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PZL TS-11 Iskra

The TS-11 Iskra [Spark] is the Polish Air Force pilot's secondary platform for their training program. Comparable to the Lockheed T-33 (the trainer version of the F-80 Shooting Star), the TS-11 Iskra served as Poland's primary jet trainer for more than two decades. A simple, rugged and forgiving aircraft, the Iskra was the starting point for Polish fighter pilots on their way to flying the faster and more complex MiG or Sukhoi aircraft used by the Polish Air Force.

The TS-11 can be armed with either one 23mm cannon or two 12.7mm machine guns mounted in the nose section. The Iskra also has provisions for bombs or rocket pods carried under the wings on pylons. The single seat attack and reconnaissance version of the Iskra was produced with the rear cockpit being replaced by an extra fuel tank, cameras and other equipment.

The aircraft was developed in the late 60?s under the supervision of engineer Tadeusz Soltyk - a lector at the Aviation Institute - to meet the demands of the Polish Air Force for a new, jet-based flight trainer. The development of the Iskra airframe progressed quickly and was finished in 1958, but a suitable engine was not yet available. The development of a Polish built engine promised to be a lengthy process, thus negotiations were started with Bristol Siddeley in England for a supply of British Viper engines. The negotiations were unsuccessful and the development of the Iskra was slowed, awaiting the production of a suitable Polish engine. Early aircraft were powered by the Polish-designed HO-10 turbojet developing 780kg thrust, but from the mid-1960s TS-11s were powered by the 800kg thrust SO-1, the similarly rated but improved SO-3, or the uprated SO-3W.

The first prototype - designed for ground tests - was built in 1959. The second prototype was fitted with an imported Viper 8 jet engine and made its first test flight in January 1960. The first prototype flew in February 1960 and was demonstrated to the public for the first time on 01 September 1960 during an air display at the Lodz-Lublinek Airfield. Mass production of the Iskra began in 1962, and the formal presentation of the Iskra for service in the Polish Air Force took place in March 1963. Tadeusz Soltyk, the supervising designer of the plane, was awarded the title of Master of Polish Technics in 1962 for his work in developing the Iskra. After passing factory tests and inspections the model was scheduled for serial production.

The Iskra was built by Wytwornia Sprzetu Komunikacyjnego - Mielec (Transport Equipment Manufacturing Centre) at Mielec in Poland under the direction of the famous Polish aviation firm Panstwowe Zaklady Lotnicze. The Iskra was produced in two variants: a single seat attack and reconnaissance fighter or a two-seat, fully aerobatic, primary and basic trainer. The first aircraft to leave the PZL Mielec manufacturing plant in 1968 was fitted with a Polish SO-01 jet engine.

  1. TS-11 Iskra bis "-trainer from 1964. two-seater, Built including 400 copies. This version is still the primary aircraft training pilots for the trophies and the Marines-szturmowych. She gained itself the opinion one of the best aircraft trainer-training in the world. "Iskrze bis" established on many records international:-2 SEP 1964-715,7 km/h in a 100 km closed-circuit,-24 SEP 1964-730 km/h in a closed 500 km-26 SEP 1964-839 km/h on the 15/25 km.In 1975 Air India purchased 50 aircraft of this type.
  2. TS-11 Iskra bis B "-airliners from 1969r. The prototype of this version, designated TS-11 Iskra 100 ", was flown in June 1968. The airplane is loaded in 1 Cannon kal. 23 mm, 8 missiles, bombs weighing 100 kg and trays with 2 k.m. Hung under the wings.
  3. TS-11 Iskra bis C "-aircraft identification and correction of artillery fire 1970r. The prototype designated TS-11 Iskra 200 Art "was flown in 1971. The aircraft was equipped with a 3 camera cameras AFA-39 and the device identification.
  4. TS-11 Iskra bis D "-trainer bomber with 1974r; a two-seater. The prototype designated TS-11 Iskra 200 SB "flew on in September 1973. Armament was the 16-guided missiles and bombs weighing 200 kg.
  5. TS-11 Iskra bis DF-trainer-reconnaissance from 1974; two-seater. It wore a designation PZL TS-11 Iskra BR 200 ". Armament: 1 Cannon kal. 23 mm, 8-guided missiles, bombs weighing 100 kg.
The TS-11 Iskra was designed to be a primary jet trainer for Warsaw pact forces, but due to political considerations, only Poland would use the aircraft. Iskra was much better than the other two planes built for the same reason (Yak-30 and Aero L-29). Unfortunately the plane needed concrete runway and the other two planes didn't.

The only other military operator of the Iskra ("Spark") was India, which procured 50 and used it as a jet trainer from 1975 through 2004. Production of the aircraft ceased in 1987, with some 424 units built [some reports claim that over 500 have been built]. Nearly every Polish air regiment or air squadron possessed a quantity of TS-11 Iskra aircraft at their home base.

Praised for reliability and easy handling, the TS-11 design was produced in a number of sub-types, and is still operational in Poland today. Overall, fifty four TS-11 Iskra aircraft remained in service in the Polish Air Force. Proposals have been put forward to upgrade the aircraft with a more powerful engine and new avionics. late-model Iskras are armed with a 37mm cannon in the nose and have four underwing hardpoints for the carriage of rocket pods. A naval reconnaissance version was developed by equipping ten TS-11's with an RD-81 surveillance radar; this was designated the TS-11R.

Some refurbished retired aricraft are operated as civil warbirds in several countries. Today the TS-11 is a very popular warbird with aircraft collectors. Relatively inexpensive to own and operate, the Iskra is often the first step these collectors take toward flying a larger, higher performance jet warbird.

WING SPAN 10.06 m / 33 ft 0 in / 32 feet, 8 inches
LENGTH11.15 m / 37 ft 7 in / 36 feet,1 inches
HEIGHT3.5 m / 12 ft 6 in / 10 feet, 8 inches
Wing area 17.5 m2 188.37 sq ft
Empty weight 2560 kg / 5644 lb
MAX. TAKEOFF WEIGHT3840 kg / 8466 lb / 7,496 pounds
ENGINEIL SO-3W turbojet 2,425 pound of thrust
ARMAMENTOne 23mm cannon or two 12.7mm machine guns and bombs or rockets
Maximum altitude 11500 m. / 39,370 feet
11000 m / 36100 ft
Maximum speed 740 km. / 466 mph
770 km/h / 478 mph
Maximum range 1250 km. / 719 miles
1260 km / 783 miles
Maintenance costs per hour 4,438 PLN.
MANUFACTURED BY: Panstwowe Zaklady Lotnicze (PZL)
TOTAL TS-11s BUILT: Approximately 600

PZL TS-11 Iskra

PZL TS-11 Iskra PZL TS-11 Iskra PZL TS-11 Iskra PZL TS-11 Iskra

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Page last modified: 09-08-2012 19:41:55 ZULU