Historical information

The Salamandra is a Polish glider designed by Waclaw Czerwinski at the Military Glider Workshops in Krakow in 1936. This glider, designated “W.W.S.1”, was produced in substantial numbers prior to the second world war and used in Poland and some other eastern European countries for training pilots. Only one example survived the war, hidden away in the village of Goleszow in Silesia. In addition, no technical drawings could be found, so when the glider was discovered, the Gliding Institute being keen to re-establish gliding in Poland, used the glider to draw up new plans for construction. Five were built for the Institute in 1947 before production was resumed of the “Salamandra 48” at the SZD Jezow Workshops. Improvement were made by adding airbrakes and structural changes for the “Salamandra 49” and a windscreen and larger tailplane were changes adopted for the “Salamandra 53”. An export version designated “53A” was sold to and built under licence in China. Production of the Salamandra ceased in the early 1960s. Total production may have been in excess of 500. The glider was well regarded as a light weight trainer capable of soaring performance.

The Museum’s replica was built by Ray Ash and may be may be classified as a “Salamandra 53”. However, he has added something of his own to the design by replacing the cable runs in the wings with control rods. The glider is substantially complete. The wings and tail / rudder surfaces have been covered with poly-fibre fabric. The fuselage woodwork is sealed with varnish. In addition to the finishing work (including painting) and rigging of the main components, the linkages for Ray’s control rod modification may need further engineering to make them operational.


The Ray Ash Salamandra is the first of the type to appear in Australia. The Salamandra did not play any role in the development of gliding in Australia in the early years. However, it is an important exhibit in that it shows in tangible form a nacelle fuselage training glider in configuration and construction detail. As such it revisits the pioneering era of the 1930s and 1940s in Australia when wood, wire and fabric were the rule and the nacelle primary glider was generally the first step up for pilots who had mastered the basics in an open primary.

Physical description

Nacelled solo training glider of traditional wood and fabric construction. Construction incomplete.

Inscriptions & markings