Polish Aviation Museum

31-864 Kraków,
al. Jana Pawła II 39
phone: (12) 640 99 60,
(12) 642 40 70
e-mail: info@muzeumlotnictwa.pl

a cultural institution of the Malopolska Region

Małopolska – Kraków Region


Mecenas Muzeum

Kraków Airport

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Helicopter: BŻ-4 Żuk

BŻ-4 Żuk
Poland
utility helicopter
1956



  • Technical data


Rotor diameter 12.0 m
Fuselage length 10.55 m
Take-off weight 1500 kg
Maximum speed 156 km/h
Ceiling 3000 m
Range 260 km
Armament
Powerplant :
7-cylinder radial air-cooled Narkiewicz WN-4, 320 hp (237 kW)

 

A protototype of the first indigenous Polish utility helicopter.

In 1953 engineer Bronisław Żurakowski, the designer of the SP-GIL experimental helicopter, began working on a four-seat utility helicopter. Initially designated as GIL-4, it was later renamed BŻ-4 Żuk (English: beetle). The prototype, powered by a Polish WN-4 engine (a WN-3 adapted for use in helicopters), was built in 1956.

On 10 February 1959, the BŻ-4 was flown by engineer Ryszard Witkowski. The helicopter performed 17 flights and logged 3 hours and 40 minutes in total. Unfortunately, during tests the BŻ-4 was damaged, which led to abandoning of the project. The helicopter could be repaired, but the Soviet Mi-1 was already being manufactured in Poland and the authorities used the accident as a pretext to cancel further development of the BŻ-4. The sole finished prototype was later handed to the Museum, albeit stripped of many components. The possibility of renovation was discussed in the late 1980s, however it turned out to be unfeasible – too many parts were missing and the aircraft would have to be virtually built anew.

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