1 Transport Aviation Base in Warsaw. 2002

Warszawa 2018-01-20

1st Transport Aviation Base in Warsaw.

Initially, the 1st Air Base in Warsaw.

Since 2002.

PZL W-3 Sokół nb 1014. 2015 year. Photo by Karol Placha Hetman
PZL W-3 Sokół nb 1014. 2015 year. Photo by Karol Placha Hetman

Mil Mi-8 nb 636. 2015 year. Photo by Karol Placha Hetman
Mil Mi-8 nb 636. 2015 year. Photo by Karol Placha Hetman

After Poland joined NATO, one of the significant changes in the structures of Polish Military Aviation was the establishment of Air Bases. Until now, there was one owner of the airport and the flying equipment, i.e. the Regiment's command. After the changes, the airport and flight security are managed by the Air Base Command, and the aircraft are owned by the aviation unit, usually a Squadron. This is what happened at Okęcie. A base was separated from the 36th Special Transport Aviation Regiment and named the 1st Air Base.

The 1st Air Base was a unit organizationally part of the Air Force. It was established from the disbanded Security Department on January 1, 2002, on the basis of the Order of the Chief of the General Staff of the Polish Army No. 0-269/Org/P5 of June 26, 2001. The commander of the 1st Blot from the beginning of its existence was Colonel Karol Kudlak.

The banner for the unit was founded on October 5, 2007, thanks to the efforts of the Social Committee of Founders, composed of representatives of the local government authorities of the Warsaw-Włochy district and the community of soldiers of the Home Army Air Base "Łużyce". The annual holiday of the 1st Air Base was established on October 5.

2011 year.

As a result of the Smolensk attack, the new Minister of National Defense, Tomasz Siemoniak, in 2011, as his first decision, issued an order to immediately disband the 36th Transport Aviation Regiment. It was a continuation of covering up the traces of the Smolensk attack by the Masonic-liberal Government of the Republic of Poland, led by Prime Minister Donald Tusk. All Yakovlev Yak-40 planes were put up for sale and put into museums. The only remaining Tupolev Tu-154 M nb 102 was transferred to the Mińsk Mazowiecki Airport and remains there until now (2024), as evidence in the Smolensk bombing case, although they wanted to scrap the plane. The PZL M-28 Bryza planes were transferred to other units using these machines. Most of the staff was released to civilian life.

But since life abhors a vacuum, Tomasz Siemoniak decided to establish the 1st Transport Aviation Base. The 1st Transport Aviation Base (1BLTr) began operating on January 1, 2012, based on the Decision of the Minister of National Defense of August 5, 2011. The new-old unit took over all helicopters used in the 36th PLTr., along with the flying and ground personnel. The 1st Transport Aviation Base is a military unit subordinate to the Commander of the 3rd Transport Aviation Wing in Powidz. 1. The Transport Aviation Base is intended to provide air transport of the supreme state authorities of the Republic of Poland and to provide logistic support for military units and institutions of the Ministry of National Defense. In addition, the 1st BLTr meets the current renovation needs and technical service of automotive equipment, and carries out repairs and periodic maintenance of aviation equipment and ground security. The unit also maintains airport infrastructure in readiness for operation, carries out protective tasks of military complexes and secures visits of foreign delegations. There were two types of helicopters in the unit at that time; PZL Sokół and Mil Mi-8.

The PZL WSK W-3 WA Sokół helicopter is a multi-role, twin-engine helicopter, built in a classic configuration. He made his first flight in 1979. It is designed to transport 10 people or alternatively cargo. The take-off weight is 6,400 kg. It has a 4-blade main rotor and a 3-blade tail rotor. The basis of the power unit are two PZL-10 W turbine engines, with a starting power of 662 kW each. In the VIP version of PZL WSK Sokół, the passenger cabin is equipped with an integrated audio system allowing for internal and external communication via the GSM communication system. The cabin has been additionally soundproofed, which increases flight comfort. The helicopters are equipped with a navigation system with a database of terrain obstacles and a weather radar that shows information to pilots on LCD displays.

