We deeply regret to inform you that on June 22, 2017 in Warsaw at the age of 73, Mr. Wojciech Potkański passed away. Between 1995 and 2015 he served as the Deputy Director of the Institute of Aviation and Director’s Proxy on Research, the co-founder of the Center for Materials and Structures Research Center and the Engineering Design Center at the Institute of Aviation. The funeral ceremony will take place on June 27, 2017 at 12:00 p.m. in the church in Kozłów Biskupi near Sochaczew.
Wojciech Potkański was a specialist in aerodynamics and flutter calculations. He obtained his master’s degree in engineering at the Warsaw University of Technology in 1968 at the Faculty of Power and Aeronautical Engineering. From 1969 to 1971 he worked at the Institute of Fundamental Technological Problems of the Polish Academy of Sciences, then in 1971-1995 at WSK-Mielec. During his time at WSK-Mielec he was responsible for the aerodynamic, endurance and flutter analyses of aircraft. In the program of building M-15, M-18 and I-22 Iryda he introduced modern methods of calculating dynamics and flutter of an aiframe. In 1980 he defended his PhD thesis at the Polish Academy of Sciences on: “The aerodynamic loads of the deformable biplane in the potential flow”. In the years 1981-1995 he was a researcher at the Rzeszow University of Technology. He lectured on aerospace and flight mechanics at the Engineering and Aerospace Engineering Department.
He was one of the principal negotiators of the contract with General Electric for the design and testing of aircraft engines concluded by a co-operation agreement on April 17, 2000.
As professor Witold Wiśniowski, the director of the Institute of Aviation, recalls about that period and Wojciech Potkański’s efforts:
‘He was a specialist with great knowledge and skills, a humble, wise and prudent man. His industrial experience and knowledge strongly supported the Institute. Since 2000, Wojtek has been responsible for contacts with General Electric and overseeing the Engineering Design Center, a division of the Institute for American cooperation. In this area, his effort and commitment cannot be overestimated. To a great extent, it is thanks to him that today the employment in research for General Electric exceeds 1800 professionals.’
Starting in 2004 Wojciech Potkański participated in the implementation of the offset program connected with the purchase of F-16 and CASA-295 aircraft. The result of this activity was the rapid development of materials and construction research laboratories. Offset programs were the starting point for the Institute of Aviation on a national (WSK Rzeszów, PZL Mielec) and a global market for advanced research services in this field.
Wojciech Potkański was active in the AVT Panel of Applied Technology in the NATO Research and Technology Organization (STO) as one of the three representatives of Poland appointed by the Ministry of Defense.
He was awarded:
- Knight’s Cross – 2011,
- The Golden Cross of Merit – 2002,
- Silver Cross of Merit – 1988,
- Bronze Cross of Merit – 1980,
- Gold Medal “For Merits for National Defense” – 2006,
- Golden Medal of Honor SIMP – 2006,
- Silver Badge of Honor NOT – 2010,
- Merit for Podkarpackie Province badge – 2016,
- Bronze Medal for Long-term Service – 2016,
- Meritorious Staff of the Institute of Aviation badge – 2016.