Since #Poland is about to buy Turkish #TB2 drones, it’s a good occasion to talk about 🇵🇱 – 🇹🇷 historical ties in aviation industry. Hence, a thread.
The story starts in 1936, when Turkish MOD ordered 40 P.24 fighter aircraft produced by Polish state owned PZL aircraft factory.
Besides those 40 fighters, Turkey produced 20 more planes under license. They were built in TOMTAS factory in Kayseri. This were the first fighters produced/assembled in 🇹🇷. P.24 was a quite a successful design, with a top speed of 410 km/h, two 20mm cannons and two 7,9mm guns.
After the II WW broke out, a number of Polish aviation engineers escaped the Nazi and Soviet occupation and moved to Britain. During the Battle of Britain, Polish and Turkish officials agreed on sending a group of aviation engineers to Turkey. In May 1941 the group reached Ankara
.. and helped to create THK Aircraft Factory - Türk Hava Kurumu Ucak Fabrikasi. Their first design was THK 1 Transport glider. A single prototype was made. The glider had 26 m wingspan, 12.6 m length and was capable of carrying 10 soldiers with 2 crew and equipment.
The next one was THK 2 aerobatic trainer aircraft. It was a streamlined low-wing monoplane with an elliptic wing. The plane had good flying characteristics and entered the service as an advanced trainer in Turkish Air Force.
Their other design was THK 5 twin-engine light passenger aircraft, renamed as MKEK-5. It was a low-wing cantilever monoplane of wooden construction. Interestingly it was also the first Turkish airplane exported abroad: One plane in air ambulance configuration was sold to Denmark.
Finally, THK 11 was constructed. It was a cantilever monoplane with twin boom and a pusher propeller configuration. An unorthodox deign, was intended as a touring plane. Some decades later, the same aerodynamic configuration will become a standard one for drones, including TB2.
THK 11 was the last design of the Polish engineers’ team in Turkey, the group left the country in 1946, and the factory was later taken over by the Turkish state-owned corporation MKEK. Between 1941 and 1946, the factory was managed by Jerzy Wędrychowski and Selahattin Beler.
Polish engineers: Stanisław Rogalski, Leszek Dulęba, Józef Dziewoński, Józef Lekszycki, Jerzy Lewczuk, and Jerzy Teisseyre, before 1939 worked together in the RWD aviation works, renowned for their RWD-6 and RWD-9 planes, winners of the Challenge International de Tourisme.
In Turkey, besides their work in THK, Polish engineers lectured at the Istanbul Technical University.
The story is little known, but an interesting case of a knowledge transfer in the aviation industry.

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