History Construction Tally

PZL I-22 Iryda. Part 3. 1985.

Kraków 2008-08-01

271b Section 1985-03-05

PZL I-22 Iryda

Poland

Combat training aircraft.

History PZL I-22 Iryda. Part 3.

PZL I-22 Iryda nr 1 AN 001-05 nb 105. 2017. Photo by Karol Placha Hetman
PZL I-22 Iryda nr 1 AN 001-05 nb 105. 2017. Photo by Karol Placha Hetman

Public presentation of I-22. 1986.

At the end of 1986, the authorities decided that the achievements to date in implementing the I-22 aircraft were so favorable that it was time to demonstrate the aircraft to the Polish Society. Of course, this was done in a controlled way. The first photos of the aircraft were presented in the specialist press in August 1986. "Skrzydlata Polska" magazine demonstrated many photos. In total, a whole series of photos of the nb 02 prototype were presented, but interestingly all photos of the plane standing on the ground and not a single one in flight.

On October 18, 1986, Polish Television in Program I nationwide in the technical magazine Militaria, Defense, Modernity, presented for the first time the I-22 nb 02 aircraft. The aircraft was shown on the ground and in flight. The program included, among others, dr inż. Alfred Baron - aircraft constructor, experimental pilot Ludwik Natkaniec from the Institute of Aviation. It was expressed positively about the machine, and it was particularly emphasized that both the plane and the engine are completely Polish constructions. Ejected armchair tests were also presented. Excerpts from this program were also shown on October 19, 1986 in the evening TV Daily.

On January 25, 1987, the first comprehensive article on the I-22 aircraft was published in the magazine Skrzydlata Polska. Among the many information, it was stated that the aircraft was undergoing flight tests, which were managed by Ing. Włodzimierz Stępień. The following T-T data are also provided; size; span 9.60 m, length 13.22 m, height 4.30 m, airfoil surface 19.92 m2, chassis base 4.90 m, main chassis wheel track 2.71 m, weight; empty plane 3 962 kg, max 7 493 kg, overload +8 g, -4 g, performance; max speed at 0 m 980 km / h, max number Ma 0.85, ceiling 12 800 m.

Plane crash PZL I-22 nb 02 (1 ANP 01-02). 1987.

In November 1986, the responsible persons decided that the I-22 nb 02 prototype was ready to start flutter testing. By mid-December 1986, 17 flights had been made. In the last flight the plane reached the device speed of 840 km / h. On December 15, 1986, the aircraft was demonstrated in Dęblin. After the Christmas and New Year break on January 20, 1987, flights resumed, and a week later they reached a speed of 874 km / h, which, given the altitude of the flight, actually gave a speed of 980 km / h.

On 30.01.1987, flight tests were conducted by military pilot pilot Maj. Jerzy Bachta. The first flight started at 13:11 and lasted 48 minutes. The major took off to the second flight on that day at 15:04. During it, the pilot made three accelerations to a speed of 855 km / h at an altitude of 2,500m, during which he fired rocket impulses according to specific settings to induce vibrations, which were registered by the appropriate apparatus. At the fourth acceleration to the same speed and firing of the impulses, there was a simultaneous spontaneous elastic deformation of the rear part of the hull and the resulting wedge angle of the horizontal stabilizer. The pilot concerned about the increasing force on the joystick reacted correctly. Just three seconds after firing the impulses, he reduced the engine speed to idle and tried to eliminate the increasing dive with the stick. But after another three seconds, the process of destroying the rudders of the aircraft began. The rudder-less aircraft rapidly deepened the dive with negative overload to -4 g. The pilot lost consciousness. The major only had 3 seconds to make the decision to fire himself. There was a few seconds of uncontrolled flight towards the ground with the gradual destruction of the rear fuselage structure, from a height of about 2,000 m to the ground. The tragic flight lasted over 21 minutes and ended in the death of the pilot and complete destruction of the prototype. The major probably made a mistake in the firing order of the pulsars. Certainly, the test team was heavily pressurized to speed up tests.