The Mil Mi-8 helicopter is a multi-role, twin-engine helicopter, built in a classic configuration. The Mil Mi-8 helicopter in Poland is very well recognized because it was the helicopter that transported Saint John Paul II during all his pilgrimages in Poland. The Polish Aviation Museum in Czyżyny has an original one of these helicopters.

Mil Mi-8 is a medium helicopter, adapted to perform general-purpose transport tasks, with an empty weight not exceeding 7,000 kg and a take-off weight of 12,000 kg. The Mil MI-8 cockpit has space for two pilots side by side with an additional space for a mechanic. The cargo hold allows for up to 20 passengers. The helicopter is powered by two TW2-117AG turbine engines with a take-off power of 1,119 kW each. The Mil Mi-8 helicopter is equipped with: heating and ventilation systems, two independent hydraulic systems, two 27 V 18 kW electric generators, 6 28 Ah batteries, and freon fire extinguishers for extinguishing engines and fuel tanks. The avionics include radios: HF R-842, VHF R-860, intercom, radiotelephone, and four-plane autopilot. Mil Mi-8 has equipment for flights in all weather conditions, day and night.

On November 1, 2013, the 1st Transport Aviation Base became part of the 3rd Transport Aviation Wing.

1 Transport Aviation Base, in accordance with Decision No. 62/MON of the Minister of National Defense of March 6, 2012, has taken over and honorably cultivates the heritage of the following aviation units: 3. Intelligence Squadron (1918-1925), 13. Aviation Squadron of the 1st Aviation Regiment (1925) -1934), 13th Accompanying Squadron of the 1st Aviation Regiment (1934-1939), 16th and 19th Accompanying Squadron of the 1st Aviation Regiment (1937-1939), 301st Bomb Squadron of the Pomeranian Land (1940-1943), 3rd Squadron Polish 138th Special Operations Squadron RAF (1943), 1586th Polish Special Purpose Squadron (1943-1944), 301st Bomber Squadron of the Pomeranian Land. Defenders of Warsaw (1944-1946), 6th Independent Air Transport Squadron (1945-1946), Government Transport Squadron (1946-1947), Special Aviation Regiment (1947-1951), 36th Special Aviation Regiment (1951-1955), 36 Independent Special Aviation Regiment (1955-1974), 36th Special Transport Aviation Regiment "Obrońców Warszawy" (1974-2011), Home Army Air Base "Łużyce" (1942-1944), Service Battalion of the Air Force and Anti-Aircraft Defense Command of the National Area ( 1959-1962), Service Battalion of the Home Area Air Defense Command (1962-1979), Security Branch of the Home Air Defense Command (1979-1990), Security Branch of the Air Force and Air Defense Command (1990-2001), 1st Air Base "AK Air Base Lusatia" (2002-2011).

The identification mark of the 1st Transport Aviation Base is in the shape of a circle with the military aviation symbol - a white and red checkerboard, the coat of arms of the Capital City of Warsaw, a technical symbol - a fragment of a gear wheel, a stylized one - an ear of grain and a wreath of laurel leaves. The badge is complemented by a simplified silhouette of the W-3W Sokół helicopter and the abbreviation of the name 1st Transport Aviation Base. The symbolism refers to the history and tradition of inherited aviation units and the tasks currently performed by the 1st BLTr. The identification badge was introduced by Decision No. 47/MON of the Minister of National Defense of February 17, 2015 on the introduction of the identification badge of the 1st Transport Aviation Base.

Badge of the 1st Transport Air Base
Badge of the 1st Transport Air Base

The commemorative badge of the 1st Transport Aviation Base has the shape of stylized wings, between which there is a white and red aviation checkerboard, and in the lower part there is an inscription - "1 BLTr" - an abbreviation of the name of the unit. The ring has a background with the outline of the globe, a stylized W-3W Sokół helicopter and arrows showing the continents to which flights were made. The commemorative badge was introduced by Decision No. 189/MON of the Minister of National Defense of July 3, 2014, regarding the introduction of the commemorative badge and the emblem of the 1st Transport Aviation Base.

Commemorative badge of the 1st Transport Aviation Base
Commemorative badge of the 1st Transport Aviation Base

Gulfstream G550 for Poland. 2017 year.

