Spotting in the Snow



            It’s that time of the year when most spotters, or at least those not lucky enough to have an interesting military base close at hand, pack up their poles and cameras for the winter. Why??? Few aeroplanes hibernate, there’s no heat haze, and there are many off-season special offers for flights and accommodation. Frankly, there are good times to be had. It can also be said that wives & girlfriends find it easier to put up with their partner’s hobby if it’s evenly spread throughout the year, rather than concentrated on all the best weekends in the Summer. Well, that’s one point of view, however if pressed on the subject these days Sylvia rolls her eyes and says “There’s just no end to it now…”


            I can personally recommend taking full advantage of the off-season. If you have read ‘Pining for the Fjords’ you will have seen that we enjoyed end of season ‘Spotting in the Snow’ in Norway. At the beginning of the year we went to Northern Italy in January, Southern Italy in February and Poland in March. Poland is a favourite country of mine. Friendly people, MiGs, cheap, MiGs, good food, MiGs, interesting countryside (and don’t forget the MiGs). We encountered snow in varying degrees on all these trips. Nowhere did it cause us any insurmountable problems – it’s only in UK that everything grinds to a halt when the first snowflake falls (you train drivers will know all about thatJ). In Poland the country is under a blanket of snow for most of the winter, but the roads are cleared and life goes on.


            The log below includes “new” only, to which I have added some explanation around the accompanying photos. For first timers you could expect more at the helicopter bases and of course the museum at Lodz:-




02-0202             C-40C, 201 AS/113 Wg, District of Columbia ANG (arr 23.3).


Flew from Stansted to Lodz on Ryanair's Boeing 737-8AS EI-DHP (c/n 33579) "FR2468" taking off from runway 23 at 06:47 and landing on runway 25 at Lodz at 08:33 (09:33 local).




SN-07XP           Mil Mi-2T, (c/n 512539082) 'F-005' Lotnictwo Policji.


KSAWEROW 25.3.06:


Preserved at the Zespol Szkol Rolnicze in ul Szkolna.....


1605                 Lim-2, (c/n 1B01605) ex Polish AF.


This Polish built MiG-15 is only a few miles from Lodz airport, off the road to Lask (Highway 14). The Mi-2 is preserved by the side of the 14. Despite having been there, I’m still unsure of the exact nature of the place it’s preserved at, whether a business or educational establishment.


CHECHLO II 25.3.06:


Preserved at Pabianka 10/11.....


0628                 Mil Mi-2M, (c/n 560628038) ex 56 KPSB, Polish AF.


LASK 25.3.06:


Preserved at 10 ELT barracks.....


1801                 MiG-21PF, (c/n 761801) "2000" ex 10 PLM, Polish AF (d/d 6.4.65).


LASK 25.3.06:


Preserved by the junction of Rtes 12 and 14.....


708                   Lim-2, (c/n 1B00708) "2004" ex Polish AF.


We also checked out Lask base, but there was nothing to be seen here on this occasion (lots of trees and an empty flight line).


WARTA 25.3.06:


Preserved at Gimnazjum Stanislawa Skarzynskiego in ul Swietojanska.....


-                                            TS-8 Bies, (c/n 1E....) ex Polish AF.


Don’t be fooled by the word “Gimnazjum”, it actually means a school, not a gymnasium.




5242                 Mil Mi-2D,    (c/n 515242077) 56 KPSB, Polish AF.

5346                 Mil Mi-2R,    (c/n 565346127) 56 KPSB, Polish AF.

6428                 Mil Mi-2R,    (c/n 566428129) 56 KSPB, Polish AF.

6923                 Mil Mi-2URPG, (c/n 566923120) 56 KPSB, Polish AF.

6924                 Mil Mi-2URPG, (c/n 566924120) 56 KPSB, Polish AF.

6946                 Mil Mi-2URP,  (c/n 566946120) 56 KPSB, Polish AF.

6947                 Mil Mi-2URP,  (c/n 566947120) 56 KPSB, Polish AF.

7338                 Mil Mi-2URPG, (c/n 567338012) 56 KPSB, Polish AF.

7341                 Mil Mi-2URPG, (c/n 567341012) 56 KPSB, Polish AF.

8220                 Mil Mi-2URP,  (c/n 568220063) 56 KPSB, Polish AF.


735                   Mil Mi-24V, (c/n 410735) 56 KPSB, Polish AF.




6925                 Mil Mi-2URPG, (c/n 566925120) Polish AF.

6944                 Mil Mi-2URP,  (c/n 566944120) Polish AF.


GRUDZIADZ 25.3.06:


Preserved in a park by Rte 16.....


