SZD-36 Cobra 15

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SZD-36 Cobra
SZD-36 Cobra sailplane.jpg
SZD-36 Cobra
Role Glider aircraft
National origin Poland
Designer W. Okarmus, A. Meus und M. Mikuszewski.
First flight 31 December 1969
Number built 290 x SZD-36 Cobra + 2 x SZD-39 Cobra 17
Developed from SZD-32A Foka 5

The SZD-36 Cobra was a glider designed and produced in Poland from 1968.


The SZD-36 was the penultimate iteration of the SZD-24 Foka, with improved construction techniques and materials and many detail changes over the Foka 5. The aircraft was designed especially for the 1970 World Gliding Championships at Marfa, Texas, where J. Wroblewski took 2nd and F. Kępka took 3rd places in the Standard Class behind a Rolladen-Schneider LS1. The Cobra also proved popular with ordinary pilots resulting in a long production run of 290, of which 215 were exported.

To compete in the Open class at Marfa in 1970, W. Okramus and M. Mikuszewski developed a 17m span version as the SZD-39 Cobra 17, which took 5th place flown by Edward Makula.

Construction was predominantly of wood with plywood skinned semi-monocoque fuselage, thick skinned built up wings, and fibreglass cockpit shell. With high g limits, high Vne and effective speed limiting air-brakes on the upper surface of the wings, the SZD-36 Cobra is popular as an aerobatic machine. There have been cases of catastrophic structural failure due to incorrect wing attachment, caused ultimately by worn parts in the attachment assemblies.

Safety Concern[edit]

Following a fatal accident due to failure of the wing attachment mechanism in 2007 [1] and another fatality with a glider with similar assembly mechanism,[2] the British Gliding Association has issued a Safety Alert for owners of Cobra gliders.[3]


SZD-36 Cobra
Developed from the SZD-32A Foka 5, a 15m Standard Class sailplane developed for the 1970 World championships. 290 built[4]
SZD-39 Cobra 17
A 17m span version of the Cobra developed for the 1970 World Gliding Championships in the Open Class, first flown on 17 March 1970. Two were built.[5]

Specifications (SZD-36 Cobra)[edit]

Data from

General characteristics

  • Crew: 1
  • Length: 6.98 m (22 ft 11 in)
  • Wingspan: 15 m (49 ft 2.5 in)
  • Height: 1.59 m (5 ft 2.5 in)
  • Wing area: 11.6 m2 (124.9 ft2)
  • Aspect ratio: 19.4
  • Wing profile: FX 61-168 - FX 60-1261
  • Empty weight: 275 kg (606 lb)
  • Gross weight: 405 kg (893 lb)


  • Maximum speed: 250 km/h (155.3 mph)
  • Stall speed: 67 km/h (41.6 mph)
  • G limits: +6 / -3
  • Maximum glide ratio: 38 @ 97 km/h, 60.3 mph
  • Rate of sink: 0.72m/s @ 73 km/h, 45.4 mph m/s (142 ft/min)



  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-04-17. Retrieved 2009-08-29.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ ,
  3. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-11-21. Retrieved 2013-04-18.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^
  5. ^

External links[edit]