In a ceremony on Tuesday at Warsaw's Okecie Airport, the Polish Air Force VIP squadron 36SPLT (Specjalnego PuÅ‚ku Lotnictwa Transportowego = Special Air Transport Regiment) was disbanded.
The ceremony was attended by Deputy Minister of Defence Czeslaw Mroczek, Chief of General Staff of the Polish Army General Mieczyslaw Cieniuch, Air Force Commander Lt. Gen. pil. Lech Majewski, representatives of the Prime Minister, the Sejm and the Polish Senate, local authorities, directors of companies and institutions who have worked with 36SPLT , representatives of the uniformed services, clergy, associations, veterans, retired military, former professional soldiers at rest and Reserve and their families.
The announcement of the disbandment was made back in August last year following the investigation report into the crash of one of the unit's Tupolev Tu154 which crashed in April 2010 at Smolensk in Russia killing all 96 on board - including the country's President, his wife and various high-ranking military and political leaders. The report put the majority of the blame on Polish officials and procedures, although not absolving Russian ATC or the weather for contributing. This led to the resignation of Polish Defence Minister Bogdan Klich.
Aside from a range of fixed-wing aircraft, 36SPLT operated Mil Mi-8 and Pezetel W-3 Sokol helicopters as well as a pair of Bell 412s, one of which is seen in the accompanying photo.
Jeremy Parkin - HeliHub.com
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