BŻ-4 Żuk

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BŻ-4 Żuk
Pzl zuk.jpg
Role Helicopter
Manufacturer Główny Instytut Lotnictwa (GIL)
Designer Bronisław Żurakowski
First flight 10 February 1959
Status Cancelled
Number built 1 prototype +2 partially built

The BŻ-4 Żuk ("Beetle" in Polish), formerly known as GIL-4, was a Polish four-seat light helicopter built in the 1950s. Although it pioneered a novel rotor and transmission system, it never entered series production.

Design and development[edit]

Work on the GIL-4 began at the Główny Instytut Lotnictwa - Main Aviation Institute (GIL), in Warsaw in 1953, under the leadership of Dipl. Ing. Bronisław Żurakowski, who had earlier designed the experimental BŻ-1 GIL helicopter, the first successful rotating-wing aircraft built in Poland. Due to the delicate political situation in postwar Poland (Soviet influences and centrally planned economy), progress was slow. The main object was to produce a simple and inexpensive general use light helicopter and to further development of the novel rotor and transmission system, which eliminates vibration and improves control. .[1]

The BŻ-4 Żuk was based on a single main three-blade rotor powered by an indigenous one 320 hp Narkiewicz WN-4 piston engine in a fuselage made of a steel frame, behind a cabin section.[1] It had an open frame rear boom structure and a fixed four-wheel undercarriage. Main rotor was atypical, for it had a smaller upper steering rotor and was fitted with an automatic stabilization system, of the Hiller principle. The cabin had four doors with two front seats and a rear bench. There were two fuel tanks, 220 l in total.

Four main variants were planned: a passenger version accommodating a pilot and three passengers, an ambulance variant carrying pilot, one stretchers and an attendant, an agricultural variant carrying pilot and spraying or dusting equipment and a dual control trainer.

Testing and evaluation[edit]

The first prototype of the BŻ-4 Żuk four-seat helicopter was manufactured and displayed publicly in the Polish Aviation Day Exhibition in August 1956. Due to a long program of ground testing and fixing faults, it flew first only on 10 February 1959 and completed 17 flights for a total of 3 hrs, 40 minutes. The Żuk was still in the development stage when further work was cancelled in favor of the licence production of the Mil Mi-1, that had already started in WSK PZL-Świdnik. The prototype was damaged during landing on 31 August 1959 and despite being repaired, was not used again. Two additional prototypes were not completed.

BŻ-4 prototype in the Polish Aviation Museum

One damaged and incomplete prototype is preserved in the Polish Aviation Museum in Kraków.

Specifications (BŻ-4)[edit]

Data from Babiejczuk and Grzegorzewski

General characteristics

  • Crew: one, pilot
  • Capacity: three passengers
  • Length: 10.55 m (34 ft 7 in ) (fuselage)
  • Rotor diameter: 12 m (39 ft 4.5 in)
  • Height: 2.8 m (9 ft 2 in)
  • Empty weight: 1,050 kg (2,313 lb)
  • Useful load: 450 kg (990 lb)
  • Loaded weight: 1,500 kg (3,307 lb)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Narkiewicz WN-4 7-cylinder air-cooled radial engine, 320 shp (237 kW)


See also[edit]

Related development
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era



  1. ^ a b Cynk 1959, p. 72.


  • Babiejczuk, Janusz and Grzegorzewski, Jerzy. Polski Przemysł Lotniczy 1945-1973 (in Polish). Warsaw: Wydawnictwo MON, 1974. No ISBN.
  • Cynk, J.B. "Pictorial Museum of Polish Aviation." Air Progress, Fall 1959.
  • Krzyżan, Marian. Samoloty w Muzeach Polskich (in Polish). Warsaw: Wydawnictwa Komunikacji i Łącznośc, 1983. ISBN 83-206-0432-X.
  • Green, William and Pollinger, Gerald. The Observer's Book of Aircraft, 1958 edition. London: Fredrick Warne & Co. Ltd., 1958.
  • Lambermont, Paul. Helicopters and Autogyros of the World. London: Cassell, 1958.

External links[edit]