Up to the time of the PZL I-22 nb 02 disaster, it made 176 flights in a total of over 170 hours. The longest flight lasted 1 hour and 38 minutes. Maximum instrument speed of 874 km / h has been reached. Six pilots from IL, Mielec and the Ministry of National Defense took part in the plane tests.

As is done in all companies building new aircraft, this fact has been kept secret. It wasn't difficult at that time. All media belonged to the government. In retrospect, this fact, although the possibility of its occurrence has always been taken, gave a strong argument to Program opponents. One of the changes caused by the disaster was the change in the position of the main constructor. In December 1987, he became an engineer. W. Gnarowski.

The causes of the disaster were investigated by a civil-military commission. Although there was no unanimity in the details, the flutter was considered the cause of the disaster. It was also found beyond doubt that the rear of the hull was too weak. Its structure gradually lost strength due to vibrations, aerodynamic and acoustic loads. The rear hull was ordered to be strengthened, and flights were banned until then.

The plane crash caused obsolete the entire plan and was a real threat to the entire Program. Was the accident avoidable? Yes. But in those conditions it was unlikely. In addition to purely technical reasons, there were also non-technical reasons. The growing delay of the Program caused pressure from above. Progressing inflation caused financial problems. The plane flew in Radom, but the parameter readings took place in Warsaw. Analysis of the results and assessment of the condition of the structure was superficial.

Production of trial series of PZL I-22 aircraft started.

Beginning of preparations for the production of the trial series (1984), in the absence of the final form of the aircraft had to create numerous problems. Among other things, introducing changes to the elements already made. This had to additionally increase costs and extend the Program implementation instead of shortening it. It was also known in WSK PZL-Mielec and in OBR SK Mielec that the Ministry of National Defense would not easily withdraw from the Program of the plane he needed. However, the military did not want to buy unchecked planes. The lack of order from the Ministry of National Defense resulted in a lack of funding for the construction of the trial batch.

It was finally agreed that the first trial batch will have 5 machines and the contract will be concluded in the first quarter of 1986. The construction of these planes began in 1985, but the pace and status of implementation were rather symbolic and did not exceed even 17% of the work planned for this year. The issue of supplies from co-operators looked bad. Despite the orders placed, the components were not made. Czechoslovakia did not confirm the delivery of ejected seats, and CCCP did not confirm 50 items out of 165 ordered. Since CCCP requested orders 18 months earlier, it was already at that time that the order for components for the second trial batch was placed. Therefore, in WSK PZL-Mielec, it was rightly forecast that the last fifth aircraft of the first trial series will be built in 1988.

It should also be taken into account that at the end of 1986, the actual production capacity of WSK PZL-Mielec was only 6 aircraft per year. Additional investments were needed to increase this number, and it is difficult to make if the recipient has not placed orders. According to government plans, 30 I-22 aircraft should be built annually in Mielec. The required investments include the construction of 5 new facilities, modernization of 61 existing facilities and the purchase of machinery for an amount representing approximately 50% of the amount allocated to the facilities.

In 1986, a 60% plan to complete the aircraft of the first test series and preparation for the construction of 7 machines of the second test series ended.

1987 year.

The disaster of the prototype 1 ANP 01-02 nb 02 on 30.01.1987 had a significant impact on the further course of the Program. It posed a threat to the entire enterprise, especially if non-technical aspects were involved. The disaster also showed conclusively that the Program cannot be continued in this way. The results of the post-accident commission, previous static tests and conducted flights showed the need to modify the I-22 aircraft. The disaster itself caused a number of formal and legal actions aimed at avoiding the possibility of its repetition to a minimum. However, the rights and obligations of individual participants could not be precisely determined. Animosity over the division of responsibilities prevailing both between the departments and within them. The disaster in the first period did not affect the course of construction of subsequent prototypes and trial series. They went according to the adopted schedule. Static tests of the nb 01 prototype were still carried out at OBR SK Mielec for subsequent load cases. The nb 03 prototype underwent the beginning of 1987, a series of ground tests before the planned flight, followed by another nb 04 aircraft following a similar procedure.

