Bezmiechowa is a peaceful village situated at the foot of the Słonne range of the Bieszczady mountains near Lake Solina, roughly a 2-hour drive from the main campus. The towering “sacred mountain of glider pilots” was discovered by student pilots from the University in 1928, and is a world-class location due to the combination of its unique terrain and local climate. The slope of the mountain and stiff southern breezes that are present for most of the year make it possible to launch long-running day and night flights using bungee ropes.
The period between 1931 and 1938 is considered to have been the heyday for gliding in Poland. The famous hill hosted legendary
pilots of the period such as: Franciszek Żwirko and Stanisław Wigura. In 1937, Wanda Modlibowska flew over the hill for over a full day, establishing a new world record at the time; and Tadeusz Góra performed no mean feat – after setting off from Bezmiechowa, he reached the city of Vilnius, a record for the longest flight in that era – an astounding 577.8 kilometres.
Unfortunately, the start of the Second World War put paid to the undertaking. Not until 20 years later was the mountain “rediscovered” by the members of the student body, who cleared the slope and removed debris, with students from Warsaw Univ. of Technology joining in later. Hang-gliding flights were conducted, landsurveys were made, and soon Bezmiechowa returned to being a vibrant place.
The University took an active part in re-establishing the Gliding Academy there, by purchasing an 11-hectare area including the airfield in 1995. In 2001, on the 63rd anniversary of Góra’s flight, the founding charter of the University Gliding Centre was enacted in a solemn ceremony held atop the mountain. Following this, in 2004, along with the commencement ceremony of the University Gliding Centre (named in honour of Colonel Góra), the joint-research facility of Rzeszów and Warsaw Universities of Technology was opened.
The aircraft lab does research primarily concerning:
- Construction and testing of unmanned aircraft
- Electric motors in aviation – including gliders
Students come together to design and construct remote-controlled aeroplanes, and their research is done with the Aviation Association of Young Engineers. In addition, the group holds competitions and gives dissertation workshops for students involved in aviation construction.