|RWD 17W floatplane prototype|
|First flight||7 August 1937|
The aircraft was designed for an order of the LOPP paramilitary organization, as an interim trainer aircraft between primary trainer RWD 8 and single-seater aircraft, demanding higher skills, like the RWD 10. It was also fitted to aerobatics. The construction of the new plane was very similar to the RWD 8, but almost all parts were newly designed. Main visual difference were twin struts supporting wings, instead of V-struts, and two-part wing instead of three-part, without central section. The works started in 1936, and the main designer was Bronisław Żurakowski of the RWD bureau. The first prototype (registration SP-BMX) was flown in August 1937 in Warsaw. After state trials in 1937, it was accepted for production, and in 1938 a short series of RWD 17 was produced (23 serial RWD 17 were in the Polish registry).
In early 1938, a floatplane variant RWD 17W was designed, differing among others in a stronger radial engine Bramo Sh 14a 160 hp (120 kW) instead of a straight engine. It had interchangeable floats or land undercarriage. When on floats, a bigger tailfin, extending downwards was mounted. The prototype was flown with a land undercarriage in June 1938, then tested on floats. Next, 5 RWD 17Ws were ordered for the Polish Naval Aviation Squadron (MDLot) in Puck as trainers. They were built in 1939.
In early 1939 a new wing for the RWD 17 was developed, slightly longer, with thinner profile and narrowing wingtips. It gave better aerobatics capability. Because of problems with its counterpart PWS-35, the Polish Air Force got interested in the modified RWD 17 as a successor of the PWS-26 intermediate trainer. There were plans to order 50-120 aircraft, with a likely designation RWD 17bis, but they were not built due to outbreak of the war.
RWD 17 were used in the Polish civilian aviation - in the Polish Aero Club and an aviation school in Świdnik before the World War II. During the Invasion of Poland in September 1939, eight of them, including the prototype, were evacuated to Romania. Reportedly, 2 were evacuated to Latvia. One RWD 17 was used by the 56th Observation Escadre as a liaison plane, and it crashed on September 12.
Apart from the prototype RWD 17W, carrying civilian registration SP-BPB, 5 other RWD 17W floatplanes were produced. Two were commissioned with the Polish Navy just before the outbreak of the war, but they did not get to the Polish Naval Aviation Squadron. The prototype was kept camouflaged in a forest on Hel Peninsula during its siege. On September 30 the aircraft attempted to evacuate to Sweden, however due to engine trouble it crashed in the sea near the peninsula. (The crew was saved). It was the last flight of a Polish aircraft during the Polish September Campaign. Three other RWD 17W, being in a factory in Warsaw, with land undercarriage, were evacuated to Romania (nos. 311, 312, 314), while the remaining two (nos. 313 and 315) were used as liaison planes near Warsaw and destroyed thereafter.
In Romania RWD 17s were used until late 1940s. None returned to Poland after the war, and none have survived to today.
Mixed construction braced high-wing (parasol wing) monoplane, conventional in layout, single-engine, with open cockpits. The fuselage was made of a steel frame (Cr-Mo), covered with canvas on a wooden frame. Swept rectangular two-part wing, of wooden construction, covered with canvas and plywood in front, two-spar. The wing was supported by a central pyramid and twin struts. Wooden construction braced empennage, covered with plywood (stabilizers) and canvas (rudder and elevators). Crew of two, sitting in tandem, with twin controls and individual windshields. Conventional fixed landing gear, with a rear wheel, or twin floats (RWD 17W).
Engine in front with two-blade wooden propeller Szomański, of a fixed pitch. The RWD 17 had a 4-cylinder air-cooled inverted straight engine PZInż. Major 4 (a licence-built Walter Major 4) or a de Havilland Gipsy Major, 120 hp (89 kW) power and 130 hp (97 kW) take-off power. A 150 hp Cirrus Major was expected as an option for the future. The RWD 17W variant had a 7-cylinder radial engine Bramo Sh 14a, 160 hp (120 kW) take-off power. The fuel tank was in the fuselage with a capacity of 111 litres.
Specifications (RWD 17)
Data from Glass, A. (1977)
- Crew: Two (student and instructor)
- Length: 7.7 m (25 ft 3 in)
- Wingspan: 10.0 m (32 ft 10 in)
- Height: 2.45 m (8 ft)
- Wing area: 18.70 m² (201.2 ft²)
- Empty weight: 520 kg (1,144 lb)
- Loaded weight: 760 kg (1,672 lb)
- Useful load: 240-290 kg (lb)
- Max. takeoff weight: 810 kg (1,782 lb)
- Powerplant: 1 × PZInż. Major 4 4-cylinder air-cooled inverted straight engine, 130 hp (97 kW)
- Maximum speed: 195 km/h (121 mph)
- Cruise speed: 165 km/h (mph)
- Stall speed: 80 km/h (mph)
- Range: 680 km (422 miles)
- Service ceiling: 5,000 m (16,400 ft)
- Rate of climb: 4.5 m/s, 270 m/min (885 ft/min)
- Wing loading: 40.5 kg/m² (8.3 lb/ft²)
- Related development
- http://www.samoloty.ow.pl/str168.htm (Polish)
- Glass, Andrzej: "Polskie konstrukcje lotnicze 1893–1939" (Polish aviation constructions 1893–1939), WKiŁ, Warsaw 1977, p. 323-326 (Polish)
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