After the disaster, the most important thing was to obtain the approval of the authorities to continue the work. At the meeting on April 7, 1987, at the MHiPM with the participation of all interested parties, the sense and need for further work were determined, including the launch of series production and the implementation of aircraft for operation. In accordance with the arrangements made at the time, a modified concept was to be developed and submitted for approval by the Council of Ministers. Thus, Iryda got the green light and it was unlikely that the highest authorities in Poland would suspend the Program. This was analogous to 1983, when the Program was threatened with interruption. Already in May 1987, the Minister of National Defense accepted the findings of the April meeting. A modified schedule was set up, adjustments to the scope of work, organization and financial resources were made. After all, one prototype has fallen, and the scope of research has expanded.

The new concept mentioned above was developed jointly by IL, OBR SK Mielec and WSK PZL-Mielec. The scope of changes aimed at increasing the strength and stiffness of the rear hull was determined. Increasing the strength of the wing in two areas on its lower surfaces. Introduction of a new horizontal tail with a new internal structure. Improving the stability and control of the aircraft. Plans and schedules were also agreed; refining prototypes, tests and trials as well as serial production in 1989-1995.

It was decided to increase the number of prototypes by two, so two planes from one trial batch received new serial numbers, so AN 001-01 and AN 001-02, became 1 ANP 01-05 and 1 ANP 01-06. Of the remaining three aircraft of the first batch No. AN 001-04, it was intended for additional static tests. This is quite common practice in aviation companies. Because in this way the number of first planes to hand over to the army dropped to 9 machines, it was decided to build a third trial series of 4 machines.

According to the new concept, work on planes was to look like this;

  • No. 1 ANP 01-01 nb 01 - continuation of static tests.
  • No. 1 ANP 01-03 nb 03 - resonance tests, flight tests from April 1988.
  • No. 1 ANP 01-04 nb 04 - ground tests since July 1987, flight tests since June 1988.
  • No. 1 ANP 01-05 nb 05 - completion of construction after refinement, ground tests since July 1988, followed by flight tests.
  • No. 1 ANP 01-06 nb 06 - construction of the aircraft after refinement, ground tests since October 1988, followed by flight tests.

All these changes allowed to minimize the risk of slip, which could be even two years. Her official acceptance took place in September 1987.

Already at the beginning of January 1987, starting from the nb 05 aircraft, wing reinforcements were introduced in the region of rib No. 9 (end of the integral tank). This change was dictated by the results of fatigue tests. In March 1987, the pyrotechnic crushing system of the cabin cover obtained its final form. The weapon control system (UWS) was made with great problems. Although the system worked correctly, with the exception of automatic bombardment, it was very unreliable, without which its usefulness will be negligible. He was admitted to ground tests, which will decide his fate.

From April 1987, changes resulting from the new concept were introduced. The first part of the hull that needed reinforcement went first. Technical documentation was issued in this respect at the end of 1987, and prototypes nb 03 and 04 were to be rebuilt by July 1987. The changes mainly consisted in applying additional stiffening sheets and an additional stiffening pad under the gutter in the right places. Because the chosen method was the cheapest and did not require additional equipment and was left permanently in the production process of subsequent machines.

The fuselage of the nb 05 aircraft was modernized to November 1987, the next one to 06 January to 1988.

At the end of April 1987, the design documentation of the second new version of the horizontal tail with a negative rise of 6 degrees was completed. Its geometry did not differ from the one with which the nb 02 aircraft flew. The changes concerned the internal structure in terms of reducing noise caused by exhaust gases from the engine. Detailed measurements of control system vibration and acoustic loads on the rear of the fuselage were carried out on the NB 03 aircraft in May 1987. The results became the basis for further changes. At the beginning of August 1987, the fourth and, as it turned out, last modification of the horizontal tail was made. The change was based on a different division of rudders and ballasts while maintaining all other dimensions. Rudder height reduced from 41% to the chord of the tail to 30%. Three new sets of tailings were built, the first of which was used for endurance tests, and the other for nb 03, 04 aircraft.

