PZL-130 Orlik, piston engine. 1984. - History

Published on: 2020-01-30
Updated on: 2020-01-30
Category: Airplanes
History Construction Tally

Kraków 2008-09-05

271c Section 1984-10-12

PZL-130 Orlik, piston engine



PZL-130 nb SP-PCE. 2011. Photo by Karol Placha Hetman
PZL-130 nb SP-PCE. 2011. Photo by Karol Placha Hetman

PZL-130 nb SP-PCE. 2011. Photo by Karol Placha Hetman
PZL-130 nb SP-PCE. 2011. Photo by Karol Placha Hetman

PZL-130. 2007. Photo by Karol Placha Hetman
PZL-130. 2007. Photo by Karol Placha Hetman

PZL-130. 2007. Photo by Karol Placha Hetman
PZL-130. 2007. Photo by Karol Placha Hetman

Fake jet plane.

The fuel crisis in the world in the 70s forced governments of many countries to seek savings, even in military aviation. The search for aviation constructions cheaper to operate and, above all, burning less fuel was started.

For example, we will give some of the then planes and their fuel consumption on average for 1 hour of flight;

  • Propeller CAP-10 - 38 liters of aviation fuel.
  • Epsilon propeller - 55 liters of aviation fuel.
  • Turboprop Cessna T-34 C - 160 liters of aviation kerosene.
  • Turboprop Pilatus PC 7 - 180 liters of aviation kerosene.
  • Jet Microjet - 160 liters of aviation kerosene.
  • Jet Provost - 600 liters of aviation kerosene.
  • Jet Macchi 326 - 600 liters of aviation kerosene.
  • Jet Cessna T-73 B - 700 liters of aviation kerosene.
  • Jet Fugue CM 170 - 700 liters of aviation kerosene.
  • Jet Alpha Jet - 1,000 liters of aviation kerosene.
  • Jet T-33 - 1 500 liters of aviation kerosene.

It is not surprising then that it was decided to build propeller-powered aircraft with the features of jet aircraft.

Another thing is that, training a combat aircraft pilot must take place in a specific system. The trained pilot is gradually switching to the next types of aircraft. To make it easier, the basic and transition types must have the characteristics of a target (combat) aircraft. For example, in terms of the arrangement of instruments in the cabin.

Flight simulators have also become part of the training system, which further reduce costs and accelerate training. The simulator can "fly" even when the real weather is not volatile.


At the end of the 1970s, modernization of the training process was also undertaken in Poland. They started to create a system whose basic elements became; aircraft, ground simulator and aircraft diagnostic device. The whole was initially called SYSTEM PZL-130. The main constructor of the PZL-130 aircraft and the creator of the Polish training system was MSc. Eng. Andrzej Frydrychewicz. A little later, the whole System was named PZL-College, the PZL-130 Orlik aircraft, the PZL-Professor ground simulator, the PZL-Inspektor ground diagnostic device.

PZL-Profesor ground simulator was built based on an electronic microprocessor. The system is simply an extensive TV game with good reproduction of simulated objects. The ground simulator is no longer a trainer of the Link Trainer type known from aeroclubs, but a device based on a digital counting machine with an environment visualization system in the form of a digitally generated image for the take-off and landing range. The basis is a microprocessor, similar to the one used in the ZX-81 Spectrum mini computer. The computer is controlled by a program recorded on a cassette tape and additionally impulses caused by an instructor who supervises the training.

The student sits in a model of the Orlik's cabin. He has a screen in front of him with a moving picture of the terrain. The second screen below shows the on-board instruments. The student has at his disposal: joystick, pedals, throttle lever and other instruments necessary for take-off and landing.

The simulator familiarizes the student with the reactions of the aircraft and is to develop and consolidate specific habits in the student, both in typical conditions as well as abnormal and emergency situations.

The introduction of electronics similar to those already available in the television learning process of pilotage is only a general term, because it is intended to reduce the cost of training by building new generation simulators, much cheaper than those built so far.

Work on the simulator was completed in 1986.

