Janusz Zurakowski: Legend in the Skies
Described by his peers as "the world's greatest test pilot," Janusz Zurakowski was an aeronautical engineer, combat pilot, squadron leader, and an aerobatic performer. He flew over 60 types of aircraft throughout his life and is one of the few pilots to have invented an aerobatic maneuver.
In the 1930s he became a fighter pilot in WWII, and with the fall of Poland, like many other surviving military personnel, Zurakowski began an odyssey to Rumania, France, and finally England to continue his fight. Flying a Spitfire in the Battle of Britain, he emerged as a skilled and deadly fighter pilot and continued to fly as a Squadron Leader with the Polish Air Forces until 1944.
Zurakowski's proficiency in the air led in the postwar, to a life as a test pilot, first with the RAF and later at Gloster Aircraft Company flying the Meteor. It was during his Gloster years, that he set world speed records, flew the first high-speed aerobatic photography flights, dazzled spectators with aerial demonstrations at Farnborough. In 1952, he came to Canada as the test pilot for the CF-100, Canada's first jet fighter, and the legendary but doomed Avro Arrow.
Today, Janusz Zurakowski's story transcends war and peace in the twentieth century. His legacy includes numerous awards and accolades, including:
· The Polish Cross Virtuti Militari & The Cross of Valor with two bars
· The "Pioneer of Flight" Award, Western Canada Aviation Museum
· The McKee Trophy '58 for outstanding achievements in supersonic test flying
· Induction to Canada's Aviation Hall of Fame
· Canadian Flight Test Centre in Cold Lake, Alberta is dedicated to him
· Named Honourary Fellow of International Society of Experimental Test Pilots. The 1st Canadian or Polish pilot to belong to the Society.
- Inbunden/hårda pärmar
- Bill Zuk