Subsequent analyzes of blows and flights performed on the aircraft nb 02 (until the disaster) have shown that it is also necessary to change the wedge angle of the wing relative to the fuselage from the existing 1.5 degrees to 0 degrees. This required replacement of the wing fastening fittings and fairings at the wing-fuselage transition. Relevant documentation was released in June 1987. Changes were to be made before resuming flights. Fortunately, these changes did not require reworking of the wing itself.

In addition to the aircraft modifications themselves, preparations were also made to resume flight testing. The change in tail completed the most important stage of modernization affecting the flight properties of the aircraft. However, this did not mean the end of any modifications. In June 1987, the prototype 1 ANP 01-03 nb 03 replaced the main wheels with modified ones, the execution of which began at the end of 1985. Originally, the chassis was already wanted to be tested on the NB 02 prototype. By the way, the NB 03 was the first to receive an anti-slip ABS system. Originally, there was no plan for installing this system, but problems with adjusting the braking force, which once led to tire abrasion during the roll-out.

Prototype 1 ANP 01-03 nb 03, after the catastrophe of the first volatile unit, was heavily loaded with modernizations. Time was short, as planned in December 1987, it was to be transferred to resonance and ground tests, and flown in mid-April 1988. By contrast, prototypes nb 05 and nb 06 were at the end of 1987, advanced in 85%, and another three in 80%.

In addition to the modernization of the aircraft itself, organizational changes were underway resulting from the change of the main contractor of the Program (from IL to WSK PZL Mielec). At the beginning of May 1987, an order was issued establishing a commission for the final settlement of contract 10 / KOR / 80 between OBR SK Mielec and IL for the production of prototypes. For various reasons, the commission was established only at the end of 1987, and performed its task in December 1987.

After the prototype disaster, a lot of questions arose as to the proper supervision and safety of such projects. From the legal point of view, the situation seemed clear, as the Polish provisions on the "R&D and W" work did not allow for the overlap of individual stages, which was, however, a fact that was knowingly allowed. The role of the PW (military representations) located at each defense-related plant was also significant. In normal production they played the role of military quality control. Because there were no strict regulations determining their tasks, it was a common pattern that each document was initialed by them, thanks to which the Ministry of National Defense had an insight into the current situation. This was also the case with Program I-22 and, of course, flight tests of the nb 02 aircraft. In this situation, on 18.09.1987, the Head of Aeronautical Technology of the Ministry of National Defense issued an order that PW continued to sign relevant documents, but with the annotation "checked for formalities -prawnym. " However, this was not a solution to the problem, as the military side could still block the activities without signing the documents, and without their signature they were formally invalid. In fact, with this approach, the military side washed their hands in a failure situation.

In addition to the modernization of the aircraft itself, organizational changes were underway resulting from the change of the main contractor of the Program (from IL to WSK PZL Mielec). At the beginning of May 1987, an order was issued establishing a commission for the final settlement of contract 10 / KOR / 80 between OBR SK Mielec and IL for the production of prototypes. For various reasons, the commission was established only at the end of 1987, and performed its task in December 1987.

After the prototype disaster, a lot of questions arose as to the proper supervision and safety of such projects. From the legal point of view, the situation seemed clear, as the Polish provisions on the „B + R and W" work did not allow for the overlap of individual stages, which was, however, a fact that was knowingly allowed. The role of the PW (military representations) located at each defense-related plant was also significant. In normal production they played the role of military quality control. Because there were no strict regulations determining their tasks, it was a common pattern that each document was initialed by them, thanks to which the Ministry of National Defense had an insight into the current situation. This was also the case with Program I-22 and, of course, flight tests of the nb 02 aircraft. In this situation, on 18.09.1987, the Head of Aeronautical Technology of the Ministry of National Defense issued an order that PW continued to sign relevant documents, but with the annotation "checked for formalities -prawnym. " However, this was not a solution to the problem, as the military side could still block the activities without signing the documents, and without their signature they were formally invalid. In fact, with this approach, the military side washed their hands in a failure situation.

1988 year.

