Legend in the Skies
The story of Colonel (Squadron Leader) Janusz Zurakowski spans most of the first 50 years of military aviation, in war and peace. Born in Russia to Polish parents, Janusz first took control of a training aircraft in September 1939 and pitted his skills against Luftwaffe bombers. When Poland fell he travelled to England to join the RAF.
Flying a Spitfire in the Battle of Britain with both the ‘Warsaw Group’ and 234 Squadron, Janusz rose to command a fighter squadron and led the Northolt Wing, flying over 150 operational flights with Polish RAF squadrons alone. Graduating from the Empire Test Pilot’s School at the end of WWII, he tested all the RAF’s latest aircraft, before joining the Gloster Aircraft Company to test fly the Meteor. A brilliant aerobatic pilot, Janusz invented the ‘Zurabatic cartwheel’, which remains one of the most incredible jet aircraft manoeuvres ever performed.
Following a spectacular career in England, Janusz moved to Canada in 1952 as test pilot with AV Roe Ltd on Canada’s first jet fighter – the CF-100 – and later the doomed supersonic interceptor aircraft, the CF-105 Avro Arrow.
An outstanding airman in both war and peacetime, Zurakowski is regarded by many as ‘a rare combination of skilled engineer, painstaking test pilot and unparalleled display pilot’.
Dimensions: 234mm x 156mm
Photos/Illus: Over 75 b&w photographs