Farka Air Base




In July 1956, pilots and technicians were sent to the former Soviet Union to be trained in the use of helicopters.
In June 1957, it was established the Military Transportation Unit no.5818 and its organizational structure included a MI-4, three MI-1, a few JAK-11 planes, JAK-18 and PO-2. The unit commander was appointed Peço Polena, commander of the first trio of MI-4 was appointed Petrit Malindi; Mersin Minxha was appointed the commander of the second trio of MI-1 and Refit Jazo was the commander of JAK-18 aircrafts.
On September 4, 1957, thousands of people in Tirana saw flying a helicopter in the sky for the first time in our country. The helicopter piloted by Peço Polena flew over the route Tirana-Shkodra-Tirana. In June 1958, one of MI-1 helicopters clashed and it was put out of use. Flights with MI-4 helicopters continued by fulfilling special tasks, particularly in the winter situations in the years 1958, '59, '60, under very difficult weather conditions.

In 1967, about 30 new MI-4 helicopters manufactured in the People’s Republic of China were included in this unit. This unit was named “1st Helicopter Regiment” on December 6, 1967 and its commander was appointed Lulo Musaj. The regiment included three squadron of MI-4 helicopters, one machine-shop to repair helicopters, the runway for heliport allowing simultaneous take off and landing of several helicopters, barracks and normal conditions for the personnel, guards and the entire necessary infrastructure to fulfil their tasks.
Farka Air Base has made a remarkable contribution in accomplishing various military trainings of that time, but also to help the population in civil emergencies, especially in cases of flooding, blocked mountain areas by the snow, earthquakes or even in times of crisis.
This base has also participated in several exercises, either Air Force exercises, or joint exercises with forces of other units of the Armed Forces, showing high quality and level of flight training.
To carry out its mission, the personnel of this base are intensively trained to keep in constant readiness the air technique, to accomplish tasks such as, transportation of troops, search and rescue operations (SAR), food aid distribution, or transportation of patients in civil emergencies.

In the recent years the base infrastructure has been significantly improved mainly due to the assistance provided by the Italian Army. The new heliport is built with all its respective equipment for day and night landings and take offs.  The barracks were reconstructed, as well as the machine-shop for helicopters maintenance; the direction and flight tower is equipped with modern tools.

The personnel of Farka Air Base has been qualified to meet the standards and its mission. This base is a symbol of cooperation with our allies in joint exercises, where there participants have shown dignity and professionalism coordinating actions in order to accomplish the mission.
Every year, it carries over 500 flights in humanitarian operations to help people in need, to transportation the sick people, against fires, transportation of humanitarian aid, in support of the community during floods, etc. The real and tangible indicator of the entire Albanian people was the contribution made in the last years during the floods in Shkodra, where despite the unsuitable weather conditions, the pilots helped the people. The pilots of the air base have been trained to be able to carry out air operations in different weather conditions and interact with other NATO allied armies.

Most of the technical and pilot personnel has been qualified in Western schools and units such as in Italy, USA, Turkey, Greece, Germany, France and United Kingdom.
The following are those who commanded Farka Base in years: Lulo Musai, Refat Kasimati, Hetem Mehmeti, Sinan Çela, Enver Taho, Beqir Barxha, Raqi Qarri, Syrja Gjoka and Frederik Beltoja.




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