First tests for Polish aviation

The Institute of Aviation Technical Research was set up to carry out studies, tests and scientific as well as technical experiments. All of this lead towards progress and development of aviation technology in the first years after Poland had regained its sovereignty.

IATR conducted tests on aircraft and balloons, engines, accessories and equipment, aviation armament, aerospace materials, fuels and lubricants. Particular emphasis was placed on the development of airframes and engines tests. In order to fulfill these tasks following sections were separated – airframe station, dealing with particular airframe static tests and tests in flight, motor station, weapon station, radio equipment station, flight instruments station, process station and aero-medical station.

The first prototype, which was authorized by IATR for the flight and operation, was a reconnaissance plane (observation and reconnaissance) WZ-X designed by engineer Władysław Zalewski, built in the Central Aviation Workshops in the number of four copies and operated in Szkoła Orląt in Dęblin to mid thirties of the twentieth century.

Narodowe Archiwum Cyfrowe PIC_1-G-1641
Silhouette of an aircraft CWL WZ-X designed by Władysław Zalewski (standing in the foreground). Photo credit: National Digital Archives.

Requirements for civil and military aircraft were developed in IATR. Decision to develop the aircraft depended on the above requirements which had to be evaluated by testing at the Institute. After the prototypes had been built, the Institute conducted static tests (in the factory) and flight tests.

Soon after the formation of IATR it turned out that the licenses that were purchased in France and later in Czechoslovakia, will not provide Polish Air Force military equipment with modern equipment, and that in this situation strong state-owned factories of an appropriate production potential, enabling the development of their own avant-garde structure, should do it. Licenses should mainly target the implementation of modern technological methods.

A program of development of aviation technology and aviation industry was therefore introduced. This program was developed by professors of Warsaw University of Technology: Czesław Witoszyński, Gustaw Mokrzycki and Maksymilian T. Huber involving IATR engineers. The important share in this program had also the chief of the Fourth Department of Air Navigation, later the Department of Aeronautics of the Ministry of Defense, colonel. L. Rayski, appointed to this position in 1926. As a result of the development of this program, the State Aviation Works were established in Warsaw in 1928. A licensed French fighter Wibault 70C1 was purchased despite of suboptimal flight performance and properties, but which characterized with modern technology (metal monocoque construction).

Wibault 70C1_samolotypolskie_pl
Fighter plane Wibault 70C1 of Polish Air Force. Source:

The aviation industry began to grow quickly. New and modern, for those times aerospace structures were built (Puławski fighter aircraft). Initially, this development does not go hand in hand with the development of research facilities.

Soon, however, this would change…

Read more about the beginnings of the Institute of Aviation in our next article “Gustaw A. Mokrzycki – a visionary”.


Fragment of the publication: „80 lat Instytutu Lotnictwa” [80 years of the Institute of Aviation] – Jerzy Grzegorzewski and Tadeusz Królikiewicz, Scientific Library of the Institute of Aviation, Warsaw 2006, p. 9-10.


  1. Silhouette of an aircraft CWL WZ-X designed by Władysław Zalewski (standing in the foreground). Photo credit: National Digital Archives.
  2. Fighter plane Wibault 70C1 of Polish Air Force. Source: