SZD-19 Zefir

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For other uses, see Zefir.
SZD-19 Zefir
SZD19-2A Zefir-2A p120829.jpg
SZD19-2A Zefir 2A in the Polish Aviation Museum
Role Glider
National origin Poland
Manufacturer SZD
Designer Bogumił Szuba
First flight 31 December 1958[1]
Introduction 1960
Number built 22[1]

The SZD-19 Zefir (Szybowcowy Zakład Doświadczalny - Glider Experimental Works) is a single-seat glider aircraft that was designed and built in Poland from 1957.

Although they all bore the same name, the different versions of Zefir were actually quite different gliders in terms of materials used, design and performance.[2] What unified them most was the person of the lead designer - Bugumił Szuba and the use of large Fowler flaps to get superior (for the era) performance both at low and high-speed flight.[2] The Zefir series (in particular Zefir-3, with its L/D of 42+) is perhaphs the ultimate design of the wooden glider construction era.[2]

Intended to replace the SZD-8 Jaskółka as the Polish team mount at the World Gliding Championships in 1958 in Leszno, the SZD-19 Zefir was a high-wing glider with a wooden and glass-fibre fuselage, retractable undercarriage and all-metal wings incorporating hydraulically actuated flaps. The first prototype SZD-19X Zefir flew on 31 December 1958, missing the 1958 championships, but the flight tests revealed problems with control and stability as well as operation of the flaps and complexity of the hydraulic system.[3]

The SZD-19 was totally re-designed with all-wooden wings, revised fuselage and tail section, and towing hook relocated to the retractable undercarriage chassis,[4] designated as the SZD-19-2 Zefir 2, first flying on 11 March 1960, showing a marked improvement over the Zefir. Two prototypes of the Zefir 2 were built, flying in the 1960 World Championships at Köln in Germany to gain second, piloted by Edward Makula, and third, piloted by Jerzy Popiel, places in the Open class.[3] With significant success in the World Championships, the SZD-19-2 was refined with new stabilisers and landing gear to become the SZD-19-2 Zefir 2A, flying for the first time in 1962, in time for the 1963 World Championships,[5] held in Argentina, where Makula and Popiel took first and second places.[3] As a result of these successes, demand for the SZD-19-2 was significant with 14 units built, most being sold to other countries,[1] (according to some sources, 20 SZD-19-2A units were constructed.[3]). From the beginning until (and including) Zefir 3 these gliders did not have spoilers (airbrakes) - a tail chute was used.[5] The chute drag could be controlled by the pilot (in versions 2B and 3). Several records were established by the Zefir 2A/B's, including; a flight distance of 714 km (444 mi) and a 100 km (62 mi) closed triangle speed record of 102 km/h (63.4 mph).[3]

To improve the performance, further development with wings extended to 19m was carried out as the SZD-29 Zefir 3, of which two prototypes were built, and the Open-class 19m SZD-31 Zefir 4 of which three were built. Two SZD-31 Zefir 4's competed in the 1968 World Gliding Championships at Leszno with mediocre (mainly due to the unrecognized issue of an air leak through airbrake housings) results - they took 14th and 28th place.[4]

Because the Zefir series pushed the limits of a wooden wing construction,[2] all construction elements were carefully designed with unusually narrow tolerance margins. Jerzy Śmielkiewicz (of the design team) describes[2] a catastrophic in-flight wing failure of one of Zefir's caused by a careless minor change of the design of a few rivet placements - the whole original design was accounting for forces resulting from and/or involving individual rivets.

Handling characteristic[edit]

Historical accounts report that all the Zefir versions required superior piloting abilities[2] but the modern restoration aircraft is reported to be docile. Until Zefir 4 they had no airbrakes (spoilers) which had caused multiple landing incidents.[2] A chute[5] (except Zefir 4) was used for braking, from 2B version the pilot could adjust the chute drag.[2] The forward visibility was considered poor.[2] Similarly, the controls required substantial force, were causing strain for the pilots and in general their ergonomics was not optimal.[2] All these inconveniences were the result of the design striving to squeeze every possible bit of performance (hence i.e. narrow cockpit with uncomfortably prone pilot position), handling comfort was considered second. One of the test pilots (Jan Gawęcki) [2] recalls that the introduction of airbrakes in the Zefir 4 model was welcomed by the pilots, despite their dreadful influence (L/D down to 34 from 43+) on glider performance. Also, Zefir 3 had substantial horizontal stabilizer flatter issues.[2]

Variants[edit]