Despite the pressure from above to speed up the work, the main designer sought to place as many modifications as possible on the nb 03 aircraft. There were two arguments. It is better to do it before flights than to stop them afterwards. The second is for security reasons. The argument was not strong. Nobody wanted another disaster. In February 1988, a document was created on the subject, principles of ground-based tests and flight tests. Everyone accepted him and allowed him to restrain pressure from above to accelerate research. In addition, a decision was made to perform another three complete wings to make up for the lack of one and to allocate the remaining for additional tests.

In the second half of April 1988, the nb 03 aircraft was transferred to the flight test department, where preparations for the flight began. Here it was stated that the rudders had not obtained adequate strength. (Planned wings with 30% chord not yet completed). Despite this, in June 1988 taxiing and take-offs began. The aircraft was thoroughly inspected before the first flight. The altitude rudders underwent a minor renovation.

The first flight of the prototype 1 ANP 01-03 nb 03 took place on June 26, 1988, and at its controls was the pilot-experimental engineer Eng. Henryk Bronowicki from WSK PZL-Mielec. The flight lasted 43 minutes.

Experimental pilot Mr. Henryk Bronowicki. Photo of LAC
Experimental pilot Mr. Henryk Bronowicki. Photo of LAC

All in all, the flight of nb 03 was carried out only with a delay of two months. But the next ones had even more slip. This was due to the growing crisis in the country, but also catastrophically delayed delivery of components from CCCP.

The intensity of subsequent flights on the nb 03 plane was not less than the one with which the nb 02 plane flew, but now there was no rush. However, the lack of a target tail (height controls) limited the scope of testing. The research conducted in flight confirmed that there are no grounds for classic design and classic materials on I-22. Acoustic fatigue systematically devastates it. Acoustic tests of K-15 engines have already shown that the noise level will increase by 23%, to 160 dB, and with noise of 165 dB, no classic design will last long. The solution is a sandwich or composite construction. Therefore, work was started on a partially interleaved tail with a beehive filler. The first such set was to be made in April 1988.

In mid-October 1988, the first stage of flight tests was completed. 17 flights were made during 16 hours and 59 minutes. The aircraft was handed over to the factory to mount the "30%" tail and make necessary corrections. Among other things, the flaps from the hull side were shortened by 130 mm, which improved the flow of the hull with the flaps released and reduced the noise. The inflow before vertical tail was also increased to improve directional stability. A little later, the ailerons and rudder received an additional third support.

The next stage of flight tests of I-22 aircraft No. 1 ANP 01-03 nb 03.

From mid-December 1988, the nb 03 aircraft began to prepare for the second stage of flight tests, but already as a civilian aircraft. This was due to a change in regulations. They said, among other things, that until the official handover to the army, all aircraft produced in Poland are the property of the manufacturer, i.e. they are civil and are entered in the register and carry civil registration. Following this, aircraft 1 ANP 01-03 nb 03, got rid of tactical number 03 and received registration SP-PWB. As a sign that he was a prototype, his vertical tail was painted orange.

By the end of 1988, the control system could not be refined, mainly at the logic block, i.e. the analog computer and power block. His absence did not stop flights on the SP-PWB, but on the next ones because they were to carry out armament tests.

PZL I-22 No. 1 ANP 01-03 registration of SP-PWB in Mielec in 1989. Photo of LAC
PZL I-22 No. 1 ANP 01-03 registration of SP-PWB in Mielec in 1989. Photo of LAC

Airplane 1 ANP 01-03 registration of SP-PWB in Mielec in 1989. The second volatile prototype. The plane has orange vertical tailpipe painted to indicate that it is a prototype. Additional precision Pitot tube visible in the front. The rear cabin has a covered glazing because control and measuring equipment has been placed there.

Some problems occurred with organic glass for the cabin covers. Soviet glass was not suitable for deep forming. That is why they were replaced with organic glass by the Swiss company MECAPLEX. The forming of all glass for cabin windows was carried out in Switzerland, but on Polish tooling. The design of the windshield windscreen was a success. It was four-layer, glued and electrically heated. Heating was provided by a conductive layer sprayed onto the surface. Patent developed with the participation of AGH in Krakow. HSO Sandomierz became the glazing manufacturer.

