Aviation Pioneers

Alfons Jan Nagórski, Polish Aviation Pioneer

Although the lives of aviation pioneers are worth learning about and full of many important lessons, we tend to forget about some important people in aviation that have contributed a lot to the industry as a whole. These brave and diligent people have paved the way for this industry to become what it is today. Therefore, these people have impacted our lives greatly. One of these aviation pioneers is Alfons Jan Nagórski, a successful Polish aviator. In this blog post we are going to learn about the life story about this aviator.

Alfons Jan Nagórski’s Early Life

source: wikiwand

Alfons Jan Nagórski was born in a small Polish city called Włocławek, which was within the borders of Russian Empire at the time, on the 27th of January 1888. For his education first he went to a trade school in his hometown. After finishing his education in the trade school he started going to a school in Odessa that prepared its students for military. He finally graduated from this school in 1909 at the age of 21. Then he went on to get his pilot’s training at the Naval Engineering School in Gatchina and eventually became one of the first pilots of the Imperial Russia.

Aviation Career Of Alfons Jan Nagórski

As soon as Alfons Jan Nagórski got his pilot’s license, he started serving in the Imperial Russian Navy as an aviator. There he took on many difficult missions and had lots of experience flying. For one of his earliest missions, he was supposed to three Russian explorers that got lost in the Arctic. He flew more than ten hours in the Arctic in a Maurice Farman MF.11 Shorthorn trying to find these explorers. Even though the mission was a failure in the end, this made Alfons Jan Nagórski the first aviator that flew this deep into the North Pole. As a result of his bravery for taking on this difficult mission, he was given an Order of Saint Stanislaus award in 1914.

After this dangerous Arctic mission, Alfons Jan Nagórski took part in World War I. During this time he successfully completed numerous patrol missions while serving for his country. While he was on one of these patrol missions, he managed to become the first aviator to perform a loop with a flying boat. This shows us that he was a very skilled aviator who had great control over the aircraft that he was operating. When the war was over, he was given five medals in total for his service.

His Later Life And Death

While he was still serving in the Russian Army, the Russian Civil War broke out and he fought for the Red Army. As the war was going on, he was declared dead due to some mistakes. Then, he went to Poland and lived there quieter life working as an engineer. Many people thought that he was dead until he showed himself at a lecture on polar exploration. Then, he worked on a book about his flights over the Arctic, which was published in 1958. He died on the 9th of June 1976 at the age of 88 in Warsaw, Poland.


Anon. (n.d.), Jan Nagórski, Wikipedia, Retrieved 16 December 2021

< https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jan_Nag%C3%B3rski >

Tomasz Otłowski (18 September 2019), Dead to the World, Polska Zbrojna, Retrieved 16 December 2021

< http://www.polska-zbrojna.pl/home/articleshow/29268?t=Dead-to-the-World >