Factory in Mielec.
In 1995, the first Special Economic Zone in the Republic of Poland, EURO-PARK MIELEC, was established. In 1999, as a result of the restructuring of PZL Mielec, they became an independent business entity. The company operates in the Special Economic Zone EURO-PARK MIELEC.
PZL Mielec entered the new 21st century in a very bad condition. To understand why this happened, we must go back to 1991. This year, Agencja Rozwoju Przemysłu S.A. was established. The company operated as a commercial law company. Its owner was the State Treasury, and the voting rights at the general meeting were exercised by the Minister of the State Treasury. So the company was 100% state-owned. In fact, the Industrial Development Agency S.A. took over the property from the Structural Changes fund in Przemyśl. The headquarters of the company was located in Warsaw at Wołoska Street. It had 8 local branches; Baranów Sandomierski, Katowice, Krasiczyn, Mielec, Szczecin, Tarnobrzeg, Warsaw and Wrocław.
The honorable goal of Agencja Rozwoju Przemysłu S.A. was supposed to support Polish enterprises in the new conditions of the market economy. Searching for new sales markets, searching for new technologies, searching for new system solutions.
Of course, PZL Mielec was subordinated to the Agency, which not only did not help the factory in Mielec, but also parasitized on it. The restructuring carried out in Mielec consisted mainly in reducing employment and limiting production. By the way, it can be added that Agencja Rozwoju Przemysłu S.A. still operating (2012) and still doing nothing and consuming Polish property.
Starting from 2002, PZL Mielec began to bring losses; 2002, - PLN 20 531 000, 2003, - PLN 11 409 000, 2004, - PLN 24 589 000, 2005, - PLN 18 534 000. The company did not have financial liquidity as a result of deliberate actions to bring about bankruptcy. The company ran into debt, while at the same time having difficult access to loans. Besides, the authorities were not eager to look for new markets, and that was their duty. On the contrary, it showed PZL Mielec products (M-28, M-26, M-18) as products requiring modification, "because they are outdated and come from socialist technology." The authorities also noticed that the machine park of PZL Mielec was outdated. In addition, fixed assets in the form of buildings began to fall into ruin. Undoubtedly, the overriding goal of the Agency was to sell the PZL Mielec company to anyone and for any money. We wrote about the sale of PZL Mielec below.
Interestingly. In 2006, for 5 M-28 Bryza planes, the budget of the Republic of Poland paid PLN 136 million (PLN 27.20 million each). In two years, after the sale of PZL Mielec, the price of the M-28 has doubled; from PLN 27.20 million to PLN 52.92 million and this is the amount the Polish Army paid for these planes. The government of Prime Minister Donald Tusk ordered 12 machines, and then reduced this number to 8 copies. And the price for one plane increased even more.
How is it? When the company was in Poland, aircraft orders were minimal, although the machines were relatively cheap. When the company was sold, the Government of the Republic of Poland (the Liberal-Masonic Government of Prime Minister Donald Tusk) began ordering planes for a much higher price and in larger quantities. Let the reader answer this question for himself.
It is also necessary to mention another structure of the Polish market economy. In 2002, the Government of the Republic of Poland, Prime Minister Leszek Miller (a communist) adopted a strategy of transforming the structures of the defense industry. The defense and aviation industry was included in the Aviation and Radioelectronics Group. This is where PZL Mielec found itself. PHZ Cenzin was established. The company became a commercial operator, that is, an intermediary. Its task was to search for foreign markets for PZL Mielec products. PZL Mielec and PHZ Cenzin cooperated in the attempt to sell the M-28 to Iraq. But the Bumar company entered the project, which wanted the exclusive sale of equipment to Iraq, and in fact blocked the contract.
Let us remember that the Polish reality was not governed by the laws of the market economy, but by post-communist systems. After all, the Russian agents could not be eliminated. Only the sale of PZL Mielec to Sikorsky broke these strange and harmful links.
The only company interested in purchasing PZL Mielec was the American company Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation, which belongs to the United Technologies Corporation. Representatives of the Sikorsky company noticed that the fuselage of the M-28 aircraft corresponds to the size of the fuselage of the Black Hawk helicopter.
