Gustaw A. Mokrzycki – a visionary

Professor Gustaw Mokrzycki took the management of the Institute of Aviation Technical Research at the end of 1929. Although he directed the Institute briefly, about two years, but during this period the level of the institution was significantly raised.

Gustaw Andrzej Mokrzycki. (Źródło: Aero Technika Lotnicza nr 3/1993). Za:
Gustaw Andrzej Mokrzycki. (Photo credit: Aero Technika Lotnicza nr 3/1993). Source:

Gustaw Andrzej Mokrzycki (1894-1992) was an expert in aircraft construction and organization of aviation production. In 1911 he began studying at the Technical University of Lvov. During World War I he was a lieutenant observer in the Austrian army. After the war, in 1918-1919, he was at the Polish Air Force as a technical officer in the Air Group III. Seconded to graduate his studies in engineering in 1919. In 1924, he was appointed director of the Wielkopolska Aircraft Workshop “Samolot”. Simultaneously he worked as a lecturer in Poznań and since 1927 at the Warsaw University of Technology (as an associate professor, and since 1937 – a full professor). Since January 1, 1930 he was promoted to director of IATR, who crucially contributed to the organizational changes in the Institute and to its development. Gustaw Mokrzycki had set directions for the Institute development. He wrote then:

The Institute has to become a research center, which will be a hotbed of valuable creative works and inventions. It must be in the future a technical brain of Polish aviation, preparing materials for the aviation of tomorrow. As Poland is not as rich as the western countries it must therefore accept the fact that the quantity will do less work, but the quality must be necessarily paralled to the West [ … ] 

The main work of the Institute must be focused on preparing for the aviation of tomorrow. When it comes to the national defense, the same when aviation is not enough if it is not based on a powerful aviation industry, so there is no question of the efficient functioning of the industry, as long as it does not have the technical and scientific support of the high-performing institutes [ … ] 

In addition, the Institute must resolve the issues posed by the current Department of Aeronautics of the Ministry of Military Affairs, Department of Civil Aviation of the Ministry of Communications, the industry and the various organisms in air operation. The work of IATR must be such that the tasks of everyday life are dealt with in a quick, clear and decisive way and must have its high scientific and technical value, as only interested will return to the Institute with complete confidence, and not under official reasons [ …] 

The Institute is to give only help for the industry, it cannot lead parallel construction work [ … ] The effort of the Institute should go toward providing industry such an aid [ … ] to help  in the  new one constructions [ … ] so that we can completely match to the West [ … ] 

To implement these plans we need the following factors:

  • A longer transition time (needed for the expansion and development) [ … ]
  • Proper facilities of the Institute [ … ]
  • Accordingly high annual budget for the current work [ … ]
  • Appropriate organizational structure [ … ]
  • Responsible employees. 
Inż. Gustaw Mokrzycki (pierwszy od lewej) oraz inż. pil. Michał Bohatyrew, dyr. Kwaśniewski i dyr. inż. Piotr Tułacz. (Źródło: Lotnik nr 4-5/1925). Za:
Engineer Gustaw Mokrzycki (first from the left) and engineer pilot Michał Bohatyrew, director Kwaśniewski and director engineer Piotr Tułacz. (Photo credit: Lotnik nr 4-5/1925). Source:

Professor Mokrzycki stepped down as head of IATR in 1931. His outlined program for the development of the Institute was continued in parallel with the development of the aviation industry and the construction works. The management of IATR after professor Gustaw Mokrzycki was succeeded by lieutenant colonel observer Józef Zajączkowski and next by lieutenant colonel enginner Aleksander Brzazgacz.

Gustaw Andrzej Mokrzycki. Źródło:
Gustaw Andrzej Mokrzycki. Photo credit:

After the outbreak of the war, Gustaw Mokrzycki was evacuated to France and in the Polish Air Force (as a captain) he organized the Polish education. After the defeat of France he escaped to the UK and there began work at the Training Centre of the PAF, but soon he  moved to Canada where for the aviation aerospace industry he dealt with the aircraft automatic control. Then from 1944 he worked successively in the American aerospace industry and in the scientific research units (Convair, Ryan, USAF Flight Test Centrex North American, Northrop Space Laboratory) as a specialist in automating measurements in flight, stability and aircraft automatic control and unmanned flying objects. He was a well-known popularizer of aviation, the author of many books in the field of aviation, a member of numerous scientific societies. After retiring in 1964 he worked as a consultant in the aviation and aerospace industry. In 1949 he became an American citizen. He died in 1992. His ashes were laid to Rakowicki Cemetery in Kraków.

Read more about the beginnings of the Institute of Aviation in our next article “From Mokotów to Okecie “.


Fragment of the publication: “80 years of the Institute of Aviation” – Jerzy Grzegorzewski and Tadeusz Królikiewicz, Scientific Library of the Institute of Aviation, Warsaw 2006, pp. 10-13.


  1. Gustaw Andrzej Mokrzycki. Photo credit: Aero Technika Lotnicza nr 3/1993. Source:
  2. Gustaw Andrzej Mokrzycki. Photo credit: