Mike Patey announces major restoration of turbine Wilga after devastating crash.
The tens of thousands of fans of the turbine-powered super STOL Draco can breathe a big sigh of relief. Mike Patey, who crashed the bright red taildragger on departure after the Stihl National Championship Air Races in Reno this fall, has announced that he is working on a major restoration of the airplane. Patey initially thought the airplane was a total loss.
The PZL-104 Wilga was designed and originally manufactured by Polish PZL Warszawa-Okecie, with a production run from 1962 through 2006. During the last few years of production, EADS (now Airbus military) produced the airplane. Through the years, the airplane has been flown with a variety of radial and piston engines ranging in power from 220 to 300 horsepower.
Draco, however, was a completely different animal. Patey had modified the wings, ailerons, flaps, rudder, elevator and landing gear to make the airplane a highly efficient backcountry beast. He attached a 680-shaft horsepower Pratt & Whitney PT6A engine to the airframe, making Draco unbeatable in STOL competitions in Valdez, Alaska, and the High Sierra Fly-In.