To Tokyo and back with broken wing.
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To Tokyo and back with broken wing.

Flying Officer Boleslaw Orlinski was an ace military and record-breaking pilot. Together with Leonard Kubiak (engineer) he completed a daredevil challenge – a round trip flight from Warsaw to Tokyo.

Between the 27th August and 25th September 1926 our champions travelled 22,600 kilometres (there and back) on board of the Bréguet 19 A2 aircraft with a red and white chequerboard marking on its wings. They did so despite severe damages suffered to the propeller and lower span of the plane as a result of a bad landing in Mongolia. They covered the final 6680 kilometres with the left lower wing partially removed and an extremely overexerted engine.

To make matters worse, on its return journey the aircraft started to run low on oil which forced the record-breakers to supplement it with castor oil. They used wood glue to repair the broken wing and asked the women of Buryat to mend the fabric which covered the aircraft’s construction.

In Japan our aviators were received with full honours. Orlinski received the Japanese Order of the Rising Sun, 6th Class which is the third most important order in Japan. He also received the Merit Badge of the Imperial Japanese Aviation Society in Gold.

The efforts of our brave aviators, whose achievement was by far the greatest among even those of pilots flying for the largest empires, were recognised and rewarded by the Polish government. Upon his return Orlinski was promoted to the rank of captain and gifted a plot of land near Mokotow Stronghold by the city of Warsaw. This is where he built his house.

Kubiak returned to Szamotuly – his home town – where he was awarded honorary citizenship and received a beautiful golden watch from the mayor. Welcomed with warm applause he told exciting stories of his adventures during which, on more than one occasion, he stared into the face of death only to survive to live another day.

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