After the completion of the design, construction and modernization of the combat trainer aircraft I-22 Iryda, the Institute of Aviation redefined its program of activities. This was given the name “Light Aircraft and Security Program”.Within this framework, the lightweight four-seater composite aircraft of the new generation I-23 Manager was created.
Construction and testing work on the I-23 Manager began in 1994 on the basis of a tripartite agreement between the Committee for Scientific Research, PZL-Świdnik S.A. and the Institute of Aviation for a target project called “A new generation four-seater aircraft – I-23”.
Earlier, the Institute of Aviation carried out studies and predictive work on the development of a general-purpose aircraft, in particular small jets. Based on the results of this work, requirements were formulated and a business plan was developed for the implementation of aircraft production.
Under the agreement, the executor of construction-research was the Institute of Aviation, and the contractor prototype PZL Świdnik S.A. The suppliers of composite materials (glass and carbon fabrics, resins, adhesives, prepregs), equipment and avionics, and the drive unit were mainly foreign companies.
Supervision of the construction of the I-23 Manager was led by the Inspectorate for the Control of Civil Aircraft.
Construction work on the I-23 Manager was assisted by the implementation of a broad program of research including:
- aerodynamic and optimizing testing of the geometry of the aircraft and high excellence profiles,
- studies of the properties of composite materials made of epoxy resin reinforced with glass fibres and carbon moulded by various methods,
- studies of the links between metal and composite parts,
- technological research,
- endurance tests of systems and the whole plane,
- dynamic undercarriage testing,
- functional testing of systems and devices,
- cabin ergonomics testing,
- aircraft resonance testing.
The first two prototypes of the aircraft – one for endurance testing, and the second for the flight test, were made in 1998.The first flight of the aircraft took place on February 10, 1999.The flight test program, which provides optimization testing and covers the full range of measurements demonstrating compliance with the requirements of FAR-23 regulations with amendment 42, was executed at the Institute of Aviation in 1999-2000.
In 2001 certification testing of the aircraft was completed, and a certificate of compliance with the airworthiness requirements specified in the provisions of US FAR-23 was earned. The owners of the Type Certificates are the Institute of Aviation and PZL Świdnik S.A.
In 1997, the aircraft design was nominated for the Technology Agency Award, and in 2000 the aircraft makers’ team was awarded second prize in the Master of Technology Contest in Warsaw.
The aircraft received numerous positive ratings from famous designers and aviation experts.
The PZL Świdnik SA Aircraft Factory was prepared for serial manufacture of the aircraft.It was to be produced in three engine variants: 160, 180 and 200 hp, and with various equipment options. As a result of the planned transformation of ownership and changes in the structure of production in the early 2000s, PZL Świdnik SA withdrew from the start of serial production of the aircraft. The prototype I-23 aircraft was transferred to the Aviation Training Centre at the Rzeszów University of Technology, where it serves to this day for pilot training and is also used as a platform to conduct in-flight research of new designs of aircraft systems.
Off weight: 1150 kg
Cruising speed: 280 km/h
Range: 1430 km
Chief Constructor: Dr. Eng. Alfred Baron.
Source: Alfred Baron, “I-23 Manager Passenger Aircraft. Selected research problems” Historical Library of the Institute of Aviation, Scientific Publishing House of the Institute of Aviation, Warsaw 2012