Ostoja-Ostaszewski Stibor No. 2
J.Zynk Polish Aircraft 1893-1939 (Putnam)
Adam Ostoja-Ostaszewski, from Wzdow near Sanok, doctor of philosophy, lawyer and agriculturalist, was one of the very first aviation pioneers in Poland, beginning work in this field just before Tanski. A brief description of these experiments by the designer himself seems to be the main source of information about his designs to survive up to the present time and was until recently completely forgotten. This very inadequate and limited material, containing hardly any intelligible technical details, does not permit assessment of Ostoja-Ostaszewski's achievements and reveals the designer's considerable ignorance of the basic principles of mechanical flight. Because of this and the fact that his efforts remained very little known and had no bearing on the general development of flying in the country, one cannot attach too much significance to Ostoja-Ostaszewski's work, nor credit him with any 'firsts' in the history of early Polish aviation.
Ostoja-Ostaszewski mentioned that in 1908 he prepared a memorandum about his aeronautical activities for the Royal Society of London, but, in spite of extensive search, the author has not been able to find any trace of this document in London. The information about his designs quoted hereafter is based mainly upon his own statements.
Stibor No. 1. In 1892 the Krakow mechanic and pyrotechnist Mondrzykowski constructed under the direction of Ostoja-Ostaszewrski and at his expense a small flying model aircraft. The machine was propelled by 'a mechanism similar to the device which moves the firework called the Catherine-wheel.' The designer wrote: 'this aircraft, the Stibor No. 1, convinced me of the possibility of take-off from the ground by a heavier-than-air machine. I am convinced that this aeroplane was the first to takeoff under power of a combustion engine, the fuel for which also included petrol ... I also tested with Mondrzykowski a model of a different design. It rose to a height of about 100 m (328 ft) and remained in the air for a long time above the houses in the Krakow suburbs.' This latter model was obviously launched as a kite.
Stibor No. 2. Designed and constructed by Ostoja-Ostaszewski in Wzdow in 1908, the Stibor 2 was a full-size rotary-wing ornithopter-type flying device. The machine basically consisted of a large-diameter four-blade rotor, whose fiat-section blades were made to rotate and flap, and a vertical mast. The aircraft was powered by the muscle power of hands and feet, employment of the 'bicycle-type' transmission system being mentioned by the designer, who also envisaged the possible application of a light Antoinette engine as a supplementary source of power. On the evidence of the available photograph, however, the rigidity of the rotor blades appears to have been extremely poor, and the ideas behind the project, explained by the designer himself, were so naive and simple by the prevailing standards that they throw doubt on the competence of the whole concept.
Stibor No. 3. About 1908 Ostoja-Ostaszewski began construction of another aircraft, the Stibor 3, which he called the 'pneumatic aeroplane'. From the designer's very confused and rather incomprehensible remarks regarding this project, one could only deduce that this was an ornithopter provided with some sort of a compressed-air (or compressed-gas) system, aimed at improving the efficiency of its lifting surfaces. There is no evidence to suggest that this machine was ever completed in full-size form.
In March 1909, Ostoja-Ostaszewski entered for the world's first aviation meeting at Monaco as competitor No. 17 and was officially listed as an Austrian, but nothing is known about his participation in this event. However, the daily Dziennik Cieszyhski of 14 August, 1909, referring apparently to a model of the Stibor 3 or a similar machine launched as a kite, printed the following news item: 'Mr Ostaszewski from Wzdow recently left for Paris with an aeroplane of his own design to contend for the London Prize. Trials conducted with it permitted Mr Ostaszewski to achieve substantial results. Last time it stayed in the air for over an hour. The aircraft of Mr Ostaszewski is a biplane, its engine is driven by gas and the coupling of the wings with the engine permits full control of the kite.' He applied for patents to cover the design, but as far as is known these were never granted.