- Jan Nagórski
Jan Nagórski (1888–1976), also known by his Russified name of "Ivan Nagurski" ("Иван Нагурский")) was a Polish engineer and pioneer of aviation, the first person to fly an airplane in the
Arcticand the first aviator to perform a loop with a flying boat.
Jan Nagórski was born on
January 27, 1888in Włocławek, then part of the Imperial Russia. He completed a local trade school and in 1909 graduated from an infantry junker school in Odessaand the All-Russian Aeroclub in 1912. The following year he accomplished his training at the Naval Engineering School in Gatchinanear St. Petersburgwhere he earned his wings. He was among the first pilots of the Imperial Russian Navy. In 1914 Nagórski was tasked with the difficult mission of locating the expedition of Georgy Sedov, Georgy Brusilov, and Vladimir Rusanovin the Russian Arctic. In a Maurice Farman MF11 plane, specially purchased for that purpose in France, Nagórski embarked on a ship in Arkhangelskand arrived to Novaya Zemlya, whence he initiated a series of reconnaissance flights in difficult Arctic conditions. Between August 21and September 13, 1914, he flew five missions, spending more than ten hours in the air and travelling more than a thousand kilometres over land and the Barents Sea. During the last flight he reached the 76th parallel. Nagórski failed to find Sedov's expedition, but he gained valuable experience as the first polar aviator in history. His report to the Admiralty prepared after his return, as well as a report of Nagórski's achievements by Admiral Mikhail Zhdankoref|Zhdanko, included a number of suggestions that would prove invaluable to every polar aviator. Among them was the idea of painting red all the planes operating in the Arctic, to make them more visible. His achievements proved that the North Polecould be reached by airplane.
Upon his return from the Arctic, Nagórski returned to active service in naval aviation during
World War I. Stationed in Åbo(Turku) in Finland, he operated a variety of planes on patrol missions above the Baltic Seaand commanded an air squadron of the Baltic Fleet. During that time, he performed the first ever loop with a flying boat ( September 17, 1916). The following day Nagórski repeated the loop twice with his experimental GrigorovichM-9 plane. For his wartime service, Nagórski was awarded with five Russian military medals. The following year his plane was damaged above the Baltic Sea and Nagórski was declared missing. After several hours at sea, he was rescued by a Russian submarineand escorted to a military hospital in Riga. He quickly recovered and returned to his unit, but the report of his recovery never reached headquarters.
October Revolution, Nagórski's unit became a part of the Red Armyand took part in the Russian Civil War. He returned to Poland in 1919 and attempted to join the Polish Navy, but was turned down due to his past service with the Reds. In the chaos of the Russian Civil War, Nagórski's personal files were lost and he was declared dead by Russian authoritiesref|missing. He then settled in southern Poland and started working as an engineer and designer of refrigerators and coolers for the sugar and oil industries. In 1925 Nagórski's report of his flights to the Arctic reached Richard Byrd, who contacted him and asked for more details on weather conditions and other tips. The information obtained proved valuable during his later Arctic and Antarctic expeditions. Among other pioneers of Arctic aviation to take advantage of Nagórski's experience were Walter Mittelholzerand Boris Chukhnovsky. Forgotten in Poland and believed dead in Russia, Nagórski gained much fame without even knowing it. In 1936 the "Nagurskoye" meteorological station in Franz Josef Land(coord|80|49|N|47|25|E|) was named after him.
World War IIand continued his career as a civil worker in Gdańskand then as an engineer in Warsaw. In 1955, during one of his lectures, Czesław Centkiewicz, a renowned Polish polar explorer and author, presented the audience with a short biographical note of a "long-forgotten pioneer of aviation, Russian pilot Ivan Nagurski who died in 1917". Nagórski, who remained interested in exploration of the polar areas and was present at the lecture stood up and announced that he was not Russian and definitely not dead. This revelation became widely publicised by the Polish media and Nagórski's achievements were rediscovered. On Centkiewicz's suggestion, Nagórski described his Arctic flights in a book entitled "The First Above Arctic"ref|Pierwszy (1958). In 1960 he published "Over the Burning Baltic", the memoirs of his World War I service.ref|Nad As a late recognition of his deeds, Nagórski was awarded the Polonia Restitutamedal by Polish authorities. He died on June 9, 1976and was buried at the Wólka Węglowacemetery.
# Zhdanko, M.E. "Первый гидроаэроплан в Северном Ледовитом океане" (The First hydro-aeroplane over the Northern Ocean), Petrograd, 1917.
# Initially Soviet encyclopedias, including the
Great Soviet Encyclopedia, claimed that Nagórski was killed in action in 1917. It was not until 1974 when both the biographical note and Nagórski's name were corrected in most Soviet publication under insistence from Ryszard Badowski (see also references No. 3 and 6).
# see reference No. 4
# see reference No. 5
# cite book | author=Jerzy Ryszard Konieczny | title = Kronika lotnictwa polskiego 1241-1945 | year =1984 | pages =153 | publisher = Wydawnictwa Komunikacji i Łączności | location =Warsaw | id =ISBN 8320604265
# cite book | author=A.B. Grigoriev | title =Альбатросы: Из истории гидроавиации (Albatroses: from the history of hydroaviation) | year = 1989 | pages =272 | publisher =Машиностроение | location =Moscow | id =ISBN 5217006048 | url=http://militera.lib.ru/tw/grigoryev/01.html
* [http://www.ctrl-c.liu.se/misc/RAM/m-9.html M-9 hydroplane]
* [http://www.worldwar1.com/dbc/farman11.htm Maurice-Farman M11]
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