Allstar SZD-59

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SZD 59 Acro
PZL Bielsko SZD-59 Acro.jpg
Role Club Class and aerobatic glider
National origin Poland
Manufacturer Allstar PZL Glider Sp.z o.o.
Designer Jan Knapik[1]
First flight 9 September 1991[1]
Number built 2 prototypes and 23 or more serial ones[1]
Developed from PZL Bielsko SZD-48-3 Jantar 3

The SZD-59 Acro is a single-seat glass composite glider for aerobatics and cross-country flying by PZL Allstar of Bielsko-Biala, Poland.[2][3][4]

The SZD-59 can be flown with a 13.2m span or a 15.0m span. Attaching or detaching the wing-tips takes only a few minutes.[1][3] With 15m wing-tips it is a competitive Club Class glider, while it is a competitive aerobatic glider in the 13.2m configuration.[4]

Design and certification[edit]

The SZD-59 Acro was derived from the SZD-48-3 Jantar Standard 3[2] in 1990-91 mainly by Jan Knapik.[1][4] The fuselage is only a slightly modified version of the one used in the Jantar Standard 3. However, the T-tail has been replaced by a cross-tail with larger rudder and the elevator of the SZD-42-2 Jantar 2.[4]

The design life is 15,000 hours, though at present it is approved for only 4,000 hours of operation.[2][3] In 15m configuration, the SZD-59 is approved in the utility category of JAR 22 (sailplanes) of the Joint Aviation Authorities, and in the 13.2m configuration it is approved according to the aerobatics category of JAR 22.[1][5]


The prototype was first demonstrated during the 1991 FAI World Glider Aerobatic Championships in Zielona Góra. Twelve Acros were built by PZL-Bielsko until the production stopped in 1996 due to economic problems.[4] Allstar PZL Glider Sp. z o.o. in Bielsko-Biala (Poland)[3] restarted production of the SZD-59 Acros in 2004.[4] Currently, it is the only unlimited glider in serial production.[4]


With a handicap factor of 100, according to the 2008 handicap list of the Deutscher Aero Club e.V.,[6] the SZD-59 in 15m-configuration is a typical Club Class glider. With 15m wing-tips with or without winglets glide performance can be enhanced by increasing its wing loading with up to 150 litres of water ballast,[3] but water ballast is not allowed in the 13.2m configuration.[7]


In the 13.2m configuration, the SZD-59 is certified for unlimited aerobatics,[3] whereas with the 15m wing-tips only basic aerobatic maneuvers (looping, turn, chandelle, spin) are permitted.[7]

While international aerobatic championships in the unlimited category are dominated by Swift S-1 and MDM-1 Fox,[8] pilots have competed successfully with SZD-59 Acros in national and regional championships.[4] Recently, Wolfgang Kasper placed 4th in the German Nationals 2008.[9]

Specifications in utility configuration[edit]

Data from ,[3] maximum and maneuver speed according to [5]

General characteristics

  • Crew: One
  • Length: 6.85 m (22 ft 5.69 in)
  • Wingspan: 15.00 m (49 ft 2.55 in)
  • Height: 1.50 m (4 ft 11.06 in)
  • Wing area: 10.66 m2 (114.74 ft2)
  • Aspect ratio: 21.01
  • Empty weight: 270 kg (595.24 lb)
  • Gross weight: 540 kg (1190.48 lb)


  • Maximum speed: 265 km/h (164.67 mph)
  • Stall speed: 82* km/h (50.95 mph)
  • G limits: +5.3 / -2.65 [10]
  • Maximum glide ratio: 40 at 124 km/h*
  • Rate of sink: 0.77** m/s (151.57 ft/min)


  • Maneuver speed: 200 km/h
  • water ballast: 150l
  • wing loading range: 31.00-50.70 kg/m2

* at 540 kg
** at 97 km/h

Specifications in aerobatic configuration[edit]

SZD 59 Acro (prototype in 13.2m configuration)

Data from ,[3] maximum and maneuver speed according to [5]

General characteristics

  • Crew: One
  • Length: 6.85 m (22 ft 5.69 in)
  • Wingspan: 13.20 m (43 ft 3.69 in)
  • Height: 1.50 m (4 ft 11.06 in)
  • Wing area: 9.80 m2 (105.49 ft2)
  • Aspect ratio: 17.80
  • Empty weight: 265 kg (585.22 lb)
  • Gross weight: 380 kg (837.75 lb)


  • Maximum speed: 285 km/h (177.10 mph)
  • Stall speed: 74* km/h (45.98 mph)
  • G limits: +7.00 / -5.00
  • Maximum glide ratio: 36 at 115 km/h
  • Rate of sink: 0.70** m/s (137.80 ft/min)


  • Maneuver speed: 200 km/h
  • water ballast: 0l
  • wing loading range: 33.7-38.8 kg/m2[11]

* at 380 kg
** at 80 km/h

See also[edit]

Comparable aerobatic gliders[edit]

The aerobatic performance of the SZD-59 13.2m is comparable to:

Gliders with comparable cross-country performance[edit]

The soaring performance of the SZD-59 15m is comparable to Schleicher ASW 19, Glaser-Dirks DG-100, Rolladen-Schneider LS1f, Glasflügel H206 Hornet, PZL Bialsko Jantar Standard, Grob G-102 Standard Astir, Bölkow Phöbus B3, Schempp-Hirth Cirrus/Cirrus VTC 17,74m, Schempp-Hirth Standard Cirrus 16m, Bölkow Phöbus C1, Akaflieg Darmstadt D37, Akaflieg Braunschweig SB 7, Neukom Elfe 17m, Standard Libelle 17m and the Delphin 1 by Fritz Mahrer.[6][12]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Piotr Piechowski: SZD-59 Acro (German) - accessed 2008-02-23
  2. ^ a b c Official SZD-59 Acro website - accessed 2008-02-23
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Technical description of the SZD-59 Acro on SZD's website - accessed 2008-02-23; unavailable 2008-08-06, but equivalent to: Technical description of the SZD-59 Acro on the website of the German dealer (in German) - accessed 2008-08-06
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h SAGA: SZD-59 Acro website (in German) - accessed 2008-02-23
  5. ^ a b c British Gliding Association: Segelflugzeug-Kennblatt Nr.: 415 (German) by the Luftfahrt-Bundesamt - accessed 2008-08-05
  6. ^ a b 2008 DAeC Handicap list - accessed 2008-02-23
  7. ^ a b Flight handbook of the SZD-59 Acro
  8. ^ FAI World and European Glider Aerobatic Championships - accessed 2008-08-05
  9. ^ Results of the German Glider Aerobatic Championships 2008 (unlimited)[permanent dead link] - accessed 2008-08-02
  10. ^
  11. ^ calculated from data in Datasheet of the SZD-59 Acro on the SZD-Website - accessed 2008-02-23 - assuming a pilot weight of 55kg and 10kg trim weight
  12. ^ Das Projekt "Delphin 1" (German) - accessed 2008-08-05