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SZD Foka 5 Glider

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SZD Foka 5 Glider

Old 8th May 2010, 17:04
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SZD Foka 5 Glider

Has any of you gliding types any knowledge/ gotchas on this vintage Polish glider? I am quite interested in buying one but have very little knowledge on the nitty gritty.
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Old 8th May 2010, 18:07
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Can't help on the glider - but you might get some useful info if you post on: Glider Pilot Network.

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Old 8th May 2010, 21:48
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OK I tried to fly one in Poland but couldn't reach the rudder pedals and at the same time get anything like full stick movement. So, unless you are tall and skinny you may have the same problem. I am told it is a bit of a lead sled. Very reclining position, which probably accounts for the difficulty I had fitting in to it, being of the short and plump variety myself. Try it for size, I suppose
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Old 8th May 2010, 22:07
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I can only offer hearsay, but all that says it's a nice glider to fly and performs at the top of the wooden glider spectrum.

It's a Polish glider, so you should expect it to spin if provoked, and to recover immediately with the correct actions - this is something to be briefed on by an experienced pilot and your CFI. Not scarily spin-prone like some (the IS-29 has a rather alarming reputation) but very positive, unlike (say) the glass K-23.

I believe it has a three-piece wing like the more common Pirat. This makes it a three-person rig unless you have cumbersome rigging aids, but assuming it rigs like a Pirat it's no big deal if the manpower is available.

The main thing to be aware of is that wood gliders are very, very difficult to resell at the moment, and likely to remain so. If you buy it, plan on never selling it (it should be cheap enough so you could write the cost off over a few years). The reason is that early glass gliders like, say, the ASW15, are available for under £6k, and these will (probably) be a bit cheaper to maintain, are certainly higher performance, and a bit easier to rig.

I would have thought that for very little more money you could buy a K6e, which seems by consensus to be the nicest wood glider ever made. Those do re-sell, though slowly.

Conclusion: decent glider with good performance for wood, you will need to keep your friends for rigging and retrieves, and it would be a reasonable buy if you plan to wear it out rather than move on to a different glider. Subject, of course, to the previous poster's caveat about fitting in to it!

Bear in mind this is all hearsay from those who've flown one, not personal experience.

[Edited to add: Piper Classique's remarks made me check, and I was thinking of the Cobra. The Foka is ultra-reclined and very narrow, with a canopy that slides forward past your toes.

They are quite uncommon, and thus perhaps even harder to sell than most wood. I have a vague memory of hearing that they have very snappy handling, with the consequent need for good piloting skills and reflexes, but that contradict's PC's lead sled comment.

Ask on gliderpilot.net and on rec.aviation.soaring and you should find someone who has flown one. As it's a bit of a rarity, I'd want to fly it before making a decision on whether to buy.]

Last edited by ProfChrisReed; 8th May 2010 at 22:18.
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Old 9th May 2010, 11:03
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Another hearsay post from someone who hasn't flown one.

Couple of guys in my old club had one and I recall they liked it a lot. Apparently fun to fly. Quite a thoroughbred with good performance, for its age at least. Loved the original VSI with +/- 30 m/s range and the static wicks, even if I'm happy that competitions these days do not consist of tens of gliders all heading for the same CB...

Then there was the seating position... suggest you try it on for size. Map management should be even more fun than in most glider cockpits!
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Old 9th May 2010, 12:02
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Back in my glider days (90-ies) I recall test fitting in some Polish gliders while on a gliding holiday in the former East Germany.
I don't recall any types but as previously mentioned some of them were a very tight fit and I was 165lbs back in those days.
I'm sure you've seen this but just in case;
PZL Bielsko SZD-24 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 9th May 2010, 16:54
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Never flew the Foka 5 but I once had a share in a Cobra (which came after it) and I loved it. It was built like a brick-built sh*thouse and it was fun to fly.
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Old 23rd Dec 2014, 23:38
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Foka glider

Hi guys my name is Mindaugas and I'm 14 years olg. I'm living in Lithuania my dad is diver but he's hobis is gliding he have only one in Lithuania SZD- foka 5 . It's good glider but very insensitive to the ruder so SZD made a new glider cobra
Cobra is foka 5 better version but my favorite glider stil foka 5 and my dad is not so young so I going to gliding school every summer and I have LAK-16m and ak7 licens I don't know how it's in English ( I have order to fly with those glider alone so I want to fly with my glider foka 5 but I want to give my dad a present and made a foka 5 RC model about one wing span 1 metter I have all radio stations and what need to fly but I don't have a foka 5 plan.i have not model but reall foka 5 plan but that paper is very olg and I don't see anything in this paper you know foka 5 is an olg wooden glider retro style so if you can help me I will be very happy and my dad will be happy to
So if you get some information about foka5 glider pls send me to mail: [email protected]

PS. Sorry for bad English I have only 6 from English leson.
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Old 24th Dec 2014, 11:26
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BEWARE - if this is the glider responsible, DON'T BUY IT, BURN IT.

