PZL P.50a Jastrzab

These panels are from Secret Origins No. 45, October 1989. All though this comic is actually part of the Blackhawk continuity started by Howard Chaykin's mini-series, except for the use of the name Janos Prohaska, the actual origin story told in this book is consistent with the origin story in the original series. Its identification of the PZL P.50a as the fighter Blackhawk flew against the Germans is believable. The P.50a was Poland's most advanced fighter when the Germans invaded in September, 1939. Only a few had been produced and the couple that did get into the air did not make a significant difference to Poland's defense. In the comic, the P.50a was called the "Jastrzeb," which it translated as "Hawk." Thus the black painted Jastrzeb was the source for the name "../." However, the model kit's instruction sheet identified the plane as the "Jastrzab." In English on the same instruction sheet is the name "Hurricane," not "Hawk." When I first posted this I asked for help in clarifying this, and I finally got it. Dariusz Tyminski, of Poland, informs me that Jastrzab in English is Hawk or, perhaps more accurately, Goshawk. He says that the "a" in Jastrzab is an approximation of the Polish letter, which he describes as a "letter a with comma (a,)." This may have led to the comic book spelling, "Jastrzeb."

Dariusz also provided some history for the real P.50 Jastrzab. The project for this fighter started in the winter of 1936/1937, under the lead of Wsiwolod Jakimiuk. It was intended to replace the PZL P.11 fighters (the final version of this line, the P.24 was produced only for export). But its test in February 1939 showed that the Jastrzab was underpowered with its Bristol Merkury VIII engine and its performance, i.e. speed, climbing, etc., wasn't good enough for line duty. Meanwhile, on the production line were about 50 planes - planned to enter to units in September 1939. Finally, the Polish HQ decided to finish 30 P.50 A's with this engine for tests and experiments, while waiting for a more powerful engine for main production. But the start of the war ended the short 'career' of the Jastrzab. The only flyable P.50, the prototype crashed on 5 September on an evacuation flight after it ran out of fuel. The pilot was Jerzy Widawski.

Chuck Davis has provided two drawings, "I did for a magazine some time ago concerning the PZL P.50 Jastrzab, based upon the drawing that appeared in Jerzy Cynk's book for Putnams. The drawings contain minor inaccuracies (there just wasn't enough reference material available to me at the time) and I hope to re-do the drawings in AutoCAD sometime in the future." The first drawing provides plans for the P.50. The second is a set of drawings shows different versions of the P.50 that might have been tried had the invasion not interfered.

PZL P.50a Model

1/72 Scale

Click here for more pictures and description of the construction process for the Blackhawks' plane.

Sven Knudson's photo of the PZL P.50a Jastrzab at the 97 IPMS Nats

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