-                       Lim-2, (c/n .......) ex Polish AF. Painted as "107".




Preserved at a filling station on Rte 16.....


1317                 Antonov An-2R, (c/n 1G113-17) ex Polish AF.




0610                 Mil Mi-2M,  (c/n 510610018) 49 PSB, Polish AF.

2706                 Mil Mi-2RM, (c/n 552706122) 49 PSB, Polish AF.

5350                 Mil Mi-2CH, (c/n 565350127) 49 PSB, Polish AF.


CHLAPOWO 26.3.06:


Preserved as the Restauracja Czynna......


102                   Tupolev Tu-134A, (c/n 3352008) ex Polish AF & SP-LHG (arr 12.10.99).


Although not looking too military these days, this Tu-134 has ‘previous’. It was also particularly satisfying to catch up with as on a previous occasion we had invested a lot of time in failing to find it. We now know that we turned round about 200 yards too early the first time.


As a measure of how cold it was, here are some of the locals engaged in Winter Sports on a frozen lake.


GLOWCZYCE 26.3.06:


Preserved at a private house in ul 9go Marca.....


459                   MiG-23MF, (c/n 0390220459/13403) ex 28 PLM, Polish AF.




Preserved at a private house in the village.....


456                   MiG-23MF, (c/n 0390220456/13310) ex 28 PLM, Polish AF.


DARLOWO 26.3.06:


1008                 Mil Mi-14PS, (c/n A1008) 29 eLMW, Polish Navy.

1012                 Mil Mi-14PS, (c/n A1012) 29 eLMW, Polish Navy (Special marks).

5137                 Mil Mi-14PS, (c/n 75137) 29 eLMW, Polisy Navy (SAR c/s).


KOSZALIN 26.3.06:


Preserved at the the Politechniki Koszalinskiej in ul Raclawicka.....


1906                 MiG-21M, (c/n 961906) ex 41 PLM, Polish AF, & Malbork store (d/d 2.3.70).


Its always nice to discover a new wreck. Having spent many an hour trawling the net, we knew of the existence of this MiG-21. With a little effort, we managed to find it.


MIASTKO 26.3.06:


Preserved in ul Dluga.....


409                   Lim-5, (c/n 1C0409) ex Polish AF (d/d 15.5.57).


This MiG-17 has a little more colour than most, in contrast to the grey old-style Communist town it lives in. Miastko is way out in the sticks and still retains an air of its post war history.


PILA 26.3.06:


Preserved in ul Dzieci Polskich .....


-                       Lim-2, (c/n ......) ex Polish AF. Painted as "1952/2002"


WITKOWO 27.3.06:


Preserved outside the Klub Garnizonowy in ul Zwirki I Wigury.....


8                      Ilyushin Il-28R, (c/n ......) "10" ex Polish AF.


Fog was something of a problem this morning as the aircraft were visible only from a few feet away. However, it did clear up by mid morning. You notice how the fog lingers in the trees and it looks fantastic as the fog seems to slowly pour out of the forest and evaporate.


Preserved at a school in ul Braci Lukowskich.....


0627                 TS-8 Bies, (c/n 1E0627) ex Polish AF.


SREM 27.3.06:


Preserved at the gate of a barracks at the junction of Rtes 310 & 432.....


414                   Lim-6bis, (c/n 1J0414) ex 53 PLM-Sz, Polish AF & Mierzecice, painted as "4430" (previously "3486") (d/d 28.3.63).


JAROCIN 27.3.06:


Preserved at the barracks of 16 Battalion Wojska Polskiego on Rte 11.....


