The P.W.S. 19 was a two-seat army reconnaissance aircraft based on the earlier P.W.S.1, and that came close to being ordered for the Polish Air Force before the prototype was destroyed in dive tests.
The P.W.S.1 had been designed in response to a Polish Department of Aeronautics request for a fast reconnaissance fighter powered by a 450hp Lorraine-Dietrich W-type engine. P.W.S. produced a high wing monoplane, originally using an experimental aerofoil on the wings. This aircraft made its maiden flight on 25 April 1927 and was then flown to Warsaw, revealing problems with the wing. A new wing with a different aerofoil section was built, and the modified aircraft performed better, but didn’t offer much improvement over the existing Potez and Breguet biplanes that were already in service.
Zbyslaw Ciolkosz, one of the designers of the P.W.S.1, continued to work on the basic design, and in 1929 produced the P.W.S.17, which kept the Lorraine-Dietrich engine, but in an improved airframe.
This design was then modified again to use a 500-700hp Pratt & Whitney Hornet radial engine, becoming the P.W.S.19. This version of the aircraft had a twin fin and rudder, designed to give a better field of fire for the observer’s flexibly mounted guns. The high mounted wing was built around two woods spars and was fully covered with plywood, which was then covered with fabric. The fuselage was built around a welded steel tube structure, faired to produce a circular cross section. The forward part and cockpit deck used duralumin, the rest of the fuselage was fabric covered. It was armed with a fixed forward firing machine gun, had a Scarff ring for a flexibly mounted gun in the observer’s position and had Swiatecki bomb racks that could carry up to 22 22lb or 27.5lb fragmentation bombs.
Although the Department of Aeronautics didn’t commit to funding a prototype, P.W.S. decided to build one anyway. This aircraft was powered by a 520hp Hornet T2 engine, and made its maiden flight in August 1931. The aircraft handled well, and its performance was good enough to interest the Polish military. In 1932 it underwent Service evaluation trials, and was found to be a docile, easy to fly aircraft, which would tolerate inexperienced pilots. Changes to the engine cowling and larger rudders were requested.
During 1932 the Department of Aeronautics begin to consider ordering the P.W.S.19 as an interim army co-operation aircraft, to fill the gap before the hoped for arrival of the P.Z.L. P.23 Karas.
Before they were willing to place an order, the department asked P.W.S. to carry out more diving tests at the aircraft’s full loaded weight. On 17 March 1933 the aircraft took off for these tests, piloted by Kazimierz Kazmierczuk, and with a soldier playing the part of the observer. However during the dive the aircraft stopped responded to the controls. The soldier refused to use his parachute, but Kazmierczuk jumped just in time, before the aircraft crashed, killing the soldier. Unsurprisingly this ended official interest in the P.W.S.19. The company were still convinced the design had promise, and it was the basis of their U-6 and Z-7 designs for two-seat army reconnaissance aircraft, neither of which interested the military.
Engine: Pratt & Whitney Hornet radial engine
Span: 47ft 7in
Length: 29ft 8.75in
Height: 10ft 4.75in
Empty Weight: 2,954lb
Maximum loaded Weight: 4,761lb
Maximum Speed: 158.4mph at sea level
Climb rate: 17min to 16,404ft
Range: 435 miles
Guns: Fixed forward firing machine gun, flexibly mounted gun on Scarff ring
Bomb load: Twenty two 22lb or 27.5lb fragmentation bombs, up to 551lb total