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.
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