In 2017, after seven years of absence, planes to transport the most important people in the country returned to Okęcie Airport. And there are two types at once: Gulfstream G550 and Boeing B.737-800.

On August 31, 2016, the Ministry of National Defense, headed by Minister Antoni Macierewicz, announced the initiation of two procedures for the purchase of two "small" and three "medium" aircraft for transporting the most important people in the state, which were published on September 2, 2016. In fact, the two contracts were separated. The Polish side set a difficult requirement to deliver the planes already in 2017. On October 14, 2016, two offers were revealed that affected small aircraft: Dassault Falcon 7X by the French company Dassault Aviation and Gulfstream G550 by the American company Gulfstream Aerospace Corp., owned by General Dynamics. On October 21, 2016, the selection of the G550 aircraft was announced. On November 14, 2016, the Armament Inspectorate signed a contract with Gulfstream Aerospace worth PLN 440.5 million net (PLN 538 million gross) for two G550 aircraft (including a logistics package, documentation and training) with a delivery deadline of August 15, 2017 . On the Polish side, the contract was signed by the Head of the Armament Inspectorate of the Ministry of National Defence, Brig. Adam Duda, and on the American side, Jeffrey Crosby.

Since Gulfstream had several dozen aircraft in its production line, it could afford to postpone orders for other customers and deliver the aircraft to Poland on the scheduled date. In this way, the implementation of the contract did not exceed 10 months. This would not be possible with a larger order. On the other hand, it showed that the US treated the Polish side seriously, despite such a small order. For Poland, the aircraft No. 5547 was selected, which made its first flight on October 5, 2016, and No. 5554, which made its first flight on December 21, 2016. The construction of these aircraft began in 2015 for other customers. G550 aircraft No. 5547 was presented to the Polish delegation on January 6, 2017 in Savannah. This aircraft was then transported to Appleton, Wisconsin for interior finishing. The second copy was treated similarly. In March 2017, the aircraft with Nb 0002 was presented to the next Polish delegation. The machine was already painted and had a fully equipped crew cockpit. Polish planes received their own names: Nb 0001 "Prince Józef Poniatowski", Nb 0002 "General Kazimierz Pułaski".W dniu 21 czerwca 2017 roku, na Lotnisku Okęcie wylądował samolot Gulfstream G550 Nb 0001 „Książę Józef Poniatowski”. Samolot powitano salutem wodnym lotniskowej straży pożarnej. W oficjalnej uroczystości samolot ochrzczono i poświęcono. Matką chrzestną była aktorka Pani Halina Łabonarska.

Around 10:00 on July 29, 2017, the second Gulfstream G550 Nb 0002 aircraft, intended to transport the most important people in the country, landed at the Bydgoszcz Airport, where the Military Aviation Works No. 2 is located. The plane landed in Bydgoszcz because Wojskowe Zakłady Lotnicze No. 2, belonging to the Polish Armaments Group, is their service technician. The plane received its own name "General Kazimierz Pułaski". The godmother was Lieutenant of the Polish Army Magdalena Kozak, who is a doctor specializing in emergency medicine and who participated in the mission in Afghanistan.

The Secretary of State at the Ministry of National Defense Bartosz Kownacki took part in the aircraft acceptance ceremony. During his speech, the Secretary of State at the Ministry of National Defense noted that the purchase of aircraft, and thus ensuring proper transport for the most important people in the country, was one of many tasks faced by the government of Prime Minister Beata Szydło. – It can be said that today we are finishing a very important stage of restoring normality. It shouldn't be anything special, it shouldn't be a holiday, it should be normal that the Armed Forces are purchasing another plane - added Deputy Minister of Defense Bartosz Kownacki.

Basic data T-T Gulfstream G-550; wingspan 28.50 m, length 29.39 m, height 7.87 m, take-off weight 41,277 kg, range 12,501 km. It can accommodate up to 19 passengers.

Boeing Company B.737-800 BBJ2 for Poland. 2017 year.

