Orlik aerobatic team history

Orlik aerobatic team logo

In 1994, the 60th Flight Training Wing of the Polish Air Force, based in Radom, received the new Polish-built turbo-prop PZL-130 “Orlik” trainer. The good maneuverability of the aircraft provide an opportunity to form an aerobatic team which would also help to advertise of the design abroad.

This idea came to fruition on January 1, 1998, when the commander of the Air Force Officers College gave the order to establish a display team flying on the PZL-130. Like the other Polish aerobatic team “Iskry”, this new team also received the name of its plane – “Orlik”.

In March, four College instructors began training by formation flying with the PZL-130 and on April 15, this new Polish aerobatic display team “Orlik” made its first demonstration. In the beginning, the team consisted of just three formation pilots and one solo pilot, but, later another solo pilot was added. Their first foreign appearance was in July at the RIAT 98 display in Fairford, England.

At the end of 2000, the team first increased to seven and then again later in 2003 to nine aircraft.

At the beginning of 2006 season, the threat of disbanding the team loomed due to financial constraints. The final decision was not taken but the team's activities were suspended until June 2007. The team the returned to the sky, normally flying just five PZL-130 “Orlik” TC-I and two PZL-130 “Orlik” TC-II trainers although they sometimes performed with six TC-I’s and one TC-II. Their first public performance after the suspension, took place at the Radom Air Show 2007.

In the middle of 2009, after almost a 4-year break, the team began training once more with a nine-ship formation, and their first public performance again with 9 planes took place on August 15, 2009 on the final day of the European Aerobatic Championship. The “Orlik” team also rescinded the use of both TC-IIs, reverting to the PZL-130 Orlik TC-I for all positions. This decision was made due to problems in performing formation aerobatics with essentially two different types of aircraft - the PZL-130 Orlik TC-II is practically a new aircraft with a new engine and improved wings with a bigger wing-span and therefore different flight characteristics.

Orlik PZL-130 Orlik PZL-130 Orlik PZL-130


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