This project is a tribute to my great-grandfather, Jan Nagorski, pioneer of aviation and the first Arctic pilot. The project includes:
- - Building a replica of the Maurice Farman MF-11 aeroplane
- - Transportation of the aircraft from Birmingham to Murmansk through Europe
- - Transportation by sea to Novaya Zemlya, an arctic island
- - Flying above the Barents SeaReturning to Birmingham through Arkhangelsk
Repeating my grandfather’s achievement, I would like to tell his story full of adventures. At the same time this is a great opportunity to show how much the Arctic has changed over the past 100 years. The main goal of our project is to promote the Arctic and its natural environment, therefore we would like to organise various events promoting environmental science; the materials gathered from the expedition will be presented in the media.
Jan Nagorski flew his plane to rescue a polar expedition in the Arctic. We are not going there to save anyone. We are going there to save the Arctic.
The idea of this venture was created in 2014, on the 100th anniversary of the first flight over the Arctic. Three rescue teams went to search for the group of Siedow, Brusilow and Rusanow who had gone missing in the middle of the Arctic in autumn 1914. For the first time in history it was decided to utilise aircraft. The first team, lead by civillian pilot Jewsiukow, established after reaching the destination that it was impossible to use an aircraft in the Arctic. The second one, Colonel Aleksandrow, crashed his Farman during take-off. Only my grandfather managed to take-off and on top of that he performed a series of other missions in severe arctic conditions.
It turned out that it was unable to locate the lost expedition but Nagorski’s expedition found the tin with Siedow’s diary in a cottage on the Pankratjew Island. His Arctic flights were a milestone achievement in Arctic exploration. It is worth mentioning that the aviation at the time was still very primitive. 11 years prior to this, Wright brothers made their first successful aeroplane flight. Orville Wright made a flight of 37 metres which lasted only 12 seconds. Maurice Farman MF-11 aeroplane, which my Grandfather flew looked rather more like a kite than an aircraft, and was affectionately known as ‘the canaries’ cage’.
I am fully aware of the costs and difficulties associated with the construction of a replica of the MF-11 aircraft. Therefore I am considering the alternative of using modern structures and materials which would allow for comparable flight conditions. Gyrocopter is being considered as an option.
We welcome everyone who would like to participate in this unusual project which is a huge challenge. If you think there is anything you could do for making this project a success, or you have any information or suggestions, which in your opinion are valuable or if you wish to become one of the sponsors, experts or volunteers don’t wait, just get in touch with us.
The Arctic Back project has also got a personal meaning for me. My Grandfather was an extraordinary man and I would love to re-enact the story of his expedition. When he moved from Gdansk to Warsaw I lost close contact with him, but as well as him I have been passionate about the Arctic and the history of polar expeditions. I too became a pilot and an aircraft engineer, as the only man in my family, therefore it has been his widow’s, Antonina Nagorska, wish for me to be his successor. There is something else too…. Exactly at the same time when he passed away, I was performing my first flights at the Aero club in Gdansk. Sometimes you feel you have to do this…