Four bidders entered the tender for medium-sized aircraft until October 14, 2016, including American and Polish companies as well as Czech-Germanic and Polish-Slovak consortiums. On January 10, 2017, two offers were qualified for the tender. The first one was the offer of the Boeing Company. The second one was the offer of a consortium of companies: Glomex Military Supplies (Czech Republic) and Lufthansa Technik AG (Germany). Both offers were based on Boeing B.737-800 aircraft, one of the most popular aircraft in the world. The invitation to submit offers was issued on February 20, 2017. On March 8, 2017, an offer was received from Glomex and Boeing. Both offers were rejected on March 9 because they exceeded the planned budget and had formal and legal errors. The first offer was worth PLN 2.66 billion, and the second one was worth PLN 3.4 billion.

Then the Polish side decided to use the so-called free-hand formula. On March 10, 2017, an invitation to negotiations was sent to the Boeing Company. The decision was made on the grounds that the offers included only the Boeing B.737-800 aircraft, and only the Boeing Company had full rights to its production, modifications, adaptation and retrofitting. Another aircraft that could meet the WTT set by the Ministry of National Defense was the Airbus A.319 CJ, but no company offered it.

They are analyzing the choice of the Boeing B.737-800, it should be mentioned that the Boeing Company already had the newer Boeing B.737 MAX 8 in its offer. The company was already switching its production line from the 737 NG to the new 737 MAX model. The problem was that the Boeing B.737 MAX 8 aircraft needed to have an EASA European certificate, and the certification process was in progress. If the 737 MAX was chosen, it would be launched in 2018 at the earliest.

The talks with Boeing went very smoothly. Both sides have negotiated with each other many times. Planes from the last two production series have been reserved for Poland. On March 31, 2017, the Armament Inspectorate of the Ministry of National Defense signed a contract with the Boeing Company for the delivery of three aircraft. The contract also covers technical support and staff training. The document was signed in the presence of Deputy Minister of Defense Bartosz Kownacki: Head of the Armament Inspectorate, Col. Dariusz Pluta and Jon W. Lewis, Regional Director for Contracts from the Boeing Company.

First used Boeing B.737-800 with delivery in 2017. The next two are Boeing B.737-800 BBJ2 for delivery in 2020-2021. The value of the contract for the delivery of the B737 is USD 523.6 million (USD 523,644,900) - PLN 2.066 billion net, including PLN 2.5 billion with tax.

In May 2017, the results of the competition for the proper names of airplanes were announced. The competition jury chose; "Marshal Józef Piłsudski", "Roman Dmoowski", "Ignacy Jan Paderewski" - all of them are the most important figures in the history of the Republic of Poland regaining independence in 1918.

In October 2017, Boeing proposed replacing the first used B.737-800 aircraft with a brand new aircraft. Interestingly, this did not result in an increase in price. The contract was renegotiated at the beginning of November 2017. The proposed new aircraft, Boeing B.737-86X, registration N893BA, was first flown on April 13, 2017 in a 189-seat configuration. It was intended for the Chinese low-cost airline 9 Air, but was not received until October 2017.

On October 25, 2017, the aircraft landed in Dinard-Pleurtuit-Saint-Malo, France. Sabena Technics repainted the plane in the colors of the Republic of Poland. The plane received painting elements referring to the 100th anniversary of the Republic of Poland regaining independence. On the vertical stabilizer, on the left side there is an image of Józef Piłsudski, and on the right side there is an image of Piłsudski, Daszyński, Paderewski, Korfanty, Dmowski and Witos. The aircraft's side number is Nb 0110.

On November 15, 2017, the plane landed at Okęcie Airport. The machine's baptism ceremony took place. After landing at Chopin Airport in Warsaw and after taxiing, according to aviation custom, through the water curtain created by the airport fire brigade vehicles, it was consecrated by the field bishop of the Polish Army, Brigadier General Józef Guzdek, and by the deputy of the Orthodox Military Ordinary, Fr. colonel Aleksy Andrejuk and the Chief Military Chaplain - Evangelical Military Bishop, Fr. bishop colonel Mirosław Wola. Soldier of the Communications and IT Training Center in Zegrze, Private Oktawia Nowacka, became the godmother of the VIP Boeing B.737-800 "Józef Piłsudski" aircraft, which was received on November 15, 2017, at the 1st Transport Aviation Base in Warsaw in the presence of the Minister of Defense national Antoni Macierewicz. Mrs. Oktawia Nowacka is a titled sportswoman; pentathlete, winner of the World Cup, medalist of the world, European and Polish championships and bronze medalist of the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