-                       Lim-6M, (c/n ......) ex Polish AF. Painted as "8895".


KROSNICE 27.3.06:


Preserved inside Wojewodski Szpital Neuroschiatrii w Krosnich.....


-                                            Avia C.11, (c/n ......) ex Polish AF.


One of the more unusual locations, this Yak-11 is preserved in the grounds of a psychiatric hospital.


OLESNICA 27.3.06:


Preserved inside the gate at 10 Rejonowe Warszaty Techniczne.....


504                   TS-11 Iskra bis B, (c/n 1H0504) ex Polish AF (arr 2.11.72). Painted as "1978".


PSIE POLE 27.3.06:


Preserved at the Lotnicze Zaklady Naukowe.....


5609                 MiG-21PFM, (c/n 94A5609) ex Polish AF & Olesnica (d/d 2.6.67).

7502                 MiG-21UM, (c/n 02695175) ex Polish AF.


706                   TS-11 Iskra bis C, (c/n 1H0706) ex Polish AF & Olesnica (Wfu 4.5.95).


"1"                    Lim-1, (c/n ......) ex Polish AF, "1". Painted in "Tiger" c/s.


The LZN is an aviation technical college. I had attempted e-mail contact beforehand, with no result. However, Security were friendly (albeit non English speaking) and soon understood that the crazy English wanted to take some pictures. No problem.


PSARY 27.3.06:


Preserved next to Rte 5.....


1815                 MiG-21M, (c/n 961815) ex 41 PLM, Polish AF (d/d 20.3.70, damaged 3.9.70 and to instructional at Olesnia).


WOLOW 27.3.06:


Preserved at the junction of Rtes 339 and 340.....


-                                            Lim-5P, (c/n ......) ex Polish AF. Painted as "1985".


This radar-equipped MiG-17 is quite a rare bird and very photogenic, I think. She is preserved at the birthplace of Polish astronaut Miroslaw Hermaszewski.


SZPROTAWA 27.3.06:


Preserved by the main road through the town.....


-                                            MiG-21F-13, (c/n ......) ex Soviet AF (dedicated 5.9.85).


Polish roads are absolutely terrible, full of pot holes that need a lot of care to avoid. Oncoming traffic will suddenly swerve to your side of the road to miss pot holes. We managed to hit one at speed just outside Szprotawa, taking out both tyre and wheel. We put the spare on and continued – even more carefully as we had no spare after that! Szprotawa was a Soviet base and it was interesting to take a look at it as we passed by. Unusually for MiGs in Poland, the Szprotawa example is a former Soviet machine, though unfortunately anonymous.


ZERSKA WIES 27.3.06:


Preserved with Aeroklub.....


-                       Lim-1, (c/n ......) ex Polish AF & Psie Pole, marked "165".

6510                 MiG-21PFM, (c/n 94A6510) ex 62 PLM, Polish AF (d/d 25.3.68).

461                   MiG-23MF, (c/n 0390220461/13405) ex 28 PLM, Polish AF.




Aeroklub Jeleniogorski;


9857                 Antonov An-2T, (c/n 1G98-57) ex Polish AF, registered SP-FIN.

9867                 Antonov An-2T, (c/n 1G98-67) ex Polish AF, registered SP-AOF.


Jelenia Gora is in a tourist area in the hilly South West of the country. The aero club also have this TS-11 which I had previously encountered operational at Deblin in ’94.


NOWA RUDA 28.3.06:


Preserved at an Orlen filling station on Rte 381, dedicated 19.7.00.....


1813                 MiG-21M, (c/n 961813) ex Polish AF (d/d 29.1.70).


This machine was way out on a limb but we made the effort to go for her as that effectively ‘cleared’ a large chunk of Poland. The legs got rather cold and wet whilst struggling through the snow to read the date on the plaque.


WROCLAW 28.3.06:


Preserved inside the gate at 3 Bazy Lotniczej.....


8007                 MiG-21MF, (c/n 968007) ex 11 PLM, Polish AF (d/d 18.9.73).


ZERNIKI 28.3.06:


Preserved at the Orle Gniazdo restaurant at ul Strachowice 42a.....