1989 year.

In accordance with contract 114 / EU / 87 at the beginning of 1989, work commenced involving the construction of 1 ANP 01-05 K-15 engines on the aircraft.

At the beginning of January 1989, a new tail was mounted on the aircraft nb 04. In accordance with the new regulations, he also received a new registration for SP-PWC and in February 1989, he was transferred to ground tests. This aircraft was the first fully completed machine. Also with a fully functional UWS weapon control system.

The SP-PWB prototype resumed flights on November 3, 1989. Already the first flight proved the correctness of changing the horizontal tail to "30%" and its greater durability. The acquired knowledge and experience were effective. There were still large gradients of force on the joystick. The ideal solution would be hydraulic amplifiers, but due to time and finance only a mass compensator in the longitudinal channel was used, which solved the problem from poverty.

I-22 No. 1 ANP 01-03 nb 03 SP-PWB registration in a research flight in 1989. Photo of LAC
I-22 No. 1 ANP 01-03 nb 03 SP-PWB registration in a research flight in 1989. Photo of LAC

In April 1989, the final assembly of the NB 05 aircraft, which received the SP-PWD registration, was completed.

On May 10, 1989, the second stage of SP-PWB (03) flights was completed. To date, the aircraft has made 45 flights in 48 hours and 10 minutes. Now the aircraft has been submitted for a planned review.

On 13.05.1989, SP-PWC (04) took off for the first flight, which was successful, without faults and lasted 45 minutes. For example, the first flights of this aircraft carried out a dangerous start-up of a dead engine in flight, which was completed successfully. Suspended flights were also started. At first, a free and pyrotechnic drop was made on the ground. On July 15, 1989, a spectacular pyrotechnic drop of empty fuel tanks was carried out on a grid just above the ground. The pyrotechnic discharge turned out to be too strong. An interesting test of aircraft inertia forces was also carried out. The aircraft was suspended under a special stand on three ropes anchored at the front wing fittings and behind the rear handle for hanging under the helicopter. The aircraft was rocked and the dynamic properties of the aircraft were determined based on its behavior.

By mid-August 1989, the SP-PWC (04) had made 48 flights in 33 hours and 14 minutes.

From mid-July 1989, the SP-PWB (03) aircraft returned to flight tests, which had a mass compensator installed in the longitudinal control channel. The results were promising, but many flights and system adjustments had to be made by the finish. From July 1989 to the end of 1989, the aircraft made 42 flights in 44 hours and 42 minutes.

It was far to the end of flight tests, but in mid-1989 it was decided to prepare I-22 for state qualifying tests. It was noted, however, that prior to the qualifying tests the previous test results will be properly documented. According to the findings, the number 06 was selected for qualifying tests, which was not yet ready. One should know that it had to be a completely ready plane, which was a model of serial machines.

On October 22, 1989, SP-PWD (05) took off for the first flight, which by the end of 1989, had completed 15 flights in 6 hours and 15 minutes.

I-22 No. 1 ANP 01-05 nb 05 registration of SP-PWD at the airport in Mielec 1990–1991. Photo of LAC
I-22 No. 1 ANP 01-05 nb 05 registration of SP-PWD at the airport in Mielec 1990–1991. Photo of LAC

1990 year.

Iryda's I-22 Program entered a new post-communist era, which was significantly advanced, although according to the communist authorities, the aircraft should have been in service for several years, and was therefore "very delayed." The socialist career of I-22 closes with four prototypes that made a total of 326 flights in 303 hours. Theoretically, the basic version of the I-22 was only waiting to complete the tests and document the compliance of the aircraft with regulations and requirements, and serial production. Socio-political changes in Poland after the 1989 elections also had to affect the entire Combat-Training Program.

The SP-PWB (03) aircraft made two more flights in January 1990 and after reaching 100 hours of flight was submitted for verification.

Also the SP-PWD (05) aircraft was directed to mount triple-rudders and ailerons.

