Polish Aviation Day 2022 – Aeroplane, Helicopter and Autogyro Rally in Płock

On 28th August, the Polish Aviation Day is observed, on the anniversary of Franciszek Żwirko and Stanisław Wigura’s victory in the International Tourist Aeroplane Competition Challenge 1932. That national holiday was established in 1993 and, since that year, numerous celebrations and aviation events are organized at airfields and flying clubs throughout the country.

In 2022, among such events related to the Aviation Day, there was Zlot Samolotów, Śmigłowców i Wiatrakowców (Aeroplanes, Helicopters and Autogyros Rally) organised by Stowarzyszenie Aeroklub Ziemi Mazowieckiej (Mazovia Land Aeroclub Association) in Płock.

More than twenty aircraft took part in the Rally, representing quite a wide range of  General Aviation. From motor-paraglider, ultralight trike and UL aeroplanes; through gliders; autogyros; aviation classics, such as Robinson helicopters or Cessna aeroplanes; STOL aircraft – including Carbon Cub EX; to Hatz Classic biplane, Extra 330SC aerobatic special and, last but not least, PZL 104 Wilga – an aircraft still being popular in Polish aeroclubs.

Although the Rally had a rather static character, which favoured the opportunity to take a closer look on the gathered aircraft – or to take a seat in the cockpit for a while and talk to the pilots – some of the abovementioned aeroplanes could also be seen in the air.

Among the highlights of the sky-high part of the Aviation Rally, performance of Marek Choim in his Extra 330SC should definitely be mentioned. Marek began his adventure as aerobatic pilot in 2013 and, currently, is a member of the Polish National Aerobatic Team in the Advanced class and also frequent participant at domestic air shows.

Marek Choim and his Extra 330SC

Marek Choim´s displays are performed with one of the best aerobatic aircraft in the world, the aforementioned Extra 330SC. What is more, they have a unique character. Choim flies full, aggressive unlimited freestyle aerobatics and shows it in two variants – daytime and evening performance. During the day, his displays are enhanced by colourful smoke generators mounted on the wingtips of the aircraft. However, during the evening shows, the smoke is replaced by sparkling pyrotechnics.

Over nearly 10 years of his aerobatic career, Marek Choim has earned domestic and international recognition of aviation enthusiasts. It is enough to say that only in 2018, Choim performed thirty different displays in the Baltic region and Saudi Arabia. The demonstration of his skills at the Aviation Rally in Płock, was considerably the most exciting flying performance of the event.

Another pilot definitely worth mentioning, together with his flying display, was Wojciech Bógdał, a well-known and titled paramotor pilot, member of the Polish National Paraglider Team.

However, in front of spectators gathered at the Płock airfield, Bógdał appeared not in his usual powered paraglider, but at the controls of currently one of the best STOL aircraft in the world – the Carbon Cub EX. We have already written more broadly about both Wojciech Bógdał and that type of aeroplane within our Photo of the Week series – please click the following links if you want to know more about the pilot or the aircraft.

Another noticeable display was performed by a small white-red biplane, the Hatz Classic. That aeroplane was designed by Billy Dawson and is currently produced by Makelan Corporation of New Braunfels, Texas. Essentially, the aircraft is a direct development of Hatz CB-1, two-seat biplane of an amateur construction – being a sort of smaller version of Waco F series aircraft – developed in the late 1960s by John Hatz.

Hatz Classic

Similarly to its predecessor, the Hatz Classic is offered as a kit or just in form of plans for self-build. Airframe structure of the aircraft is a classic combination of wood and metal, covered mostly with linen. But, unlike the CB-1, the Classic version features, inter alia, a more rounded fuselage and redesigned, more spacious cabins, that offer better comfort for the crew. The Hatz Classic aeroplane is capable of basic aerobatics.

The aircraft that appeared at the Aviation Rally in Płock, was built in Poland in 2016 based on orignal plans. Unlike most aircraft of this type – that are usually powered by a four-cylinder, in-line Lycoming O-320 engine – this very example is equipped with nine-cylinder radial Rotec R3600 engine. And that definitely adds even more classic look to the aircraft. That biplane can often be seen at air shows in Poland, always arousing public interest. Certainly, the event in Płock was no different.

Only the fact that the weather tried to thwart the plans for the event was a bit regretful. Although initially the day was quite sunny with only partial overcast, soon the sky began to cloud over – especially with the beginning of the demonstration flights – eventually resulting in rain in the late afternoon. That challenging weather can be seen in our photos, taken during the event. Regrettably, with some negative impact on them.

In addition to the aforementioned aviation attractions the Aviation Rally in Płock offered also an exhibition of vintage cars, military vehicles and motocycles, as well as a number of stands, where visitors to the airfield could buy aviation gadgets and souvenirs.

In conclusion, this year’s ‘Aeroplanes, Helicopters and Autogyros Rally’ in Płock was one of those local, small aviation events that are definitely worth going to – and just spending a nice time at the airfield. In particular during such a special holiday, like the Polish Aviation Day is.

More images from the Aviation Rally in Płock: