History: The Iskra (Polish for
"Spark") was designed in 1957 as a two-seat primary and advanced jet trainer.
The first flight of the prototype was on 5 February 1960, and initial deliveries began in
March 1963. Full operational capability with the Polish Air Force began in 1964, and over
500 were built, with 50 of the "Bis D" version going
to India. A "Bis DF" photo-reconnaissance trainer was
Early variants were powered by the HO-10 turbojet, with 1720
pounds of thrust, but in the mid-1960s, PZL switched to the SO-1 engine with 1764 pound of
thrust. This engine was later improved and renamed the SO-3, and with the introduction of
the SO-3W, was upgraded to 2,425 pounds of thrust.
The Iskra was often used as a fighter/bomber trainer thanks
to its underwing weapons hard-points, on which could be mounted rocket pods, bombs, and/or
guns. Many people ask what PZL / WSK (the manufacturer's) full name is. Well, for the
benefit of Warbird Alley readers, here it is (take a deep breath): Panstwowe Zaklady
Lotnicze / Wytwórnia Sprzetu Komunikacyjnego-Mielec. Roughly translated, the PZL
part of the name means "National Aviation Factory," and "WSK" means
"The Transport Equipment Manufacturing Center." (Thanks to
Artur for help with the Polish translation.)
Nicknames: Motor Glider (colloquial
term referring to its good engine-out characteristics); Sparky (name
sometimes used by private
owners and collectors.)
Specifications (TS-11 Iskra Bis DF):
Engine: One 2,425-lb thrust IL SO-3W turbojet
Weight: Empty 5,644 lbs., Max Takeoff 8,466 lbs.
Wing Span: 33ft. 0in.
Length: 36ft. 7in.
Height: 11ft. 5.75in.
Maximum Speed at 16,500 ft: 478 mph
Ceiling: 36,100 ft.
Range: 783 miles
One 23mm cannon in nose
Four underwing attachments for various
Number Built: More than 500
Number Still Airworthy: At least 10
Aviation Archive Iskra page
Farewell to the Iskra (Indian Air Force)
Paul Nann's Photo Gallery --
Warbirds of India -- Iskra
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