The diagnostic device determines; condition of engine, aggregates and airframe. The appropriate plug, with multi-core cables, is connected to the control and measuring apparatus. Based on the data that is stored in the processor's memory, the scope of necessary repairs and calibration is determined.

The last element of the system is watching over the training process of individual pilots. And this topic uses a computer.

Each pilot-student has systematically entered partial training results, hours spent in the simulator and on the plane. Passing or failing to complete individual tasks. Comparison of training effects with the adopted formula and between individual pilots contributes to better management of the overall training process. Limits subjective pilot rating.

And one more new element, i.e. training. It is hard to imagine that the student on a free afternoon for additional training could take flight on the TS-11 Iskra. On the PZL-130 Orlik, this is fully possible and will not cause excessive additional financial burden. And here another advantage of the PZL-130 aircraft over the jet aircraft is visible.

In Poland, it was not hidden that in the future they counted on exporting the aircraft and the entire system. At that time, Poland exported a lot, but it was mainly raw materials and fewer were technically developed products. At that time, no Comecon country had and developed a similar system, which is why future exports were as real as possible. In addition, PZL Okęcie wanted to return to good tradition, i.e. the construction of training and training aircraft.

When starting the construction of the PZL-130 SYSTEM, the design office was aware that, without cooperation with the future user, work could not be successful. Therefore, the army (MON) delegated a group of engineers to the design office, which included specialists from the Air Forces. Professor Tadeusz Sołtyk was invited as a consultant.

Chief designer - Andrzej Frydrychewicz. The constructor conducting the production of prototypes was MSc. Tomasz Wolf The silhouette and the interior of the aircraft were developed by a specialist in the field of stylization and ergonomics, Jacek Kończak, MA.

Among experienced constructors, with about 30 years of experience, we can mention mgr mgr inż. Eng .; Kazimierz Dąbrowski, Anatol Kossowski, Stanisław Malewski, Wojciech Międlar, Stanisław Janicki, Włodzimierz Grzęczewski, Andrzej Kardymowicz, Lech Jarzębiński, Tadeusz Jurkiewicz, Wojciech Puszcz, Norbert Maciejewski, Brunon Biernacki, Jan Tomaszewski, Stanisław Jabłoński.

Younger generators; Władysław Skorski, Tomasz Makowski, Marek Sadkowski, Ryszard Żuchowski, Artur Ostrowski, Witold Wiraszka, Lech Stangret, Tomasz Kubicki, Dariusz Pawełek, Jacek Kowalski, Stanisław Sztenzel, Roman Rogalski, Andrzej Mamona, Krzysztof Guerquin, Adam Kwieciński, Andrzej Denisiewicz, Janusz Rajchert , Jacek Janowski. Many of them were graduates of the Warsaw University of Technology from 1981–1983.

Starting work on the PZL-130 aircraft, they also counted on the future operation of the aircraft in organizations outside the army, mainly thinking of the PRL Aeroclub.

Concept PZL-130 Orlik.

By analyzing the concepts of the aircraft, the designers tried to create a propeller plane simulating a jet aircraft. The plane was supposed to have hang glider properties more similar to a jet plane than a classic piston plane. PZL-130 Orlik during take-off, landing and maneuvers in the air was to have the behavior of a jet aircraft. Some aerial figures made in the air were to be identical to those made on jet planes. The plane was to be better than similar structures already existing in the world.

The Orlik aircraft owes its pilot features to a small wing extension of 5.2, with a laminar profile and optimal convergence. The surface load was optimally selected. A value of 118 to 130 kg / m2 was assumed. The power load was set at 5.5 - 6.0 kg / kW. 
Even the adoption of new school-combat and combat machines for the equipment will not reduce the value of the Orlik aircraft, as it has the ability to change appropriate systems, build new installations, and assemble new instruments to suit changed needs. The cabin was designed so large that in the future there would be no problems with installing new devices. These modifications are made possible by the modular design of the cabin, especially the dashboard panels. Electrically adjustable seats and adjustable pedals provide comfort for pilots from 150 cm to 200 cm tall. Five-point aerobatic seat belts.