On March 16, 2007, the Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation plant acquired 100% of the shares in PZL Mielec from the Polish Government with the intention of starting the production of helicopters. First of all, the hulls of Black Hawk machines, and then the whole helicopters. At the same time, Sikorsky undertook to maintain the production potential of the M-28, M-26 and M-18 aircraft. The amount of PLN 66,000,000 was paid for PZL Mielec, plus PLN 36,677,527.91 of PZL Mielec's debt to the Industrial Development Agency. Sikorsky has also committed to making further investments of approximately US $ 45,000,000 in the next 4 years. Of which $ 26 million in fixed assets.
In addition, the legal issues related to the M-28 aircraft were straightened. It is about the company Skytruck LLC, which, as part of the offset agreement, when purchasing the F-16 Jastrząb, was to deal with the sale of M-28 aircraft on the North American market. The company Skytruck LLC in fact did not fulfill the task and blocked the promotion of the M-28 in that part of the world.
In fact, PZL Mielec was re-established. Not even the logo has remained from the old plant.
Since 2007, Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation, a subsidiary of UTC (United Technologies Corporation), has spun off the area and buildings it has acquired and started investing. The entire area was fenced off with a new fence. A dozen or so new gates were built. A new gatehouse was built. All buildings have been renovated within 4 years. They received a uniform facade. The area has been reclaimed. Lawns were sown and the greenery was taken care of.
Detailed tasks performed in the first 36 months; Comprehensive modernization of the interior of Hall 6 (2007), Hall 2 (2008), and Hall 3 (2009). Facade works (thermal insulation and structural plaster in Hall 1, Hall 6, Hall 2 and Hall 3. Fencing of the company's facilities. Minor renovation and modernization works, including; roof renovation, replacement of windows, modernization of rooms to the current needs. sidewalks, green areas.
An important issue was the modernization of the machinery park in terms of new production. Several high-tech machines were purchased; a Reichenbacher machining center and two 5-axis numerically controlled Decel-Macho milling centers. At the same time, some of the existing machines were modernized in terms of meeting safety standards. New rotating parts covers were installed. Additional limit switches. The TPM system was introduced to protect machines during inspections, repairs and overhauls. These changes included 470 machines and devices. A new IT system has been introduced in the company. Both in terms of hardware and software (645 new computer sets).
The main change, however, was the construction of a factory line for the construction of Black Hawk helicopter cabins. Over time, it was developed to fully assemble these machines.
A major undertaking was the removal of 20 underground tanks from the area of PZL Mielec, unnecessary at the present time. At the same time, soil tests were also carried out in terms of contamination. As a result, there was no soil degradation caused by industrial activities.
As a result of the liquidation of vocational education in the Republic of Poland, the new employer was forced to start a series of trainings increasing the level of technical and general knowledge of its employees. Among others; technology, manufacturing processes, health and safety, labor law. The education was conducted on the company's premises as well as in external institutions (at universities). The most important was the Scholr program, the aim of which was to raise the qualifications of employees, up to and including obtaining a doctoral degree. On average, one employee participated in 8 training courses. In March 2009, the company employed 1,776 employees. In the period from September 2008 to February 2009, 435 new employees were employed.
Importantly, the plant did not interrupt the performance of already performed contracts. For example, for the construction of the M-28 Bryza aircraft.
Every year, Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation organizes an open day to the public. In 2011, there was already the 4th day of this type.
In December 2008, the Ministry of National Defense of the Republic of Poland ordered 12 M-28 B / PT Bryza aircraft from PZL Mielec. The value of the contract, which includes, apart from deliveries of well-equipped planes, the purchase of a simulator, spare parts package, control and measurement devices and crew training, was PLN 635 million. The last plane is to be delivered in 2014. The decision to purchase the M-28 exposed the Ministry of National Defense to a wave of criticism and accusations, but the military prosecutor's office refused to deal with the contract, finding no signs of a crime or acting to the detriment of the state's interest. The M-28 Bryza planes will be used, among others, by in the process of flight training for transport aircraft crews. Ultimately, the number of ordered planes was reduced to 8 for the amount of approximately PLN 500 million.
In 2009, two years after the acquisition of PZL Mielec by Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation, a subsidiary of UTC (United Technologies Corporation), the plant presented the first Black Hawk helicopter cabin produced here. It was installed in the S-70i helicopter, which will also be built in Mielec. The plant received an order for 200 cabins.
The ceremony, which took place on the occasion of the presentation of the first Black Hawk helicopter cabin built in PZL Mielec, was attended, among others, by representatives of plant management and employees and Sikorsky Aircraft. The invitation to participate was also accepted by representatives of local authorities, including the president of Mielec Janusz Chodorowski, the staroste Andrzej Chrabąszcz and the MP from Mielec Krystyna Skowrońska. Apart from seeing the helicopter cabin, the guests also visited the modernized component assembly hall.
