Flight to the Land of Cherry Blossoms: Exhibition in Polish Aviation Museum

Eighty-one years ago, pilot Boleslaw Orlinski and mechanic Leonard Kubiak began a spectacular journey in their Breguet 19 A2 biplane. They managed to fly to Tokyo and return to Warsaw in just 28 days. In their 10,000-kilometer odyssey they overcame several problems. The most dangerous was an oil leak which grounded their return flight near the Russian-Chinese border.

As they were waiting for an oil shipment, a whirlwind severely damaged their plane. They repaired it with the help of local women who stitched the wing covering made of canvas. Orlinski and Kubiak also had to cut off a part of the wing in order to keep the aircraft balanced. Their 1926 achievement has been widely discussed and admired both in Poland and abroad. In Japan they were honored by the emperor, who gave them Order of the Rising Sun ? the second highest decoration of that country.

Back in the home country, their flight gave motivation and pride to all pilots of the Polish Air Forces which had been created just eight years before, when Poland regained its independence. The Polish Aviation Museum is organizing a special exhibition devoted to the Orlinski and Kubiak flight. It will be open from September 7 to the end of October. The museum can be reached by tramlines 4, 15, 9, 10 from the center of the city. Apart from this exhibition, visitors can see more than 200 planes, gliders and helicopters and probably the biggest collection of aviation engines in the world. A small hangar houses machines from World War I.

All except two are the only ones in the world of their type that have survived until now. Other parts of the collection include planes from World War II and post-war times.

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