The first version of the Orlik aircraft under development was consistent with the TS-11 Iskra. Although nothing prevented the aircraft from being adapted to the next type. They even hoped for the possibility of switching the trained pilot from the Orlik aircraft to the combat aircraft right away, which from today's perspective was unreal.

The landing gear of the aircraft was carefully designed to allow high-speed landing and to forgive the mistakes of trained pilots.

The PZL-130 Orlik aircraft consists of about 2,100 parts, including an airframe of about 450 parts. To reduce costs, many of these parts come from existing and manufactured in Poland aircraft and helicopters. The number of these elements was over 520 parts. Some sources even reported 700 parts.

Attention was paid to the arrangement of system components and aggregates that require frequent maintenance so that mechanics do not interfere. It is known that mechanics also form an opinion about an airplane.

Basic assumptions of WTT (tactical and technical conditions).

A wing with a small elongation, with an extended range of usable inclination angles, with characteristics accustoming to controlling the power of the engine at the landing approach. Strong retractable undercarriage, allowing take-off and landing at higher forward and vertical speeds.

High-speed metal propeller with variable pitch, generating small gyroscopic moments. Design and ergonomics of the crew cabin made in the style of a military (combat) aircraft. The cabin as large as possible. The instrument panels of the modular structure have the possibility of easy reconstruction for the assembly of new instruments and avionics sets. The rear cab instructor has the ability to imitate various emergency situations.

PZL-130 Orlik in civil version.

From the beginning, the version of the Orlik aircraft for Aeroclubs was taken into account. Its airframe was to differ slightly from the military version. Wings with a larger span and at the same time greater elongation. The wing tips were to be changed. An engine with less power, but more economical. The aircraft was to be able to aerobatics and flights in difficult weather conditions. Of course, everything depended on the attitude of the Aero Club of the Polish People's Republic. The PZL-130 Orlik aircraft version for the Aero Club was not created.

PZL-130 in the state rank.

In the command-and-control economy of Poland, in order for any planned aircraft to build a prototype and fly it, it had to become a state. This involved financing. None of the Polish companies at that time had their own funds for projects. PZL-Warsaw-Okęcie's efforts to place the project in the central plan lasted from 1978 to 1981.

In 1981, the program codenamed "Subject" received the first funds. The offer design of the Orlik aircraft was made in 1979-1980. In the autumn of 1981, the technical design was started.

Construction of prototypes. 1982.

It began with the construction of a life-size aircraft model. It was ready in July 1982. The model was painted in protective colors to prove that the Orlik plane looks good in a "uniform". A fictitious board number 0252 was painted on the model. The use of a piston engine PZL-Franklin 6A-350-C1 with a power of 162 kW (220 HP) was envisaged, but it soon turned out that the engine power was too low and another drive had to be looked for.

Mockup of the Orlik aircraft. 1983. Photo of LAC
Mockup of the Orlik aircraft. 1983. Photo of LAC

The prototype series of PZL-130 aircraft consisted of four machines, No. 001, 002, 003, 004. The first prototype No. 001, as usually non-volatile, was intended for fatigue tests. Prototype No. 002 received a piston 9-cylinder Viennese M-14 Pm star engine with 243 kW (330 hp), with a three-blade adjustable propeller. The construction of the aircraft was completed on 1984-09-03.

The first flight of the PZL-130 Orlik aircraft. 1984.

On 1984-10-12, the first flight was made by the first flying prototype of the aircraft designated PZL-130 No. 002 registration SP-PCA. The pilot was the experimental pilot PZL-Okęcie Witold Łukomski. The day of October 12 was chosen especially because it was then celebrated as Polish Army Day.

PZL-130 Orlik No. 002 SP-PCA flight registration. 1984. Photo of LAC
PZL-130 Orlik No. 002 SP-PCA flight registration. 1984. Photo of LAC

On 1984-12-29, the third volatile prototype was flown as the second, i.e. PZL-130 No. 004 registration SP-PCC.

