Armed Forces

Orlik MPT Makes its Maiden Flight

  • Falcon 7x, Image Credit: A.Hładij/
  • fot. NPCA Online/ flickr

It was Dęblin AB, home of the 4th Training Aviation Wing, where the official maiden flight of PZL 130 Orlik MPT (Multi Purpose Trainer) took place. Thanks to the modernization Orlik gets refreshed, and it is going to serve for many years to come - as Czesław Mroczek, Deputy Minister of Defence stated during the aircraft’s first public appearance. 

Orlik MPT manufactured by the Airbus Military company is a response to the needs of creating a modernized introductory-training platform for the pilots of the Polish Air Force. MPT is based on Orlik TC-I variant. The new version has been dubbed Orlik TC-II Glass Cockpit by the Armament Inspectorate. The example presented in Dęblin on 6th October is a significantly improved variant of the PZL-130 Orlik TC II Garmin aircraft, which is currently used by the Polish Air Force. The aim was to create an Orlik derivative, which would have cockpit equipment similar to the M-346 Master trainers in their Polish version, as well as the Polish F-16C jet fighters.

The first presentation of this variant of Orlik took place in March 2014. After two months of ground tests of all the systems, in May, the aircraft took its first development flight. Full integration of the  glass cockpit integrated avionics suite with the remaining systems of the aircraft has been achieved. These systems include: secondary avionics suite, VMS, antenna systems and electrical system.

Orlik MPT has so far accumulated ca. 30 flying hours. Up until now proper functioning of the basic aircraft systems has been verified, including the new propulsion system, hydraulics, air conditioning, brake control, flaps control and primary and secondary gear control systems. The integrated avionics suite, known as ZSA, was also verified along with radio and navigation components (TACAN/DME, VOR/ILS/MKR) and piloting systems (AHRS, ISFD). Last but not least, the ergonomics of the modified cockpit have been verified as well. The aircraft had received Permament Flight Authorization in the Special Category.

Currently, the aircraft is entering the second phase of the test flying programme, which aims at checking the individual functions of the avionics suite, deicing system and gear anti-skid system. The tests should be completed by the end of this year.

Works on Orlik MPT have been conducted since 2011, and the cost of the programme is almost PLN 40 million. Airbus representatives state that the new variant will not be offered exclusively to the Polish Air Force, but it is also to be sold to the foreign markets.