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The Jiří Kobrle MKI Award

Prague Design Week 2019 was beneficial for us in a number of ways. Among other things, we decided to combine the workshop with a specific project, namely the production of the main prize for the Czechoslovak Aircraft Gathering. The prize bears the name of Jiří Kobrle, our renowned aerobat, excellent pilot and instructor, who contributed significantly to the reputation of Czech aviation with his lifelong work in the field.

Our task was to design the award to represent aviation as a whole. Especially the period of Czechoslovak aviation. It is clearly dominated by the Z-42 aircraft of Zlin production. So we decided to focus in this direction and explore whether we could use and symbolically highlight some part of the aircraft. And we could! Very quickly it became clear that we had completely fallen for the propeller shapes. The Z-42 has beautifully cut propeller blades. It's a living organism from start to finish. Not just some spun-up pancake. The mass of the propeller blade gracefully stretches from the rotor and tapers to the end, where it is cleanly cut like a Japanese katana. It combines such gentle curves with crisp, clear strokes.

It was also ideal that the Z-42 has two propeller blades, so it is not problematic to split the whole propeller in half, as would be the case with, for example, the Z-242 L, which has 3 and which also does not have such a nicely contrasting sharp blade ending.

Compared to other parts of the aircraft, such as the wing, rudder, engine exhaust and others, it has one advantage, namely the centre of gravity. If we modelled it with a rotor, the propeller would be stable. The propeller blade itself already has mass and therefore a center of gravity closer to the rotor, together with the rotor itself everything would be solved. But it was necessary to decide which way to cut the rotor. Of course, the centre would be an option, but there is a risk of abrasion of the sharp edge of the rotor half and it is not quite clear what the half is. The shape is not entirely legible and does not look very majestic. It was clear to us that we would have to change it in the future.

But we now have a clear symbol in hand to work with in the future.

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