I may be wrong, but if this glider was responsible for a very unfortunate fatality at Bicester, due to a problem with the rigging, it should be demolished.

The one I remember was so tricky to rig that when it was done ever so slightly incorrectly (and IMPOSSIBLE to confirm whether or not it was properly rigged)
on its SECOND launch that day, the wing came off.

And I seem to remember it was appropriately named a Foka.

Please, please, do your homework. If I am mistaken in my recollection I do apologise.
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Old 24th Dec 2014, 11:34
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Your recollection is almost correct Mary. The Bicester accident was a Foka 4. If you google AAIB Bicester Foka you can find the AAIB report into the Bicester accident which describes in detail the rigging process and the potential for a mis-rig. I must say it put me off, and I much prefer the certainty of visual confirmation that the main pins are fully home, as is the case with most other types. I presume the 5 shares the same rigging arrangement as the 4 but I don't know for sure.
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Old 24th Dec 2014, 15:17
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I agree that the Foka 5 is a very nice glider to fly.

Also that there is scope for mis-rigging - see

Air Accidents Investigation: SZD-24-4A Foka 4, G-DBZZ

however having said that, the Foka/Cobra series gliders have been rigged thousands of times without problems. The Bicester incident happened as a result of people rigging the glider without having had the proper training and experience. Never a good idea when rigging any glider.
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Old 24th Dec 2014, 16:49
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People, it appears that Mindaugas is looking for plans to build a R/C model Foka 5 as a gift. It's unliekly that mis-rigging will be a problem for that.

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Old 24th Dec 2014, 17:36
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Saab Dastard, the original poster was talking about buying a "vintage SZD Foka 5" glider presumably to personally fly with his own fragile body inside, not a model glider. Seems only fair to raise doubts about this one. Read the AAIB report mentioned by Astir 8.
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Old 24th Dec 2014, 18:12
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Mary, that was a while back. I expect he has either got his glider and learned to rig it, or got something else. For the model builder, maybe the vintage gliding club can help?
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Old 24th Dec 2014, 19:30
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oops! didn't notice the dates...obviously not fit to fly this evening!

Anyhow, enjoy Santa's Jeppson chart on the Canadian thread, Happy Landings to all and to all a good night!

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Old 24th Dec 2014, 19:43
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I may be wrong, but if this glider was responsible for a very unfortunate fatality at Bicester, due to a problem with the rigging, it should be demolished.
But equally if you portray the story correctly, the glider was rigged using the wrong tools, without super vision or the correct training, that is not the gliders fault.
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Old 25th Dec 2014, 00:33
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There don't appear to be any model plans on the net, however Graupner did do a Foka kit at one time. I can't tell if it is a 4 or a 5, as it doesn't say.

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Old 3rd Apr 2021, 03:06
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Foka 5 experience

I had a share in a Foka 5 in England in the 80s and flew it as amember of Southdown GC at Parham (Storrington).

I have 81 hrs in mine and flew it extensively on ridge and thermal flights, including my Silver Distance to Lasham. I found it a very pleasant glider too fly and it had no vices although it was reasonably sensitive in pitch. The elevator circuit actually has an anti-balance tab to increase control forces.

I sold my share to another Southdown GC member when I migrated to Australia in 1989.
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Old 3rd Apr 2021, 21:05
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Wooden gliders are like wooden boats, you don’t own one, it owns you...

This thread reminds me of a story that my club lead instructor told me, As a teenager growing up in Poland in the 1970’s he lived the glory days of a robust state run gliding program. One day he was in the back seat of a wooden 2 seater with the chain smoking very temperamental Chief Instructor. Early in the flight there was much hand waving from the Chief Instructor while he was being berated for some minor excursions from flight perfection.

Unfortunately one of the extra exaggerated hand waves resulted in the lit cigarette flying from his hands and disappearing under the front seat floor boards, shortly followed by a disconcerting smell of wood smouldering. There was a sudden silence from the front seat followed by the sound of a zipper and the sound of liquid splattering.

All taken care of , was the nonchalant report from the front seat followed by the terse command to “FLY BETTER!”

Last edited by Big Pistons Forever; 3rd Apr 2021 at 21:17.
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