In August 1990, the Ministry of National Defense approved further new revised WTT requirements for the I-22 aircraft in the basic version. The qualification tests carried out in 1990 were successful and, therefore, in December 1990, the Qualification Committee appointed by the Minister of National Defense and the Minister of Industry and Trade, approved the admission of I-22 for implementation in military aviation. We will add that this was the fifth Commission through which the I-22 Program passed successfully, and we must add the Accident Committee, an assessment issued by the Special Equipment Activation Office and the assessment of the Supreme Audit Office. All colleges supported the continuation of the Program.

The opinion of the Qualification Committee gave rise to the fact that at the beginning of 1991, the Ministry of National Defense placed orders for 12 machines of the trial series in the version with K-5 engines (SO-3 W 22). At the same time, options were submitted for the next series of aircraft, which should already be equipped with a new power unit, changed avionics and improved aerodynamics.

I must admit that at that time the Program got accelerated and its future was clear. Its purpose was specified, which was defined as a subsonic aircraft intended for training and training of military pilots in piloting, navigation, conducting air combat, conducting battlefield recognition and attacking ground and surface targets. Training on this aircraft is a transition stage to supersonic fighter and assault fighter planes. The aircraft has the ability to take almost all types of armaments used in Poland. It allows the fulfillment of the then doctrine, requiring the active participation of training and training aircraft in a possible armed conflict. The lack of modern avionics equipment in the form of radar, automatic navigation or laser sights or possibly operating in the infrared was explained by the need to keep costs low. And so, each of the pilots will be trained on supersonic combat aircraft equipped with these devices.

At the beginning of the 1990s, Poland opened a chance to break with the only possible supplier of weapons from the East. But we were aware that Western technology is very expensive for us, and Polish industry is not able to build a class fighter, for example Mirage 2000. We were hoping to re-equip two, maybe three regiments in Western production fighters, and the rest was based on native production. There were 200 training and combat machines.

1991 year.

Due to the positive result of the aircraft tests, in early 1991, the Ministry of National Defense placed an order for 12 machines of the trial series with PZL K-5 engines (SO-3 W 22). The goal was to introduce the nominal number of aircraft into the training as soon as possible, with the proviso that subsequent series should be better, i.e. at least close to the basic reinforced version. All stakeholders (MON, IL, WSK PZL-Mielec, OBR SK Mielec) agreed that work should be continued towards drive replacement, avionics and airframe aerodynamics improvement.

On 4.07.1991, the fifth volatile prototype 1 ANP 01-06 (06) SP-PWE took to the air. It was powered by K-5 engines. The plane was to serve as a benchmark for serial production. During the first air show in Poznan in Poland, called Air Show 91, in August 1991, aircraft 1 ANP 01-06 (06) registration SP-PWE, was publicly demonstrated.

I-22 No. 1 ANP 01-06 registration of SP-PWE in camouflage was to be a benchmark for serial production. Photo of LAC
I-22 No. 1 ANP 01-06 registration of SP-PWE in camouflage was to be a benchmark for serial production. Photo of LAC

I-22 No. 1 ANP 01-06 registration of SP-PWE in camouflage was to be a benchmark for serial production. In this photo the plane is still without chessboard. Mielec 1991. By 1991, the construction of six I-22 aircraft was completed.

I-22 M-91. 1992 year.

Joint Committee of the Ministry of National Defense and Ministry of Economy and National Heritage approved the prototype 1 ANP 01-06 (1 AN 001-02) registration of SP-PWE as a model for serial production of a training and training aircraft meeting the WTT conditions for an airframe with Kashub-3 W 22 (K-5) engines , within 2 x 1,080 kG. The aircraft was designated I-22 M-91.

However, the Ministry of National Defense postulated the replacement of K-5 engines as soon as possible with K-15 engines, which eventually achieved 2 x 1 472 kG thrust. At that time, the purchase of French SNECMA Larzac 04-C20 engines with a 2 x 1,420 kG thrust was also seriously considered, but more on that below.

The first of 12 aircraft of the first series for the army was flown on May 5, 1992. The aircraft was designated AN 001-03 nb 103. In June 1992, another AN 001-04 nb 104 was flown.

