IMPACT OF POLISH ENGINEERS ON TURKISH AERONAUTICAL INDUSTRY

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1 IMPACT OF POLISH ENGINEERS ON TURKISH AERONAUTICAL INDUSTRY The Turkish Aeronautical Association (TAA) was founded by the directive of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, on , just 16 months after the proclamation of the Turkish Republic. Its first name was Turkish Aeroplane Society with the aims to increase awareness on the importance of aviation, to support its development, to train the personnel and to raise a flying Turkish youth. The Aeroplane Engineer School was founded and the Kayseri Aeroplane Factory was established with the cooperation of German Junkers in A-19 and A-20 aeroplanes were manufactured with the German Junkers license. The factory was handed over to the Ministry of National Defence in In addition, TAA purchased 351 aeroplanes within 10 years and donated to the Turkish Armed Forces after a long Independence War. In 1931, one of the Turkish pilots Vecihi Bey, succeeded in making a tour around Turkey, departing from Ankara with an aeroplane that he had manufactured in his own workshop. In 1932, the prototype of the first national aircraft (MMV-1) was manufactured by Selahattin Resit Bey, all parts of which other than the engine and propeller. He was one of the engineers who had TAA s scholarship for education abroad. TAA had trained many talented aviators, including Ataturk s adopted daughter Sabiha Gokcen, who was the first female fighter pilot of the world. Parachuting, gliding, powered flight and model aeroplane schools were founded. The gliders were manufactured in TAA s Akkopru Workshop which was transformed into a factory in 1940, where the serial montage of English Miles Magister training aeroplanes started. Before the Second World War, between 1939 and 1941, Etimesgut Aircraft Factory was founded and the production started in Besides Magister airplanes, THK-1,3,4,7,9,13 gliders, and THK-2,5,10 types for training, health and logistic airplanes were manufactured in this factory. The first engine factory in Turkey, other than those small workshops initiated engine production tests, was founded and continued its function until This factory was handed over to the Machine and Chemistry Industry, but is currently functioning as the Turkish Tractor Factory. The Polish designers, engineers and technicians came to Turkey to help establish the TAA Aircraft Factory during the World War II. Between 1941 and 1946, the TAA factory headed by Polish engineers produced under licence from British manufacturer Miles M.14A and also aircraft of its own design. The TAA workshops were named as Polish Factory in Turkey by the Turks. Jerzy Wedrychowski, from the Aeronautical Experimental Works in Poland had been thinking that he was going to return his country after the war ended and Hitler lost, and had been planning to work for the reestablishment of Polish aviation with new aircraft designs. He was searching an opportunity to gather all the engineers in one country, who went abroad especially to France and Britain after the occupation of Poland. Therefore the 1

2 engineers would not lose their capabilities by working in that industry and they could use their experience after the war in Poland. He attempted to achieve his goals in Romania and Yugoslavia. But he could not manage. Meanwhile in 1941, Turkey had contacted to Britain for its support on aircraft and engine factory for the production of aircrafts common design of France, Britain and Germany. Unfortunately, the war broke out and this project had to be cancelled. In fact, Churchill had planned Turkey to join the war and the military operation to start from Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania to Poland, not from France actually. It was favorable for Britain Turkey s alliance. But under the war conditions, this alliance could not be realized. As a matter of fact, the aviation relationship between two countries dates back to older times. Turkey manufactured 20 aircrafts of the model P.24-A and C aircrafts in 1936, and 50 aircrafts with some parts imported from Poland in 1937 in Kayseri Factory. Another story of the relationship was about Ludomil Rayski who was the commander of Polish Airforce between 1926 and 1939, as responsible for modernization of Polish military aviation. His nickname was Effendi, Turek. His father, Artur Teodor, was forced to exile and became a refugee to Ottoman after 1863 rebellion. He worked as an officer and promoted to the rank of captain in Ottoman Army. For this reason, Rayski was an Ottoman citizen. He was called into the army and fighted in Gallipoli War for Ottoman Empire in the World War I in He was seriously wounded, then was transferred to the Ottoman 5 th Army based in Izmir where he was wounded for the second time. Upon return to service, on his own request, he was sent to a fighter pilot training and earned his wings in the ranks of the Turkish Air Force. Figure 1. Airmen of the Ottoman 6 th Fighter Squadron in Galata village near Canakkale where the Dardanelles Fortified Zone s airfield was. This photograph was taken in 1918 and so far is the only one known picture showing Ludomil Rayski during his service in the Ottoman Air Force. Rayski stands in the rear row and is marked with the cross over his head. (Polish Aviation Museum in Kraków, catalogue number B44) 2

3 Figure 2. Ludomil Rayski in the Polish general s uniform in late 1930 s. Because of the good former expression about the Polish aircraft, Jerzy Wedrychowski invited to Turkey for his works. The Polish engineers manufactured 60 Miles Magister aircrafts and many training gliders, and completed their own designs. While Jerzy Wedrychowski was the head of the factory, the manager of design office was Jerzy Teisseyre who came from Britain with some others. There were also many engineers from France who provided Turkish citizenship to travel without problem, and several engineers from Romania. For example, the ttrainig and acrobatic aircraft was designed by 3 Polish, body by Teisseyre, wing and chasis by Leszek Duleba and Stanislaw Rogalski, who came came from Britain too. The Poish also manufactured health aircraft THK-3, small passenger aircraft THK-4, touristic aircraft THK-7. Figure 3. Miles Magister 3

4 Figure 4. THK-1, Transport Aircraft Figure 5. THK-2 Acrobatics Aircraft Figure 6. THK-5 Transport, Health Aircraft (also exported to Denmark) 4

5 Figure 7. Passenger Aircraft Figure 8. Prototypes Because they knew that they were going to leave Turkey after the end of World War II, they also intended to teach Turkish students for the continuation of their projects. So the Polish 5

6 engineers made significant contribution to the establishment of Aeronautical Engineering Department of Istanbul Technical University. Reference: Bas, O.F., 2014, THK Ucak Fabrikasi ve Polonyali Muhendislerin Rolu, Muhendis ve Makine, cilt 55, sayi 659, s

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