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KOCJAN, Antoni

* 12. 8. 1902, Skalskie at Krakow, Poland
† 13. 8. 1944, Warsaw, Poland

constructor (aeroplane)

After finishing the Gymnasium in Olkusz in 1923, Kocjan studied at the Warsaw University of Technology at the Department of Electrical Engineering and Aviation. He specialised in the wood construction technique for aeroplane construction. Kocjan was in charge of the workshops of the aviation section of the students’ mechanical department at this college, where he constructed „RWD“ aeroplanes, together with the constructors Stanisław Rogalski, Stanisław Wigura and Jerzy Drzewiecki. In 1929 he received his aviation diploma and set a new international height record of 4004 m together with Franciszek Żwirka in 1931. He then improved the record with an RWD-7 aeroplane to 6023 m.
In these workshops the first two propeller powered gliders were constructed in 1928. From 1930 onwards he designed and constructed the training glider aeroplanes „Czajka I and III“, and the glider aeroplane „Czajka II“. 148 such glider aeroplanes were constructed before 1939. From 1932 onwards numerous aeroplanes were constructed in his glider aeroplane workshops in Warsaw: the training glider aeroplane „Wrona“, 450 pieces (1932); the ¬training glider aeroplane „Komar“,100 pieces (1933); the training glider aeroplane „Sroka“, 55 pieces (1934); the aerobatic glider aeroplane „Sokół“, 10 pieces (1935); the aerobatic glider aeroplane „Mewa“, 5 pieces (1936), and three versions of the aerobatic glider aeroplane „Orlik“, 17 pieces (1937).
The aerobatic glider aeroplane „Orlik III“ won second place in the Olympic Games for glider aeroplanes in Rome in 1939. In the USA Paul McCready set the new height record of 9600 m with the „Orlik II“ 1984 aeroplane. Kocjan is considered a pioneer of motor glider construction. In 1938 Michał Ofierski set the new international height record of 4595 m with an endurance flight that lasted 5 hours and 24 minutes.
Even before World War II, Finland, Estonia, Bulgaria and Palestine started serialised production of his glider aeroplanes.
From 1941 to 1944 Kocjan was head of the aviation division in the second department of the National Army’s headquarters. As a part of his counter-intelligence activities, he discovered that Germans were manufacturing rockets in Peenemünd and sent this information to the allies so the facilities could be bombed. Kocjan was shot by the Nazis on 13th August, 1944.

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