TS-11 Iskra 3H-1435


Sparks could be seen in the Polish skies for many decades in military aviation and, for the last few years, also in civil aviation. This year, for the first time in a very long time, an aircraft with an Indian history and in a unique paint scheme joined the fleet of civilian TS-11s – the aircraft is owned by the 303 Squadron Museum, and has been restored to flight by the FBCS.

Between 1975 and 76, 50 Iskra bis D aircraft were exported to India, where they were used at the Indian Air Force Academy in Hakimpet. In later years, 14 more were sold to India to replenish losses. In India, the Iskras were in service until the end of 2004 and, as in Poland, gained a reputation as one of the best aircraft for training combat pilots. India was the only foreign user of Sparks. The purchase of a large number of Iskras by India was one of the greatest successes of Polish industry and aviation technical thought in the post-war years.

Iskra W1760 came to the White and Red Wings Foundation, who are undoubtedly one of the most experienced centres in the restoration of the TS-11. On behalf of the 303 Squadron Museum, FBCS handled the entire process of restoring the aircraft to flying condition, as well as providing support for current and future flight operations.

The whole process began in 2021 with the preparation of the necessary documentation and the placement of the reconstruction process under the supervision of the Civil Aviation Authority. The following year, 2022, was a period of intensive work on both the airframe and the structure of the aircraft and the engine to make sure the machine was safe and all installations were working properly. The experience of mechanics who had previously worked on TS-11 maintenance in the Polish Air Force was helpful here, as well as the fact that FBCS had already rebuilt 2 other Iskras before.

The rebuilding process took place at the airport in Mielec, and after more than a year of work, the long-awaited moment finally came – in June 2023, the machine took to the air after several decades on the ground, with Tadeusz Zaworski at the controls. The first flight is always accompanied by great excitement and excitement – not only on the faces of Piotr and Kuba or the mechanics from FBCS, but also on the face of the aircraft’s owner – the 303 Squadron Foundation. Currently, this is the only Iskra in Indian colour scheme and with Indian aviation history, in flying condition in the world!