Mráz Aircraft Factory

Jaroslav Mráz was a Czechoslovakian aircraft designer who, with fellow designer Pavel Beneš, established the Beneš-Mráz aircraft company in Czechoslovakia in the 1930s.  During and after the war, the company became known under Mráz’s name only.  During World War II the plant produced aircraft and components for Germany.  After the war, it produced one successful design, the Mráz M-1 Sokol.

The Sokol, first flown March 1, 1946, was designed secretly during the war when Germany occupied Czechoslovakia.  The word “sokol” is slavic for falcon.  It was a wooden, 2-seat training and light utility aircraft of which 287 were produced in the immediate postwar years.  It saw limited service as a trainer with the Czechoslovakian air force, and some were exported to Egypt.

M-1D “03”

One Sokol evidently found its way to China.  Preserved at the Beijing Air & Space Museum in the markings of the Chinese air force, this little plane is one of several unique curiosities in that collection.  It appears to be a late-model M-1D variant, which had a one-piece bubble canopy over the cockpit; earlier versions had a framed cabin.