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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Patroni Medialni

Skrzydlata Polska

Glider: SZD-43 Orion

SZD-43 Orion
competition glider

  • Technical data

Span 15.0 m (49 ft)
Length 7.3 m (24 ft)
Wing area 11,6 sq m (124.8 sq ft)
Empty weight 263 kg (580 lb)
Take-off weight 442 kg (974 lb)
Glide ratio 40 at 92 kph optimum speed
Sink rate 0.62 mps (2 fps) at 84 kph (45 kt) economy speed
Minimum speed 69 kph (37 kt)
Max. diving speed


A competition glider of wooden-metal-glass-fibre construction and a high wing configuration.

The Orion was designed at the Bielsko-Biała Experimental Gliding Works in 1970–1971, using parts from Cobra, Foka 5 and Jantar gliders. The construction was intended for Polish competitors for the World Gliding Championship in Vršac, Yugoslavia in 1972. The design was carried out in a very short time by a team led by engineers: Tadeusz Łabuć and Jan Knapik. The two prototypes were flown in December 1971. The glider carried 70 litres of the water ballast.

The two Orion prototypes registered as SP-2635 and SP-2639 were flown at the World Championships in Vršac. Polish pilots achieved a great success in the standard class: Jan Wróblewski won the gold medal and Franciszek Kępka won bronze.

Series production was not undertaken, because a better design, the all-composite Jantar glider was available. After the championships the Orions were in service at Leszno. One crashed, the other (SP-2635) was donated to the Polish Aviation Museum.



Dofinansowano ze środków Ministra Kultury i Dziedzictwa Narodowego
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