Poland's air force on 14 December withdrew the last of its Antonov An-2 utility aircraft from use, almost 60 years after fielding the biplane type. A retirement ceremony was held at the service's 42nd Air Base in Radom-Sadkow, in the presence of air force commander Lt Gen Lech Majewski.

Manufactured in the Soviet Union, Poland's first An-2 was delivered to Warsaw-Okecie air base on 31 December 1951, with four more having followed in October 1954 for use by an aerial photography squadron. However, an official presentation of the An-2T in Polish air force camouflage was not held until September 1956; the date at which the "Colt" is formally reported as having entered military service in the country.

Polish air force Antonov An-2

 Bartosz Glowacki   

The Polish Aviation Works in Mielec started the licensed manufacturing of the PZL An-2 in 1960 and delivered 138 examples to the nation's armed forces by 2002.

Between 1975 and 1980 there was a peak of 115 An-2s in military service in Poland, but in 2009 the last 10 were transferred to Radom for training purposes. The defence ministry in mid-2012 announced that their tasks would be performed using PZL Mielec M28 Bryza twin-turboprops.

The last Colt flight was performed using An-2TD number 0852, which had made its debut in September 1969 and since amassed almost 6,830 flight hours and made more than 14,000 landings.

Source: Flight International