The Boeing B.737-800 "Józef Piłsudski" in Poland will undergo minor changes. From an airliner, the cabin will change into a three-class cabin: lounge, business and economy. The first living room will be in the HEAD version for 4 people, the second for 8 people, the third for 120 people. After receiving the second Boeing B.737-800 BBJ2 aircraft, the first aircraft will return to the USA to be retrofitted with systems associated with the BBJ2 version. This way, all three planes will be BBJ2.

Currently, the remaining two planes are scheduled to arrive in Poland on September 15, 2020 and November 15, 2020.

The Boeing Business Jet - BBJ2 version has additional fuel tanks to increase the range, which has become intercontinental. The plane is ETOPS-180 certified, which allows it to fly on one engine to an alternate airport 180 minutes away. In fact, the plane can stay in the air for up to three hours on one engine. The eight-passenger version of the BBJ2 has a range of 10,453 km. When there are 55 people on board, the plane will fly non-stop from Warsaw to Beijing, and with 70 passengers non-stop from Warsaw to New York. Depending on the user's wishes, the aircraft has additional, special equipment on board. These may be active and passive defense systems, military-standard communications, the TACAN military close-in navigation system, the Szakal navigation system, the GPS system, satellite communications with the ability to transmit "secret" data, and the IFF military aircraft identification system. In addition, they have a life support system on board. The plane will enable not only HEAD transport, but also evacuation, transport of soldiers and transport of the wounded over long distances. The planes are to be equipped with a wide range of military navigation and auxiliary systems, as well as systems that increase the level of security, such as: IFF IFF system compliant with the NATO standard. GPS positioning system with SAASM (Selective Availability Anti-spoofing Module) anti-jamming module. TACAN military radio navigation system (also enabling the use of VOR/DME beacons). Active and passive defense, protection and warning systems against radiation from a radar station. Open and coded satellite communication system. WiFi network. UHF, VHF and HF communication systems compliant with Polish Army and NATO standards.

Since the Boeing B.737-800 VIP "Józef Piłsudski" aircraft will enter service in June 2018, the contract with PLL LOT for the transport of the most important people in the country by Embraer 175 aircraft has been extended until mid-2018. From that moment on, all tasks related to the transport of VIPs will be taken over by the Polish Air Force and the 1st Air Transport Base stationed at Okęcie. This will end Donald Tusk's "cheap state".

Currently (2017), the Ministry of National Defense and LOT Polish Airlines are negotiating with the Boeing Company regarding the creation of a training center for military and civilian pilots who will fly Boeing aircraft. You should know that LOT Polish Airlines has already ordered six new Boeing B.737 MAX aircraft, which will arrive in Poland by May 2019 at the latest. In addition, LOT Polish Airlines has older machines: B.737-400 (three) and B.737-800 (four). Until the training center is established in Warsaw, Poles train at the center in Crawley, near Gatwick airport in Great Britain. In the campus covering almost five thousand square meters, pilots improve their skills on Boeing 787, 777 and 737 aircraft. There are a total of 13 simulators there, and the center is the largest of its type outside the USA.

Commanders of the 1st Transport Air Base:

colonel pil. Sławomir Mąkosa (since January 1, 2012), colonel diplomat. pil. Dariusz Tatarowski (since June 9, 2014), colonel pilot. Stanisław Kondrat (since May 2, 2016).

Address: JW4198 1 Transport Aviation Base, ul. Żwirki i Wigury 1c, 00-909 Warszawa 60. Secretariat: tel.:  + 48   261 - 821 – 470, fax:   + 48 261 - 821- 470, e-mail: 1bltr@ron.mil.pl. Duty service: tel.: + 48 261 - 821- 468, fax: + 48 261 - 821- 305. Office: tel.: + 48 261 - 821 – 289, fax: + 48 261 - 821 – 350.

Written by Karol Placha Hetman