PZL Bielsko SZD-50 Puchacz
Designed by Dipl-lng Adam Meus, this high performance tandem two-seater is intended to succeed the popular SZD-9 Bocian for training and performance flying, and resembles the SZD-42 Jantar 2 and 2B but with a shorter span and the addition of the second seat. The Puchacz (or Eagle Owl) has been modified and developed from a prototype known as the SZD-50-1 Dromader which first flew on 21 December 1976; the Puchacz first flew a year later.
The first production aircraft flew on 13 April 1979 and nine had been built by the beginning of 1980. It is mainly of glassfibre sandwich construction, and has cantilever mid-set wings with slight forward sweep, plain ailerons and air bakes in the upper and lower surfaces. The glassfibre fuselage is supported in the central portion by two wooden frames, to which the wings and undercarriage are attached, and the landing gear consists of a non-retractable semi-recessed nose wheel, a sprung monowheel mounted behind the cg with a disc brake, and a tailskid which can be replaced by a tail wheel. There are two towing hooks, one in the nose for aero tows and the other mounted on the eg for winch launching. The tail unit is of glassfibre sandwich, the rudder being fabric-covered. The two pilots sit under a flush-fitting one-piece cockpit canopy that opens sideways, and have dual controls; the instrumentation for the front seat is easily visible from the rear seat.
The improved 50- 3 is the major production model with larger horizontal tailplane situated part of the way up the fin and enlarged rudder. It has a fixed main wheel, top and bottom surface Schempp-Hirth type airbrakes, and is stressed for erect and inverted aerobatic maneuvers. It has been used widely throughout the soaring world both as an initial and intermediate training sailplane, and as an aerobatic instructional platform and entry level aerobatic contest ship.
No. Built: 300
SZD 50-3 Puchacz
Wing span: 16.67 m / 54 ft 8.25 in
Wing area : 18.1 sq.m / 195.5 sq.ft
Length: 29 ft 10 in
Height: 6 ft l0.5 in
Empty Weight: 360 kg / 794 lb
Payload: 220 kg / 485 lb
Gross Weight: 570 kg / 1257 lb
Wing Load: 31.49 kg/sq.m / 6.43 lb/sq.ft
Max speed: 136 mph (in smooth air)
Max aero-tow speed: 93 mph
L/DMax: 32 89 kph / 48 kt / 55 mph
MinSink: 0.70 m/s / 2.4 fps / 1.42 kt at 48.5 mph
Best glide ratio: 30:1 at 60 mph
Aspect ratio: 15.3