prototype was overthrown in July 1928 and had an 18Kd Lorraine-Dietrich engine, with 545 kW (740 hp). on 1929-03-13, the army ordered 4 copies, which were delivered in 1930. A two-seater biplane, wooden structure. 300 kg bomb load. Three planes were converted into seaplanes and were used in the Naval Aviation in Puck.

Lublin R-IX - the first flight on 1929-04-18. A passenger plane based on the Lublin R-VIII structure. LOT Polish Airlines found that the aircraft had poor performance. Mixed construction. Gnome-Rhone Jupiter 9A radial engine, 450 HP.

Lublin R-X - the first flight on 1929-02-01. Observation and connecting plane. Five aircraft were built and tested in the army. Serial production was not undertaken.

Lublin R-XI - the first flight on 1930-02-08. A passenger plane for 6 passengers. He had poor performance. Wright Whirlwind J5 in-line engine with 240 hp.

Lublin R-XII - the first flight in 1930. A sports plane built in one copy. The drive was an 80-horse Armstrong-Siddeley Genet 5-cylinder star engine.

Lublin R-XIII / R-XIV - the first flight was made by the R-XIV aircraft in June 1930. The aircraft is a development of the R-X aircraft. The army ordered 15 copies. In July 1931, the aircraft underwent tests. During one flight the steering rack was beheaded. The pilot jumped with a parachute, and the plane landed correctly, stopping in a ditch. However, the designer found the R-XIV symbol to be unlucky and changed its designation to R-XIII, which was initially omitted. The aircraft entered serial production.

Lublin R-XV - a suspended aircraft developed from the R-X aircraft. No prototype was built. Wright Whirlwind J5Ab engine, 162 kW (220 HP).

Lublin R-XVI - the first flight in February 1932. A passenger plane, based on the R-XI aircraft. The aircraft underwent operational tests at LOT Polish Airlines. The competition announced by the Ministry of Communication, the R-XVI aircraft lost to the competitive PWS-24 aircraft built at Podlasie Aircraft Factory. The main reason for the defeat was lower strength. the aircraft returned to the factory, where after strengthening the structure it received the designation R-XVI-a. The improved aircraft was overthrown on 1933-11-09. Then the plane was transferred to LOT Polish Airlines. The aircraft did not accept and made only a few flights. In 1936, the aircraft was canceled. The drive was a 9-cylinder Skoda J5B Whirlwind star engine with 162 kW (220 hp).

Lublin R-XVII - it is basically a Potez XXV plane with a retractable landing gear in the lower lobe, using a crank handle. A speed increase of 40 km / h was expected. The project remained on par.

Lublin R-XVIII - project from 1929. Three-engine night bomber. In 1931, the design was changed to twin-engine and its size reduced. The offer of its construction was not accepted by the Aeronautics Department.

Lublin R-XIX - 1932. Experimental aircraft built to test the butterfly tail of Rudlicki. Several constructions with this type of tail have been made in the world. The most famous is the Fouga CM.170 Magister jet aircraft.

Lublin R-XX (LWS-1) - flown on 1935-04-10. Twin-engine torpedo plane. Only a prototype was built. Float chassis. Drive two Bristol Pegasus II 9-cylinder star engines, 467 kW (635 hp).

Lublin R-XXI - project from 1931. The accompanying aircraft is a development of the mass-produced R-XIII aircraft. It differs from the original from the engine. This variation has the PZL G-1620B Mors II engine, with a power of 316 kW (430 hp). Like the Lublin R-XXIII aircraft, it had wheels covered with fairings and the engine with a Townend ring. A prototype was not built and the project remained only on paper.

Lublin R-XXII - project from 1931. Single-engine torpedo plane. Modeled on the British construction of this class Vickers "Vildebeest". The plane was to replace Lublin R-VIII bomber aircraft that were not capable of carrying torpedoes. The project remained only on paper.

Lublin R-XXIII (R-XIII Dr) - built in April 1933. The aircraft is better known under the designation Lublin R-XIII Dr and its own name "Blue Patak". This is the rally version of the Lublin R-XIII B. It is equipped with a rear passenger cabin, a metal propeller, wheel fairings, a gyroscope compass and an artificial horizon. The engine is covered with a Townend ring. In autumn 1933, the plane was damaged. After renovation, he received civilian registration of SP-AJT. From October 21 to November 10, 1935, the crew of S. Karpinski and W. Rogalski made a flight on the route Warsaw-Istanbul-Baghdad-Karachi-Calcutta-Bangkok-Preczubab. in the last place the plane was damaged during take-off at a Shiraz airport. the planned flight to Melbourne did not take place. "Blue Bird" was transported to the country by ship and the following year was deleted. Mixed design, single-engine, two-seat high-wing stringer, classic two-wheel fixed chassis. The drive was a 9-cylinder Skoda J5 Whirlwind star engine with 162 kW (220 hp). Two-blade propeller, metal.

Written by Karol Placha Hetman