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Poland's first M-346 trainers arrive in Deblin

Poland’s first two Leonardo Aermacchi M-346 advanced jet trainers were delivered to its air force’s 41st training base in Deblin on 14 November. The aircraft – with the tail numbers 7702 and 7703 – arrived from Rivolto, flown by Italian air force pilots.

“Now the verification procedure for the aircraft will start, in accordance with signed agreements,” says Col Wojciech Pikula, commander of 4th training aviation wing school. “At this stage it is difficult to say how long this process will last,” he adds.

Verification flights, to be conducted by Italian and Polish pilots, will examine the performance of the aircraft and its equipment, mainly regarding the type’s avionics and its adaptation to meet Polish requirements. Weapon system simulation, the ability to perform instrument flight rules operations and the use of a new braking parachute will also be validated.

If this work is successful, the joint team will begin the process of commissioning the twin-engined type into use, with an eventual eight examples to be placed on the Polish military aircraft register.

In late October, a first group of six Polish pilots graduated from the M-346 instructor course at Lecce air base in Italy. They will take part in the verification and acceptance process, and bring the new model into operation.

By the end of 2017 a training syllabus will have been developed and verified during the instruction of an initial two pilots. The air force academy will commence training with a first group of students the following year.

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