  • SZD-19x Zefir – The first prototype with metal wings and hydraulically actuated flaps, one built
  • SZD-19-2 Zefir 2 – Two prototypes of re-designed Zefir with wooden wings, manual flap operation and other improvements. Took second and third places in the 1960 World Gliding Championships - Open class
  • SZD-19-2 Zefir 2A – Production version of the Zefir 2 with minor improvements, 14 built[1]
  • SZD-19-2 Zefir 2B – Designation change after modification to allow the pilot to control/adjust the braking force of the tail chute[5]
  • SZD-29 Zefir 3 - With a 19m wing this Zefir was optimised for long-distance high-speed flight with minimum sink of 0.66 m/s @ 100 km/h and L/D of 42+ @ 84 km/h. The first prototype (SP-2465) flew on 26 April 1965, piloted by Stanisław Skrzydlewski.[1] A second prototype was also built.[6] Considered by some to be the crowning achievement in wooden construction glider design.[2]
  • SZD-31 Zefir 4 - An attempted refinement of the Zefir 3, with similar dimensions. Introduced spoilers caused drastically inferior performance (L/D down to 34 due to leakage through the spoiler box).[2] Three aircraft were built.

Specifications (SZD-19-2 Zefir 2)[edit]

Data from The World's Sailplanes:Die Segelflugzeuge der Welt:Les Planeurs du Monde Volume II[4][7]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 1
  • Length: 7.07 m (23 ft 2 in)
  • Wingspan: 17 m (55 ft 9 in)
  • Height: 0.76 m (2 ft 6 in) at cockpit
  • Wing area: 14 m2 (150 sq ft)
  • Aspect ratio: 20.6
  • Airfoil: NACA 632515 mod.
  • Empty weight: 295 kg (650 lb) equipped
  • Gross weight: 405 kg (893 lb)

Performance

  • Stall speed: 62 km/h (39 mph; 33 kn) with 10° flaps, 71 km/h (44.1 mph; 38.3 kn) clean
  • Never exceed speed: 220 km/h (137 mph; 119 kn)
  • Rough air speed max: 130 km/h (80.8 mph; 70.2 kn)
  • Aerotow speed: 130 km/h (80.8 mph; 70.2 kn)
  • Terminal velocity: with tail parachute 190 km/h (118 mph; 103 kn)
  • g limits: +5.5 -3.5 at 152.5 km/h (94.8 mph; 82.3 kn)
  • Maximum glide ratio: 35 at 95 km/h (59.0 mph; 51.3 kn)
  • Rate of sink: 0.72 m/s (142 ft/min) at 87 km/h (54.1 mph; 47.0 kn)
  • Wing loading: 28.9 kg/m2 (5.9 lb/sq ft)

See also[edit]

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
Related lists

List of gliders

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Babiejczuk, Janusz; Grzegorzewski, Jerzy (1974). Polski przemysł lotniczy 1945-1973 (Polish aerospace industry 1945-197) (in Polish). Warsaw: Wydawnictwo MON. pp. 124–125. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Śmielkiewicz, Jerzy (September 2006). "Development of "Zefir" gliders" (PDF). Polish Aviation Technology, Historical Notes (26). Retrieved 9 April 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c d e "SZD-19-2A Zefir 2A". Polish Aviation Museum. Retrieved 9 April 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c Pietchowski, Piotr. "SZD-19-2 Zefir 2" (in Polish). www.piotrp.de. Retrieved 8 April 2013. 
  5. ^ a b c d [1] 1963 WGC newsreel
  6. ^ Pietchowski, Piotr. "SZD-29". Retrieved 9 April 2013. 
  7. ^ Shenstone, B.S.; K.G. Wilkinson (1963). The World's Sailplanes:Die Segelflugzeuge der Welt:Les Planeurs du Monde Volume II (in English, French, and German) (1st ed.). Zurich: Organisation Scientifique et Technique Internationale du Vol a Voile (OSTIV) and Schweizer Aero-Revue. pp. 160–162. 

References[edit]

  • Śmielkiewicz, Jerzy (September 2006). "Development of "Zefir" gliders" (PDF). Polish Aviation Technology, Historical Notes (26). Retrieved 9 April 2013. 
  • Pietchowski, Piotr. "SZD-29". Retrieved 9 April 2013. 
  • "SZD-19-2A Zefir 2A". Polish Aviation Museum. Retrieved 9 April 2013. 
  • Babiejczuk, Janusz; Grzegorzewski, Jerzy (1974). Polski przemysł lotniczy 1945-1973 (Polish aerospace industry 1945-197) (in Polish). Warsaw: Wydawnictwo MON. pp. 124–125. 
  • Shenstone, B.S.; K.G. Wilkinson (1963). The World's Sailplanes:Die Segelflugzeuge der Welt:Les Planeurs du Monde Volume II (in English, French, and German) (1st ed.). Zurich: Organisation Scientifique et Technique Internationale du Vol a Voile (OSTIV) and Schweizer Aero-Revue. pp. 160–162. 
  • Pietchowski, Piotr. "SZD-19-2 Zefir 2" (in Polish). www.piotrp.de. Retrieved 8 April 2013. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Taylor, J. H. (ed) (1989) Jane's Encyclopedia of Aviation. Studio Editions: London. p. 29
  • "Modelarz" No 4 / 60 (April 1960)

External links[edit]