PZL Zlin

PZL is an abbreviation name used by three Polish aerospace manufacturers. Before 1939 it was one manufacturer Państwowe Zakłady Lotnicze - State Aviation Works, based in Warsaw, Poland.

PZL (1928-1939)
PZL was founded in Warsaw in 1928, basing on the earlier workshops CWL (Centralne Warsztaty Lotnicze - Central Aviation Workshops). The first product was a licence-produced French fighter Wibault 70. Soon, a talented designer Zygmunt Pulawski designed a series of high-wing metal-covered fighters: PZL P-1, P-6, P-7 and P-11. The last two types were basic fighters of the Polish Air Forces since 1933. The last variant PZL P.24, developed after Pulawski's death in an air crash, was exported to 4 countries. Mass-produced were also: light bomber PZL.23 Karas and modern medium bomber PZL.37 Los. The later was one of the best bombers in the world before the Second World War. At that time, PZL also built some sport (PZL-5, PZL-19, PZL-26) and liaison (PZL Ł-2) planes. By 1939 it developed also several prototypes of modern fighters and of a passenger plane (PZL-44). PZL was the biggest Polish pre-war aircraft manufacturer. Since 1934 the main aircraft factory in Warsaw was named PZL WP-1 and placed in Okecie district of Warsaw. A new division PZL WP-2 was built in Mielec. An engine factory division, PZL WS-1 in Warsaw, built mostly engines on the British Bristol licence (Bristol Pegasus, Bristol Mercury).

PZL "Warszawa-Okecie"
During the Second World War, all factories were destroyed, and after the war they were rebuilt. The PZL WP-1 factory was renamed CSS (Central Aircraft Studies), then WSK-4, then in 1956 to WSK-Okecie (Wytwórnia Sprzętu Komunikacyjnego - Communication Equipment Factory). Despite the new name, the abbreviation PZL was still used in designs' names. It developed mainly light sport, trainer and multi role aircraft. The best known designs are: multi role PZL-104 Wilga and agricultural PZL-106 Kruk. After 1989 the factory was renamed with its traditional name PZL "Warszawa-Okecie".

The second factory, named WSK-Mielec became the biggest Polish post-war aircraft producer. It initially manufactured licensed Soviet planes: transport biplane Antonov An-2, jet fighters: MiG-15 (as Lim-1 and Lim-2) and MiG-17 (as Lim-5 and Lim-6). It produced also an own jet trainer TS-11 Iskra, and a jet agricultural plane M-15 Belphegor. Currently it produces and develops mostly licensed civil aircraft, best known agricultural M-18 Dromader and light transport PZL M-28 Skytruck/Bryza. After 1998 it was changed into a company Polskie Zakłady Lotnicze (Polish Aviation Works), in short: PZL-Mielec.

In 1951 a third aerospace factory was built WSK-Świdnik in Swidnik, in 1957 it was renamed: WSK "PZL-Świdnik". Since 1956 it has become one of the world's major helicopter manufacturers, producing helicopters such as the Mil Mi-1 and Mil Mi-2 on a Soviet licence. Swidnik was an exclusive producer of a spread-out Mi-2. Since the late 1980s, Swidnik has been producing a Polish-designed helicopter W-3 Sokol. Another modern "today machine" of PZL Świdnik - the light 5-seat Polish helicopter SW-4 that is known around the world of its high quality. After 1991, the factory became PZL-Świdnik. It also produces gliders and cooperates with other nation's manufacturers.