New Capabilities at Hand of the Polish Military Aviation Works Facility in Bydgoszcz. Support for the Hercules Transport Aircraft and Airliners

Image Credit: Andrzej Hładij
Image Credit: Andrzej Hładij

WZL No. 2 S.A. facility located in Bydgoszcz has launched its new plants, the purpose of which is to maintain and paint larger aircraft, including the medium range airliners and Hercules airlifters. The newly created hangar allows the company to expand its offer which, so far, was focused mainly on maintenance and painting works referring to the military aircraft.

WZL No. 2 – Heritage

The Bydgoszcz based facility has been dealing with aircraft maintenance tasks since 1945, and the centre has been functioning under its current name – Wojskowe Zakłady Lotnicze nr 2 – since 1983. Within the area of the facility, jets of all generations used by the Polish Air Force were being serviced, starting from the MiG-15 airframe. The facility is also a place where the Polish Su-22, MiG-29 and F-16 jets are being painted, with prospects of M-346 Master airframe joining the aforesaid group soon. Moreover, special paint schemes, including the portraits of the prominent WW2 pilots on the tails of the MiG-29 fighter jets used by the Polish Air Force, have also been created in Bydgoszcz.

Back in 2008, the facility underwent a commercialization process, becoming a Treasury-controlled limited company, which paved the way towards provision of new services, also within the scope of maintaining the civilian aircraft, aerobatic airplanes and general aviation airframes to begin with. Another step which has been taken in order to expand the offer is seen in the event of opening a new hangar in 2016, housing a paint shop and a maintenance hall. 

WZL Hładij
Fot. Andrzej Hładij.

New Hangar in Bydgoszcz

The conceptual works concerning the new WZL No. 2 S.A.’s hangar began two years ago, while the construction works, carried out by the Warbud S.A. company, took a little more than a year. On 29th April this year the company obtained a permission to use the paint shop, and technical hand off protocol has been signed in May. The plan was to officially open the hangar on 29th September this year, however the facility was being already operated prior to that date. At the moment this is the largest paint shop in Poland, certified for painting the aircraft. 

As a result of the construction works carried out within the area of the WZL No. 2 company a 24.95 meters high hangar has been erected. Its width is 119.9 meters and it is 65.5 meters long. The gate height is 17 meters. This means that a wide-body airliner, such as Boeing 767-300ER, may easily fit inside. 

Paint Shop for Medium Range Airliners

The hangar in question consists of two sections. First one features a modern painting facility which may also be used to paint the airliners. Its size allows the WZL to host, paint and maintain even the largest narrow-bodied passenger jets, such as Boeing 737-900ER and Airbus A321. The facility is able to accommodate up to 3 ATR-72 aircraft inside simultaneously. Even though the official opening of the plant has not yet been planned, it gained attention of the future users, and three aircraft, King Air 350, ATR72 and Saab 340, have already been painted at the new hangar.

Image Credit: Andrzej Hładij

The Paint Shop Hall, the surface area of which is defined as 3750 square meters, has been fitted with a vertical supply and exhaust ventilation system which ensures that air flow at speeds exceeding 0.3 meters per second is achievable at the height of the aircraft wings. Moreover, the hall also features a demineralized water humidifying system which maintains relative humidity of 35 to 75% at temperatures or around 20 degrees centigrade and of around 50% at temperature of 35 degrees centigrade. The paint shop hall also features two heating systems. Hoval is the first heating system which uses the pressurized hot water as the heating medium. Second solution comes in a form of the Krantz system using the gas for the purpose of producing heat. The facility has also been fitted with a reserve power generator, allowing the employees to continue the painting process for 10 hours, should a power cut occur. 

The old paint may be removed, depending on the customer’s requirements, through grinding or through chemical stripping. Graco electrostatic spray gun system is used for painting, and the paints are mixed in a pneumatic and electric mechanical shaker. In Bydgoszcz, it is possible to paint the aircraft in any pattern, with the use of atypical colours. 

The paint hall also features a special aircraft docking system, with a system of cranes which makes it possible to paint a 737-sized aircraft from the tip of its tail, along with mobile scissor and telescopic-articulated platforms. Thanks to this equipment, every part of the painted aircraft is easily accessible. WZL No. 2. S.A. company declares that the work time is going to be shortened, with 10 days required to paint a Boeing 737. 

WZL Hładij
Fot. Andrzej Hładij.

Maintenance Hall for the Polish Hercules Aircraft and Other Airframes

Aircraft maintenance area, with a surface of 3650 square meters, has been tailored to carry out maintenance works on wide-bodied passenger jets, up to the size of Boeing 767-300ER. So far, the room has been used, since the beginning of the year 2016, to carry out periodic overhauls of the C-130E Hercules airlifters. This means that the commercial customers would gain access to the said facility only after the planned military aircraft overhauls come to an end. The maintenance room has its own heating system, it features a crane and a relevant ventilation system. 

Both halls also feature a special aircraft washing system, utilizing hot, pressurized water. The industrial wastewater is directed towards the facility’s water treatment plant. The rooms feature a LED lighting solution - 500 lx in case of the maintenance hall and 100 lx in case of the paint shop. Besides that, the hangar also features staff rooms, the area of which is 2000 square meters.  

Within the framework of the investment, additional taxiway has been created, interconnecting the hangar and the runway of the Bydgoszcz airport, along with an apron for the aircraft.

Locating a modern aircraft paint shop in Poland may allow the Wojskowe Zakłady Lotnicze Nr 2 S.A. facility in Bydgoszcz to compete with similar establishments located in the Western part of Europe, for instance in Germany. In this way, the company will also be able to expand its offer, reaching out to the civil market. The maintenance hall allows the Bydgoszcz facility to perform the maintenance works on the air force’s cargo aircraft, including the C-130s, it also creates a chance for the WZL No. 2 to attract commercial clients. The offer is also beneficial due to the fact that Bydgoszcz is located around two hours (flying) from most of the main airports in Europe.