The plant informed that the first manufactured cabin will be installed in the first S-70i helicopter, also built in Mielec. The second cabin will be shipped to the US and installed in a UH-60M helicopter intended for the US Army. According to forecasts, 36 S-70i helicopters are to be built annually in Mielec. The first delivery of the machine built in Poland was planned for the end of 2011.
On March 15, 2010, the management of PZL Mielec-Sikorsky announced the completion of the first Black Hawk helicopter. This helicopter, fully assembled at PZL Mielec, was then tested and qualified at the Sikorsky Development Flight Center in West Palm Beach, Florida.
The first flight was planned to be made at the Mielec Airport. However, the helicopter was transported to the USA and its first flight was made in Florida on July 1, 2010. The second copy of the helicopter was flown on November 15, 2010, already at the Mielec Airport.
Here is a little curiosity. Until the first flight, the helicopters received temporary registrations. Temporary registration of SP-YVA was given to at least three different copies of the Black Hawk helicopter. PZL Mielec-Sikorsky used the following time-based registrations; SP-YVA, SP-YVB, SP-YVC, SP-YVD, SP-YVE, SP-YVF.
At the turn of May and June 2011, the first three Black Hawk helicopters were delivered to the public. One of the elements of this plan are test flights carried out by Mr. Leszek Pawuła. He was employed by PZL Mielec as a test pilot. Leszek Pawuła is a helicopter test pilot of the 1st class (Experimental Test Pilot), he also has a helicopter airline pilot license (Airline Transport Pilot) and a professional airplane pilot license. He is one of three examiners authorized by the Civil Aviation Authority to examine test helicopter pilots.
The S-70i Black Hawk, part of the new line of Sikorsky helicopters, is the first rotorcraft manufactured by PZL Mielec. Polskie Zakłady Lotnicze in Mielec are the largest manufacturer of flying machines in Poland. About 1,900 people work for the company.
In preparation for test flights on the premises of the company in Mielec, a hangar and a paint shop were renovated. A fire department has also been established, employing five full-time firefighters who have been trained in standard firefighting and disaster rescue techniques.
On August 21, 2011, the 4th Open Day was organized in PZL Mielec. Everyone interested had the opportunity to visit the largest plant in Poland producing airplanes and helicopters. While viewing the production halls, the guests could talk to employees directly at their workstations. It was possible to trace the entire production process of the M-28 family of planes and the production line of the S-70i Black Hawk helicopter which attracted the most attention. The halls H2, H3, H6 and a park with a static exhibition of planes formerly produced in Mielec were opened to visitors.
On August 24, 2011, after 3:00 p.m., the employees of PZL Mielec had the opportunity to see the crew of test pilots during training. Michael Skaggs and Leszek Pawuła performed two demo shows on the S-70i Black Hawk helicopter, manufactured in the Mielec factory - PZL Mielec. On August 25, 2011, in the morning, two helicopters were transported to Radom. One of them was exhibited at a static exhibition, and another was presented to the public in flight at the 2011 international Air Show. It was the debut of the Mielec helicopter at international shows. So far, it has only been shown at the Le Bourget fair, but only at the ground exhibition. The helicopter was then presented at Targi Kielce.
PZL Mielec-Sikorsky continues to produce (albeit in small numbers) the M-18 agricultural and transport M-28 aircraft for military and civilian use. Already in 2007, these planes were added to the production offer of SAC. Nay. Already in 2008, the company obtained a Certificate approved by EASA, which proves that the planes from Mielec meet high quality standards. This belies the claims made by post-communist or liberal officials (at the beginning of the new century) that the products from Mielec are outdated.
In 2011, information appeared about the possibility of taking a new plane at PZL Mielec. It was the Eclipse 550 aircraft. It is a small commercial aircraft powered by two Pratt & Whitney Canada PW610F turbofan engines. The plane will cost $ 2,695,000. The first copy is to be flown in 2013. The fuselage and wings are to be manufactured at PZL Mielec.
The history of this program is as follows. In the period 2006-2008. in the USA in Albuquerque, New Mexico, there was Eclipse Aviation, which was building the Eclipse 500 public jet aircraft. The company, however, ran into financial difficulties. Its debts were covered by Sikorsky, becoming the majority owner. $ 40 million was paid for the assets. It was decided to develop a modernized machine, the Eclipse 550. Final assembly will take place in Albuquerque in a plant employing 150-300 people. The plane will be painted there and it will undergo technical tests along with the flight test.
