Instytut Szybownictwa (Gliding Institute) Bielsko-Biala
SZD / Szybowcowy Zaklad Doswiadczalny
Przedsiebiorstwo Doswiadczalno-Produkcyjne Szybownictwa
Between 1947 and 1977 the Polish aircraft industry produced 3,638 gliders of 91 different types, and SZD sailplanes were exported all over the world, setting up many world and national records over the years.
The SZD organisation responsible for Polish sailplane design and devleopment was officially formed in April 1946 as the Instytut Szybownictwa (or Gliding Institute) at Bielsko-Biala and was renamed in 1948 the Szybowcowy Zaklad Doswiadczalny - SZD (or Experimental Glider Establishment).
Under political reorganization in 1956, the Polish aircraft industry was revived with production of Soviet aircraft and some indigenous types. In foreign markets most Polish aircraft subsequently appeared under the PZL title, such as the PZL-101 Gawron and PZL-104 Wilga utility aircraft of 1960 and 1962 respectively, the first being a development of the Yak-12. The Gawron was used extensively as an agricultural aircraft, along with the PZL-built An-2 biplane, but later purpose-built dusters and sprayers were built. PZL types are produced under three separate organizations: PZL "Warszawa-Okecie" SA, WSK "PZL-Mielec" SA, and PZL-Swidnik SA.
In July 1969 the name was changed again and since July 1975 the former SZD has been known as Przedsiebiorstwo Doswiadczalno-Produkcyjne Szybownictwa, or Experimental and Production Concern for Gliders, although the well known letters SZD continue to be used for its products. The sale of these to foreign customers, like those of other Polish aircraft, is handled by the PEZETEL trading organsiation.