PZL-44 (Panstwowe Zaklady Lotnicze - State Aircraft Factory). The PZL-44 Wicher was intended as a replacement for the Douglas DC-2 and Lockheed Model 12A and Model 14 Super Electra transports operated by P.L.L. LOT just before World War II. The Polish national airline issued a specification calling for a fourteen-passenger (four-crew, including captain, co-pilot, radio operator and steward) airliner which resulted in the Wicher designed by W. Jakimuk and built at the PZL-WP.NI works at Okecie, near Warsaw. The first flight took place on 20th March 1937, and subsequent flight evaluation was carried out at the I.B.T.L. establishment in Warsaw during the latter half of 1938. Of ail-metal construction, the sole prototype, PZL-44 (latterly registered SP-WHR), was powered by two 850-h.p. Skoda-Wright Cyclones, although for the production models the more powerful 1,000-h.p. Wright GR-1820-G2 radials had been planned. Every modern flying and navigational aid and passenger-comfort device was installed, including such items as efficient de-icing, hydraulically-operated dual controls, Sperry autopilot and "climatised" cabin conditions, thus making the PZL-44 one of the most promising pre-war airliners ever built. When war broke out for Poland on 1st September 1939 the evaluation testing ceased after the prototype had logged some two hundred flying hours, latterly by Polish airline pilots. With a span of 78 ft. 1 3/4 in., length 60ft. 7 in., and height 15 ft. 7 3/4 in., the PZL-44 had an a.u.w. of 23,100 lb,, giving a normal range of 1,140 miles, or five hours' duration at cruising speed (62.5 per cent power) of 211.2 m.p.h. at 13,120 ft. Maximum speed 234 m.p.h. at 6,560 ft. in English "Wicher" means Tempest or Storm.