The Iskra Jet

The PZL TS-11 Iskra (English: Spark) is a Polish jet trainer aircraft, used by the air forces of Poland and India. It is notable as the main training aircraft of the Polish Air Force, and as the oldest jet aircraft still in service in Poland.

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Lyddon Aero Center’s TS-11

Development

(from Wikipedia)The aircraft was designed in response to a Polish Air Force requirement for a jet trainer. The main designer was Tadeusz Sołtyk – hence a designation letters TS. The new aircraft was the first jet aircraft designed in Poland. Work started in 1957, the first prototype powered by an imported British Armstrong Siddeley Viper 8 of 7.80 kN (1,750 lbf) was flown on 5 February 1960. The next two prototypes, with a Polish copy of the Viper engine named the WSK HO-10 engine were flown in March and July 1961.The new Aircraft fulfilled requirements and, after tests, was accepted for the Polish Air Force as the TS-11 Iskra bis A, produced since 1963. From about 1966, the aircraft were produced with a new Polish-designed engine WSK SO-1 with thrust of 9.80 kN (2,200 lbf). From 1969, WSK SO-3 engines with longer time between overhauls were used and later improved version WSK SO-3W with thrust of 10.80 kN (2,425 lbf).

Design

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Steve Lyddon poses with a lucky young man who won a ride.

All-metal jet trainer aircraft, conventional in layout, with mid-wings. Wings are trapezoid-shaped, with leading edge swept at small angle. Air intakes in wings. Single jet engine has an exhaust under a boom with tail fin, which gives the aircraft an unusual silhouette. The two crewmen have ejector seats. The aircraft has no radar (apart from the TS-11R). It can be fitted with photo cameras.

Poland is currently developing the new TS-11S Iskra (Spark) for future jet trainer. It will be equipped with new avionics, strengthened structures and a more powerful engine.

 

Operational History

In 1964, the TS-11 prototype beat four world records in its class, among others the speed record of 839 km/h (524 mph). The Iskra competed as the standard jet trainer for the Warsaw Pact, but lost out to the Czechoslovak plane Aero L-29 Delfín. Poland became the only Warsaw pact country to use the Iskra. A total of 424 aircraft were built by 1987, when production ceased. A total of 50 aircraft Iskra bis D were exported to India in 1975, then further 26 in the 1990s.

In 2002, Poland still had 110 TS-11s, including 5 TS-11Rs. The Iskra became Polish first and only jet trainer so far – the programme for a successor, the PZL I-22 Iryda (later designated M-93 Iryda), failed for several reasons and few were built. In Indian service, Iskra was withdrawn by 16 December 2004. During service, seven were lost, killing four crew.

In 2013, Poland had 30 (total number of school aircraft: TS-11, PZL-130) operational Iskras'[1]

From 1969 TS-11s have been used by the Polish aerobatics team, initially called “Rombik”, and currently “Biało-Czerwone Iskry” (“White-and-Red Sparks”).

The UK has one fully operational ground running TS-11 Iskra (1018) which is part of the Cold War Jets Collection a museum based at Bruntingthorpe Aerodrome, Leicestershire.

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Time to buzz the tower!

Variants

  • TS-11 Iskra bis A

Two-seat jet trainer aircraft. The Iskra bis A was the first production model.

  • TS-11 Iskra bis B / TS-11 Iskra 100

Two-seat jet trainer aircraft, with four underwing pylons to carry weapons.

  • TS-11 Iskra bis C / TS-11 Iskra 200 Art

Single-seat reconnaissance aircraft from 1971. It had a camera in the lower fuselage and increased fuel capacity. Only 5 were built in 1972, in 1983 were converted to trainers.

  • TS-11 Iskra bis D / TS-11 Iskra 200 SB
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TS-11 Iskra Variants

Two-seat jet trainer aircraft from 1973. Fifty of those aircraft were built for the Indian Air Force with bigger payload.

  • TS-11 Iskra bis DF

Two-seat trainer-reconnaissance aircraft from 1974. It can carry armament, plus three cameras.

  • TS-11 Iskra R

Two-seat naval reconnaissance aircraft, equipped with a surveillance radar, RDS-81. Six aircraft converted in 1991.

  • TS-11 Iskra BR 200

Single-seat attack and reconnaissance aircraft prototype from 1972, did not enter production.

  • TS-11 Iskra MR

TS-11 with modernized avionics according to ICAO standards and operated in the Biało-Czerwone Iskry aerobatics team since 1998.

  • TS-11 Iskra Jet / TS-11 Spark

After being withdrawn from service, it was disarmed and sold to private users in the USA, Australia and others countries as a warbird valued for its double seats and easy handling.

  • TS-11F Iskra

Proposition of modernization of TS-11 made by Instytut Techniczny Wojsk Lotniczych, as training jet preparing pilots to operate on F-16 C/D Block 52+

Operator

TS-11 RB5 Front View
TS-11 RB5 Front View

23px-Flag_of_Poland.svg

 

 Poland

  • Polish Air Force

Former Operators
23px-Flag_of_Poland.svg Poland

  • Polish Navy

23px-Flag_of_India.svg India

  • Indian Air Force received 76 aircraft. All were withdrawn in December 2004.

Specifications:

General characteristics

  • Crew: Two – student and instructor

    HUD mounted in PZL TS-11F Iskra
    HUD mounted in PZL TS-11F Iskra
  • Length: 11.15 m (36 ft 7 in)
  • Wingspan: 10.06 m (33 ft 0 in)
  • Height: 3.50 m (11 ft 5½ in)
  • Wing area: 17.5 m² (188 ft²)
  • Empty weight: 2,560 kg (5,644 lb)
  • Loaded weight: 3,734 kg[5] (8,215 lb)
  • Max. takeoff weight: 3,840 kg (8,470 lb)
  • Powerplant: 1 × WSK SO-3 turbojet, 9.81 kN (2,205 lbf)

Performance

Armament

  • 1x 23 mm NS-23 or NR-23 cannon in the nose
  • 4 underwing pylons, up to 400 kg (880 lb) of bombs or unguided S-5 rocket pods Mars-4 (8 rockets) or Zeus-1 (12,7mm) gun packs.

    TS-11 Iskra RB1 Barrel of 23mm Cannon is Visible
    TS-11 Iskra RB1
    Barrel of 23mm Cannon is Visible