Polish Air Force Orlik Aerobatic Team
Unusually, the Polish Air Force has two national aerobatic teams to its name - one flies the TS-11 Iskra jet trainer and is thus named as the Biało-Czerwone Iskry (Red and White Iskras), while that mounted on the PZL-130TC Turbo Orlik turboprop trainer calls itself the Zespůł Akrobacyjny Orlik (Orlik Aerobatic Team). Polish manufacturer PZL-Mielec first flew its prototype PZL-130 Orlik in 1984 - back then it was a piston-engined design, but this was later abandoned in favour of the turboprop-powered Turbo Orlik, which entered service with the Polish Air Force (its only customer to date) in 1994. All examples have been upgraded to PZL-130TC standard, and there have been various avionics updates since then. The display team was established during 1998, and made its first Air Tattoo appearance that summer. Radom is the base both of the team and the wider Turbo Orlik fleet from which its mounts, and pilots, are drawn.
Photo credit: David Halford