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Discussion Starter #1
During our recent family holiday on the Polish island of Wolin, we happened to drive by a backyard filled with scrap of all sorts of things, some aircraft wrecks among them.
This is, e.g., a decommissioned ex-German Army Alouette II helicopter:



But it was a much more unusual plane which caught my attention as I cannot seem to find out what type of airplane it is:



The pictures were taken from the road. We rang the bell, but no one answered, so we were unable to ascertain the type of airplane, or even its country of origin. While it looks old enough to date to the Cold War era, the ex-German Alouette next to it goes to show that the plane in question need not necessarily be an Eastern Bloc type.
The mystery airplane has a set of distinctive features which may help in its identification: a central fuselage, above which appears to be a single jet engine, topped by straight wings (in the foreground on some of the following pictures). Twin booms extend from the wings to the large-sized twin vertical stabilizers (apprently inverted), with what looks like the horizontal stabilizer missing. Somewhat unusually, there are very large vertical structures underneath both wings where the tail boom intersects the wing.

Let us take a step-by-step tour of the plane:

This picture shows the unusual vertical structures underneath the wings:



The fuselage, topped by the jet engine which appears to connect the fuselage with the wing. Note the dismantled straight wings in the foreground:



A view of the front end with the cabin door …



… and a more detailed view of the cockpit. Note the slanted front end of the vertical underwing structure in the far right of the picture:



The jet intake on top of the central fuselage … I think this is a full-sized jet engine, not an APU-type of secondary engine:



Rear end of the central fuselage (I could not tell whether there are clamshell doors, or another type of opening at the fuselage rear end), the jet exhaust, and the two vertical structures underneath the wings. Note the jagged front end of the port vertical structure, the lower part of which is visible in the cockpit shot above :



Another shot of the same center section, showing the starboard boom assembly and its integration with the vertical underwing structure:



This appears to be the port main landing gear extending from the underwing structure. For a while I was thinking the plane might be an amphibian, but the underside of the fuselage front end does look quite conventional …:



From the 8 o’clock position the layout of the empennage is clearly visible. The port tail boom is missing:



A close-up of the large vertical stabilizers with what I think are attachment points for the missing horizontal stabilizer. I think the stabilizers are placed front-to-back, and perhaps upside down:



Another view of the vertical stabilizers, the starboard tail boom and the starboard underwing structure:



And finally, a shot from the rear showing the box-like shape formed by the wings, the vertical structures and the large vertical stabilizers. The port tail boom is disconnected from the vertical stabilizers:



Any help to identify the airplane will be much appreciated!
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Re: Mystery Plane in Polish Backyard - Please Help Identify

Bull's eye ... :-!

I am glad I was right in that the plane's design is a bit off the beaten tracks ... ;-)

The Mielec M-15 was a jet agricultural aircraft, manufactured by PZL Mielec in Poland for the USSR agricultural aviation. It was the only jet biplane and only jet agricultural plane in the world.
(Source: the Wikipedia article referenced in the previous post).

Apparently the idea was to use the airflow from the jet engine to increase the spray area of the chemicals, hence the Soviet insistence on jet propulsion.

Apparently a number of pre-series aircraft were produced, which may explain variations of the nose section in pictures. Overall, only between 120 and 175 airframes were produced. (Source: German Wikipedia article http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/PZL_M-15_Belphegor).
 

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Re: Mystery Plane in Polish Backyard - Please Help Identify

What a unique best! Odd, but cool.
 

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Re: Mystery Plane in Polish Backyard - Please Help Identify

Apparently the idea was to use the airflow from the jet engine to increase the spray area of the chemicals, hence the Soviet insistence on jet propulsion.
Hi -

Now I know where I saw this one! Back in the late 1980s this was discussed as an example of dual-usage in an article in the Austrian Military Journal ÖMZ, as it could also be used not only in agriculture, but also as a chemical weapons delivery vehicle.

The operational profile was for it to fly very low, below "normal" radar, difficult to detect because it lacked the turning propeller to generate a large radar return (strobe effect). Loaded with a persistent chemical agent, it could lay down what would basically be no-entry zones to deny access to these areas, and with a full load of, say, VX or its equivalent, could cover a straight-line path of around 300m by 60km or so, which could, theoretically, be used to "paint" no-go-zones in the battlefield that couldn't be entered without donning proper equipment (and which, since the establishment of the zones would have been relatively stealthy, could be used for wide-area denial for NATO logistics, among other uses). The general tenor (remember, this was an article on dual-use equipment from a neutral (non-NATO or Warsaw Pact) source) was that this type of aircraft was of legitimate concern for any sort of treaty on banning delivery systems for chemical weapons.

Boy, that brings up memories...

JohnF

PS: Cool find. :)
 

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Re: Mystery Plane in Polish Backyard - Please Help Identify

Now I know where I saw this one! Back in the late 1980s this was discussed as an example of dual-usage in an article in the Austrian Military Journal ÖMZ
Ok, that's neat. Just not information I'd ever expect to run across on a watch forum, but very cool.
 

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Re: Mystery Plane in Polish Backyard - Please Help Identify

That is really really cool. Looks like it would nose over when you apply full power though.... Much like the Cirrus Jet and PiperJet do?
 

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Re: Mystery Plane in Polish Backyard - Please Help Identify

You can not compare this beauty to anything stapled together by Cirrus or Piper. This is a design made by true Comrades. Their designs always work beautifully, I guess about 300% better than designed, and at least 1000% more efficiently than anything made by starving and opressed workers in the West.

If you look closely, all it needs is a light polish, some moderately clean kerosene, and it can work for another 25 years!!!
 

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Re: Mystery Plane in Polish Backyard - Please Help Identify

If you look closely, all it needs is a light polish, some moderately clean kerosene, and it can work for another 25 years!!!
And a new instrument panel, by the looks of it...

cheers.
 

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Re: Mystery Plane in Polish Backyard - Please Help Identify

The "Russian" designers were/are very practical minded people. This particular airplane has high ground clearance and the engine placement protects it from FOD, etc. If you could blend our technology with their designs, you would build great aircraft.....
 

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Re: Mystery Plane in Polish Backyard - Please Help Identify

You can not compare this beauty to anything stapled together by Cirrus or Piper. This is a design made by true Comrades. Their designs always work beautifully, I guess about 300% better than designed, and at least 1000% more efficiently than anything made by starving and opressed workers in the West.

If you look closely, all it needs is a light polish, some moderately clean kerosene, and it can work for another 25 years!!!
Haha.... Your post just made my day. Thank you.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Re: Mystery Plane in Polish Backyard - Please Help Identify

The "Russian" designers were/are very practical minded people. This particular airplane has high ground clearance and the engine placement protects it from FOD, etc. If you could blend our technology with their designs, you would build great aircraft.....
Yep, there is a decided emphasis on ruggedness and robustness in Soviet/Eastern Bloc design. There is an appeal of its own in this simplicity, just as there is in ultimate refinement.

In WWII, the US, to some extent, followed a rugged design philosophy: the engine of the Sherman tanks was clobbered together from five truck engines, and the P-47 and the B-17 were prime examples of ruggedness.
 

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Re: Mystery Plane in Polish Backyard - Please Help Identify

B-17 were prime examples of ruggedness.
Memphis Belle, for example.

cheers.
 

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Re: Mystery Plane in Polish Backyard - Please Help Identify

Memphis Belle, for example.

cheers.
OT: The movie was -----let us say --- " gay" ?

I think it was a pity they did not do it better.
It could have been an awesome movie.

My dad used to call Soviet engineerig Tractor Engineering. Simple, robust, cheap to manufacture, easy maintainence.
 
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