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Polish/Polish-Canadian Aviator Janusz Zurakowski - Barry's Bay, Ontario
Graj, Panu, Graj!

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    Janusz Żurakowski was considered to be the greatest test pilot of his time. He was a Polish Canadian who was at the forefront of the cutting edge of aviation technology. This true pioneer -- an outstanding fighter pilot, squadron leader, aerobatic performer and test pilot was one of the most famous Poles in Canadian history.
    Janusz was born in Ryzawka (in today's Ukraine) and in 1921 he and his family moved to Poland where he was educated at Garwolin and Lublin. In 1932, while attending high school he learned to fly gliders, and in 1934 joined the Polish Air Force. In 1937, he was promoted to Sub-Lieutenant Pilot and posted to No. 161 Fighter Squadron in Lwów, Poland. At the outbreak of World War ll he became an 

Polish/Polish-Canadian Aviator Janusz Żurakowski - Barry's Bay, Ontario
instructor at the Central Flying School, and while flying an obsolete fighter/trainer scored his first success against a German aircraft.
    When the Polish Army was defeated, Janusz escaped to England and joined the Polish Air Force. In the beginning of the Battle of Britain, he was fighting in the 234 & 609 British Air Force Squadrons along with many Polish pilots, and he was credited with destroying three enemy aircraft in combat. In April 1942 he was promoted to Flight Lieutenant an several months after took command of No. 316 Polish Fighter Squadron. The following year he was named Deputy Wing Leader of the Northolt Wing.
    In 1945, after completing the Empire Test Pilot's Course he was posted to the Aircraft and Armament Experiment Establishment in Boscombe Down testing over 40 different new aircraft from different countries. At war's end Janusz joined the Gloster Aircraft Company as chief experimental pilot working on the speed record between London-Copenhagen. In 1951, while flying a Meteor at the Farnborough Air Show in England, he demonstrated a new aerobatic manoeuver, known as the "Zurabatic Cartwheel"- considered to be the only new manoeuver in 20 years.
    In 1952 Janusz immigrated to Canada with his wife Anna and two sons -- George and Marek, to join Avro Aircraft Limited at Toronto, Ontario as chief developmental pilot. That same year he broke the sound barrier in  CF-100 Mk 4 fighter aircraft - the first Canadian design to reach that speed.
    For the next few years he worked as test pilot on the development of the CF-100 aircraft, while construction of a new Canadian supersonic aircraft was in progress. On March 25, 1958 he completed the first flight of the Arrow prototype. On the seventh flight he exceeded 1000 miles an hour and in August flew the second prototype. In February 1959, production of the aircraft was cancelled by the Government of Canada.
    After cancellation of the Avro Arrow project in 1959, despite lucrative offers from American aeronautical companies, Żurakowski decided to stay in Canada. In Barry's Bay,Ontario he opened along with his wife and sons, a tourist resort - Kaszuby Lodge that soon became a shelter for Polish tradition and culture.
     In 2003 Zurakowski Park was created by the local community of Barry's Bay to honour this world-renowned test pilot. Janusz Żurakowski died at his home on February 9, 2004 and is buried in Barry's Bay.

​    Janusz was named a Member of Canada's Aviation Hall of Fame in 1973 with the following citation:

"The dedication of his aeronautical skills to the successful flight testing of Canada's first supersonic aircraft resulted in outstanding benefit to Canadian aviation."

Zurakowski Park at Barry's Bay, Ontario, Canada
Zurakowski Park 
at Barry's Bay, Ontario, Canada
Replica of the Spitfire flown by Janusz Żurakowski in the Battle of Britain

  One of the most recognizable aircraft to come out of WW ll, and the only one to be in production prior to, during, and after that conflict. Zura flew the Spitfire Mark 1 in he Battle of Britain, and later versions on subsequent duty with squadrons of the Polish Air Force in England.

You can read more about Janusz Żurakowski in Edward Zawadzki's bestseller, "The Poles of the New World".