The plane will have essentially identical wings and fuselage. However, avionics and other equipment were completely changed. The order portfolio in 2009 was 260 machines. The expected orders are 50-100 machines per year. If there are people willing to buy such machines in Europe, and it is possible, final assembly at PZL Mielec is also possible. Soon, the equipment needed for this production is to be delivered to Mielec, and the employees of PZL Mielec are to take part in a training course on how the production of elements for Eclipse should look like.
PZL Mielec, the largest domestic aircraft manufacturer, supplying, among others M-28 planes to the Polish Army, in March 2007, was sold to Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation, belonging to the UTC concern. Despite the ongoing controversy related to the purchase of shares in Polish plants, the Tarnobrzeg prosecutor's office investigating the privatization of Mielec discontinued the proceedings that had been pending for over a year, not finding any violation of the interests of the State Treasury. The Supreme Audit Office, which considered it justified and correct, did not have any objections to the transaction. Polskie Zakłady Lotnicze Sp. z o.o. - PZL Mielec, a subsidiary of Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation, is the largest aircraft manufacturer in Poland, expanding its production profile to include the production of aircraft structures and the production of helicopters. Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation is a world leader in the production of helicopters, including models such as UH-60 Black Hawk, S-76, S-92. Sikorsky Aircraft employs 17,000 people worldwide.
The company produces Black Hawk helicopter cabins for international customers and the United States Army. In addition, the production line of S-70i helicopters, belonging to the family of Black Hawk combat-proven helicopters, was launched. Following the principles of the free market and operating on the basis of the Polish Commercial Code, the company conducts production and trade activities in the field of aviation products of its own design and introducing them to global markets. It also cooperates with tycoons in the aviation industry, such as: Spirit Aerosystem, Pratt & Whitney Canada, SAAB Aerostructures.
Currently, the company employs approx. 1,800 people, including engineering, technical and production staff with the highest professional qualifications, and has the appropriate technical, organizational and production capabilities to build aircraft and conduct aviation development programs.
The company puts emphasis on the appropriate preparation of the staff and training of employees, both professional and specialist. The new business ethics is also an important element. For this purpose, a code of ethics has been implemented and on its basis, systematic training in work ethics and behavior is carried out. With such a prepared crew, the company has a chance to develop in a new economic environment and is credible for the market and customers.
Polskie Zakłady Lotnicze Sp. z o.o. in Mielec they carry out the following activities: production, repair and service, design and research and service. The company also offers a wide range of cooperation services, including: aircraft design, tests and tests, plastic processing (sheet metal forming), machining, heat and thermo-chemical treatment, technological processes, including special ones, laboratory tests.
Although the company has only been on the market for 5 years, it has already won several important awards; The Investor of the Year title awarded to Sikorsky Aircraft by the American Chamber of Commerce in Poland. Second place in the plebiscite for the Modernization of the Industrial Facility of the Year 2007 awarded to investments carried out in Hall H6. Interestingly. When PZL Mielec was a Polish company (and in great difficulties), the dog with a lame leg did not come from Warsaw. When the company is in American hands, the door in Mielec does not close with the President of the Republic of Poland Bronisław Komorowski and the Prime Minister of the Republic of Poland, Donald Tusk. And let us remind you that Bronisław Komorowski was the Minister of National Defense, he never came to Mielec in this role. Let us remember this. It is true that the profits from the activities of PZL Mielec flow abroad, but the company still exists and gives employment to a Polish employee, and the PZL Mielec logo is visible.
Current PZL Mielec products;
PZL M 28 Skytruck- multi-purpose plane. M 28 - STOL class twin-engine turboprop aircraft (short take-off and landing), designed to perform the tasks of local passenger and cargo transport, dropping parachute jumpers, medical evacuation, patrol and reconnaissance, search and rescue.
PZL M 28 B Bryza - multipurpose aircraft. M 28 B Bryza - A military version of the M 28 model, designed to perform special tasks (depending on the installed systems).
PZL M 18 Dromader - agricultural and fire-fighting aircraft. A single-engine airplane used in agricultural aviation and firefighting / comprehensive forest protection.
S-70i Black Hawk - medium multi-role American transport helicopter (production of cabins and entire helicopters). A multipurpose helicopter intended for international markets.
Cabin segments of the UH-60 M Black Hawk helicopter structure.
Written by Karol Placha Hetman