Securing the Skies and Training Goes Hand-in-Hand.
Jul 31, 2014
Captain Jachu Jachowicz is one of the MiG-29 pilots from the Polish Air Force detachment deployed to Šiauliai Air Base, Lithuania, executing NATO’s standing Baltic Air Policing mission. In 2000, right after graduating from school, he joined the Air Force. After about three years of flight training and other courses he graduated as a fully trained MiG-29 pilot. He is originally member of 22nd Tactical Air Base in Malbork, Poland.
The pilots of a quick reaction alert interceptor or QRA(I) aircraft have to be ready all the time. One shift at Šiauliai means 24 hours of duty for the pilots. In case the alarm rings, they have to be in the air in less than 15 minutes. Once airborne they will be told what exactly is their mission.
Another important aspect of the Polish Air Force deployment to Lithuania is the possibility to train with other nations. "Currently we can fly with three other nations that fly different types of aircraft. For me this is the best way to train,” the Captain admits. This is not his first international experience, Captain Jachowiczis attended one of the multinational courses for tactical air operations at the Tactical Leadership Programme in Albacete, Spain.
The Polish Detachment Commander, Lieutenant Colonel Krzysztof "Dziadek" Stobiecki, is not new to the international environment at Šiauliai Air Base. Two years ago he had been the Deputy Detachment Commander of the Polish contribution to the NATO Air Policing mission. "These are busy times for my pilots,” he stresses. "The situation has changed in that we now have a second detachment here at Šiauliai. However, compared to my first tour, the training opportunities besides our standing Air Policing mission are even better. Different Nations, different fighters this is what makes it so valuable. After this mission my pilots will be specialists in providing Air Policing."