PZL I-22 in Dęblinie. 1992 year.

Exactly on October 24, 1992, the ceremony of symbolic handing over of the first two copies to the army for operation at the Higher Officers' Aviation School in Dęblin took place. Both aircraft were on the record of the 58th Air School Regiment in Dęblin. A few weeks later a third aircraft was delivered. At that time, there were three I-22 M-91 nb 103, 104, 105 aircraft in Dęblin.

Proper flight training began in 1993, although it was limited training, because the Ministry of National Defense did not purchase any weapons beams, launchers, missiles, even suspended fuel tanks for these aircraft. Training in shooting was carried out only with the use of on-board cannons. The first pilots who sat at the controls of I-22 were; Major Pilot Waldemar Januszewski, Capt. pil dr inż. Mirosław Kowalski, T. Chudzik, S. Gołas. These pilots repeatedly positively spoke about the flight properties of the aircraft and "when Iryda is equipped as it was said, it will be possible to fly on it for many years." After over a year, some suspended armaments were delivered to Dęblin and a wider range of training could be carried out.

It should be mentioned that the army was rightly not satisfied with these planes. Simple and outdated avionics equipment did not allow the full use of the possibilities of a modern airframe. And this lack of engine power. The equipment included basic pilot and navigation instruments, engine control, VHF / UHF radio station RS 6113, ARK-15M radio compass, RW-5 radio altimeter, IFF SRO-2 M identification system, radio navigation, guidance and landing system (MRP-66 or ORS- 2 M, SOD-57 M), simple analog UWS weapon system with electromechanical gyroscope sight ASP-PFD-I 22 (adopted with MiG-21 MF), radiation warning system SPO-10, photocarabiner S-13-100 or interchangeably SSz-45-1-100-05 camera. As you can see, most of the instruments are a Soviet technique from the 70s.

I-22 M-91 nb 103 and 105 aircraft in Dęblin. Photo of LAC
I-22 M-91 nb 103 and 105 aircraft in Dęblin. Photo of LAC

I-22 M-91 aircraft during group take-off. 1993 year. Photo of LAC
I-22 M-91 aircraft during group take-off. 1993 year. Photo of LAC

M-93. 1992 year.

The situation forced in mid-1992 to define new WTT conditions for the target equipment for the PZL-130 Orlik basic training aircraft and the PZL I-22 Iryda combat training aircraft. It was a very important step towards setting a new modern way of training future combat pilots. In mid-1992, the Ministry of National Defense unofficially announced that it intended to purchase 42 pieces of I-22 aircraft, 4-6 units per year from 1994 to 2002, but with new equipment.

The next two serial aircraft I-22 M-91 nb 106 and 107 were also powered by K-5 engines, which is why the army was slow to collect them. At that time, IL and OBR SK Mielec presented a package of changes that were intended to be made on serial I-22. The basis was the replacement of engines for K-15 and modern avionics. The aircraft thus changed was given the designation M-92, which was later changed to M-93. The numbers symbolized years. New engines required small, but nonetheless changes in airframes. Engine beds and their covers were changed. A new engine control system has been added and the installation for new equipment has been improved. Once again, the wing was strengthened in the history of the Program. Modified front wheel control system. A new main wheel ABS has been introduced. The carrying capacity of the armament increased to 1,800 kg. The biggest changes concerned the equipment. A new active response system has been installed. New RWL-750 radio altimeter.

The first copy of M-93 (M-92) with number 1 ANP 01-05 registration SP-PWD, was equipped with new K-15 engines, new beds, improved avionics equipment and new painting. The re-flight of the changed aircraft was carried out on December 22, 1992, and its public presentation took place in January 1993 in Dęblin. But at that time, the aircraft did not yet have a set of new avionics.

I-22 No. 1 ANP 01-05 registration of SP-PWD with new K-15 engines, improved avionics and new painting. Photo of LAC
I-22 No. 1 ANP 01-05 registration of SP-PWD with new K-15 engines, improved avionics and new painting. Photo of LAC

Written by Karol Placha Hetman