Agro-pilot School in Karolewo 1980-1983

Szkoła Agrolotników w Karolewie 1980r.-1983r. Ostatnia zmiana: Styczeń 2020

Poland 2020-01-07

Agro-pilots School in Karolewo 1980-1983

In 2012, we published an article the title - "School of Agro-pilots in Karolewo, 1975-1980". We described the short history of this school. However, it turned out that we had made an unconscious mistake: there were, of course, three years (1975, 1976, 1977), but there was also the fourth recruitment, which was made in 1980.

Mr. Bogdan Kozłowski, who was a graduate of the fourth year 1980-1983, shared information and we can quote the further history of the agro-pilots school in Karolewo.

Mr. Bogdan Kozłowski in the cabin of the Zlin-42 aircraft. 1981. Private collection of Bogdan Kozłowski
Mr. Bogdan Kozłowski in the cabin of the Zlin-42 aircraft. 1981. Private collection of Bogdan Kozłowski

At the beginning we will explain the name of the school. The term Farmers School is not exact. This is the colloquial name that has often been used. The term "School of agro pilots" was also used. In fact, it was the "School of Aviation" because it was finished with the license of a professional pilot. The "Agro Flight entitlement" was acquired in the branches of "Zakład Usług Agrolotniczych".

School Shield. 1980 year. Private collection of Bogdan Kozłowski
School Shield. 1980 year. Private collection of Bogdan Kozłowski

The school was at the high school level, which means that the final exams and the right to start studies ended.

Technical secondary school specializing in Agro-aviation was established at the request of the Scientific and Production Center of Light Aircraft PZL Warszawa WSK-Okęcie. After the first three years there was a break in the recruitment. It was decided to resume the fourth recruitment in 1980. About 100 young men have signed up for the class. The candidates came mainly from western and northern Poland. All of them were referred for medical and aviation examinations in Wrocław - "Main Medical and Aviation Research Center" - GOBLL. Ultimately, over thirty students were qualified to the class. (Probably 35 students). Learning began in September 1980.

Unexpectedly, in January 1981, it was decided to quit school and dissolve the technical school class. The students were surprised, they did not know the reasons, no one explained or apologized to them. It was stated that they could move to other schools. Among others, a railway technical school was proposed.

The decision to dissolve the class came from Warsaw. It was probably influenced by the poor condition of the economy at that time and conservative actions of the management of PZL-Okęcie.

Young people spoke all night long. They made decisions - What to do next? The attitude of young, determined, intelligent students surprised everyone. They did not agree to such a dictum and undertook a hunger strike combined with a very extensive and dynamic information campaign. They took blankets from the dormitory and went on strike to the school building, to their class. They decided to eat nothing and drink only tea. Without aviation they could not see their further life. Maybe it was easier for them to adopt such an attitude, because strikes rolled through Poland at that time, during which society demanded improvement of their lives.

The then headmaster of the school, Mr. Ryszard Melnarowicz, respected the students' attitude. He did not try to pacify the students. He was concerned about the safety of the protesters.

Students hit the highest tones - PZPR, government, central offices ... We succeeded. The school was brought back to life.

After 48 hours, students won. The decision to terminate the class was withdrawn. Twenty-three students started flight training. They set to study with even greater enthusiasm. They helped each other.

Before the practical training began, they were sent for state examinations for a tourist license. Only twenty students of them remained, and started training in flight.

Holidays have begun. The school was deserted, and only future agro-pilots remained, who were called "Kites" by their own tutor. Students from the early morning to the evening were at the airport Kętrzyn-Wilamowo. Everyone was to fly 40 hours, and there were technic problems with the planes.

Initial training was on gliders, and then it was the turn to the Ogar motor glider. Then there were planes; PZL-Koliber and Zlin-42 and the Mi-2 helicopter. Only some of the first year's students trained in helicopters. Virtually all equipment was of Polish production. Only the Zlin 42 aircraft was of Czechoslovak production.

Samolot Zlin-42. Photo by Bogdan Kozłowski
Samolot Zlin-42. Photo by Bogdan Kozłowski

After two weeks of training, the head of pilots of the Department of Agricultural Aviation Services performed a check flight with each student to select the best. There are 15 left after this test.

In October 1981, students stood in front of the Air Examination Board and were qualified to the first degree of pilot, receiving a Tourist License. The licenses were handed over by the Chief Inspector of Flying Personnel of the People's Republic of Poland, Colonel Zdzisław Skomorowski.

After receiving the tourist license, students voluntarily made an air vow:

"On the day of receiving the tourist pilot license, I solemnly promise:

  • to perform the pilot duties entrusted to me, in accordance with aviation law and aviation regulations as well as with the rules of the art of piloting and using the aircraft,
  • observe the rules of ethics and aviation discipline,
  • ensure flight safety, safety passengers and crew members entrusted to me,
  • operate flights in a manner that does not endanger the safety of air traffic and persons and property on the ground,
  • take care of the aircraft and other aircraft equipment entrusted to me. "

It was a beautiful gesture, testifying to the high aviation culture of these young men. Pilots who, to fulfill their dreams, renounced many things and consistently pursued their goal.

Tourist pilot's license was granted to: Gabriel Gałgan, Dariusz Kalczuk, Edward Kleist, Bogdan Kozłowski, Andrzej Lewandowski, Tadeusz Lizurej, Sławomir Napiórkowski, Marek Nasiadka, Norbert Pakuła, Dariusz Pinczyński, Józef Rupiński, Dariusz Sionkowski, Dariusz Stala, Sławomir Szatkowski, Bronisław Ślężak.

Finally, 14 students graduated from the school. It was 1983.

As we can see the selection was very sharp all the time. Probably because the then PZL-Okęcie management did not see the demand for more pilots, and in any case not so much demand. So they were consistent in their own way. If you train, a handful of the most promising.

The training staff at the airport in Kętrzyn were very friendly towards students, if only because they had a job thanks to them. They also knew how determined the students were. Such people are trained very well and progress is rapid.

What happened later? The Polish economy presented a picture of misery and despair, so it was very difficult for students to find a job in their profession. Some did not succeed, some emigrated. This was the end of the history of the farmer's school in Karolewo.

Written by Bogdan Kozłowski and Karol Placha Hetman