PZL-130 No. 004 registration of SP-PCC. 1985. Photo of LAC
PZL-130 No. 004 registration of SP-PCC. 1985. Photo of LAC

On 1985-01-12, for the first time a second flight prototype PZL-130 No. 003 SP-PCB registration performed.

PZL-130 No. 003 in the museum in Czyżyny. 2007. Photo by Karol Placha Hetman
PZL-130 No. 003 in the museum in Czyżyny. 2007. Photo by Karol Placha Hetman

After the first flights, the pilots said that the plane is suitable for initial training, i.e. for novices. But according to the designers, there was no need to use the PZL-130 aircraft for basic training, which is technically very developed. After all, the aircraft has a retractable landing gear, extensive equipment, and therefore elements unnecessary for a newcomer.

According to the creators of the training system, 1 - Koliber, 2 - Orlik, 3 - TS-11 Iskra or its more modern equivalent (works on the I-22 aircraft were underway at the time), a higher-class combat or civil aircraft (multi-engine).

At that time, the Orlik's deployment to service seemed undisturbed. No aircraft threatened the PZL-130 because it filled the gap. According to the designers, the Orlik aircraft was excellent for training aeroclub pilots who were going to devote themselves professionally to flying in civil aviation.

Presentation of the PZL-130 Orlik. 1984-1985.

At the end of 1984, the first photos of the new PZL-130 aircraft were demonstrated to the public by publishing them in the weekly Skrzydlata Polska and other colorful weeklies. In the 80's, the piano PZL-130 a lot and good. Success was eagerly presented, although the difficulties were carefully hidden, which was the rule at that time.

This large amount of information about the new aircraft is not surprising if we consider that it was supposed to become an export item. Already in 1985, the PZL-130 aircraft No. 004 SP-PCC was shown at the Le Bourget Aerospace Salon in Paris. The machine was demonstrated only at a static exhibition. The plane aroused great and kind interest.

Also in this 1985, aircraft PZL-130 No. 003 registration SP-PCB, in the so-called Chinese camouflage, was shown in China in Beijing at the military equipment exhibition.


In 1986, the Polish Army continued to consider the concept of a new training for military pilots. Even the concept of three-step pilot training has already been formed; this was connected with the demand for three types of aircraft: selection training (PZL M-26 Iskierka), basic (PZL-130 Orlik) and advanced (PZL I-22 Iryda). However, as it turned out, this was not the final concept, and its main disadvantage was the large number of types, and thus you did not achieve the basic goal of reducing costs.

In 1986, work was underway at PZL-Okęcie to modernize the PZL-130 aircraft. The main topics should be included; new piston and turboprop engines, new propellers, modified boxes by adding new tips and thus increasing the area and span to 9.0 m.

Work continued on using lightweight reclining seats in the cabin.

Of course, the new powertrain was given the most attention and energy. The 9-cylinder star piston engine Wiedieniejew M-14 Pm / AI-14 was definitely obsolete. It was used to propel Gawron, Wilga, and Jak-12 aircraft. The plant in Kalisz undertook to modernize this construction and developed a PZL K-8 AA engine with 210 kW (290 hp). A new propeller is also provided for the new engine.

But already at that time clear signals were coming from the army (MON) that the Orlik aircraft should be equipped with a turboprop engine.

In the second half of the 1980s, the Polish Army ordered a short series of PZL-130 Orlik with piston engines and PZL-Okęcie started their production.

The first two were given the numbers 005 and 006. The first one received the M-14 Pm / AI-14 engine and was flown on 1988-02-19. The second with the PZL-Kalisz K-8 AA engine made the first flight on 1988-03-19.

PZL-130 nb 005. Photo of LAC
PZL-130 nb 005. Photo of LAC

However, the Ministry of National Defense was not satisfied with these planes, especially the engines. In 1989, military tests of Orlik aircraft No. 002, 005, 006 were carried out. As a result, the Ministry of National Defense withdrew from the initial order of 25 copies and began the development of new WTT for turboprop aircraft.

Written by Karol Placha Hetman