7101                 MiG-21PFM, (c/n 94A7101) ex 62 PLM, Polish AF & Poznan store (d/d 15.5.68).


OLAWA 28.3.06:


Preserved at a private house in ul Oleandry.....


0513                 TS-8 Bies, (c/n 1E0513) ex Polish AF & SP-CLB.


KK136              Dakota IV, (c/n 15272/26717, 43-49456) d/d USAAF 25.11.44 and  passed to the RAF 28.12.44 as KK136, to Croydon 4.1.45, to 147 Sqn 13.12.45, to 1 TAMU 10.9.46, to Middle East 16.10.46, to UK 3.2.47, stored 14.4.47, to Oakington 17.12.49, to G-AMPP 4.5.52 for Scottish Aviation and operated by Scottish Aviation Airlines from 28.10.54, allocated XF756 for trooping flights in '54, to Dan Air 30.3.61, registration cancelled 7.2.71, preserved with the Air Scouts at Lasham as "G-AMSU", to Aces High at North Weald 20.12.91, to Euro-Disney, to Museum Bevrijdende Vleugels at Best (Neths) 29.8.02, to Berlin 26.2.05 for use in a crash scene in a Berlin Airlift film "Die Luftbrucke", painted in RAF colours as KN491 and fire damaged.


This bird came as something of a surprise. She was more substantial than is apparent from the picture, but in pieces.


EPOP OPOLE 28.3.06:


Preserved at the Aeroklub Opolskie.....


926                   Sukhoi Su-7BKL, (c/n 7926) ex Polish AF & Mierzecice.




Preserved in the park Kultury I Wypoczynku im P Furgola.....


1923                 Lim-2, (c/n 1B01923) ex Polish AF.


Rather a rare bird this one. I think we were probably the first Brits to see her. Czerwionka is a dark and dismal mining town and the weather was in keeping with the atmosphere. We got soaked just venturing out for a couple of minutes for a picture.


ZAWIERCIE 28.3.06:


Preserved at restaurant Karczma u Stacha.....


526                   Lim-6R, (c/n 1J0526) ex Polish AF (d/d 14.11.63, Wfu 14.1.91).


SECEMIN 29.3.06:


Preserved behind the Post Office in the village.....


9109                 MiG-21MF, (c/n 969109) ex 41 PLM, Polish AF (d/d 18.4.74).


We must have spent an hour driving around Secemin to no avail. At the point of giving up we stopped at a bus stop in the middle of the village, waved a picture of a MiG-21 and asked a local. He just turned round and pointed. A few yards away, behind the Post Office and just visible through a gate was the MiG-21.


Poland is a wonderful country and has many investment opportunities. This ‘Des Res’ in the countryside, though in need of some renovation, would be ideal for a first time buyer with some DIY skills.


LIPICZE 29.3.06:


Preserved at Napisy Nagrobkowe in ul Stawowa.....


7913                 MiG-21MF, (c/n 967913) ex Polish AF (d/d 11.9.73).


KRUSZYNA 29.3.06:


Preserved at the southbound services on the E75.....


8189                 MiG-21MF-75, (c/n 96008189) ex 10 PLM, Polish AF (d/d 11.12.75).






661                   Yak-12M, (c/n 169661) ex Polish AF, registered SP-AAU for Aeroklub Ziemi Pitrkowskiej.




Stored at WZL-1.....


1009                 Mil Mi-14PL, (c/n A1009) ex 29 eLMW, Polish Navy.

603                   Mil Mi-17, (c/n 106M03) ex 37 dLOT, Polish AF.


There is a major rework facility at Lodz and normally there are a few helicopters outside. Of course, don’t forget the museum (now closed, but still all there…)


Flew from Lodz to Stansted on Ryanair's Boeing 737-8AS EI-DCX (c/n 33569) "FR2469" taking off from runway 25 at 15:29 and landing on runway 23 at Stansted at 17:13 (16:13 local).


Richard was otherwise engaged this trip so Pete Norris substituted. My thanks to travelling companions Eric, Ian & Pete.