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250th Presidential Airlift Wing
250th Special Mission Wing
700th Special Mission Wing
7001st Special Mission Squadron
"Bluebirds"

The 250th Presidential Airlift Wing, the "Bluebirds," provide air transport for the President, the first family, and for visiting dignitaries and VIP's. Its specific functions include: Providing aircraft and aircrew for airlift of the President, immediate members of his/her family, visiting Heads of states and other local and foreign VIPs; conducting proficiency training of aircrew and support personnel; operating and maintaining common aviation assets of the Government Financial Institutions (GFIs); performing limited maintenance of assigned aircraft; performs liaison or coordination of aircraft requirements for presidential flights; coordinating with appropriate agencies for field and depot level maintenance of assigned aircraft; providing command and control and communication in advance base operations for presidential flights; providing presidential security augmentation; assigning safety pilot for VIP movement abroad; and performing other functions as directed by higher Headquarters.

Several aircraft are assigned to this unit, including the PAF's sole Fokker F-28 Fellowship 1, Fokker F-27 Friendships, S-70 Blackhawks, S-76s, SA-330 Pumas, and Bell 412s. The 250th Presidential Airlift Wing is stationed at Villamor Air Base, located near the Presidential Palace in Manila. The callsign "Kalayaan 1" is used by the unit in a similar way as the term "Air Force 1" in the United States, designated an aircraft with the President of the Republic of the Philippines on board.

The 250th Presidential Airlift Wing traces its lineage back to 1947, when the Philippine Air Force was tasked to provide air transportation to the President of the Republic of the Philippines, his/her Family and State Guests pursuant to General Orders Number 228, General Headquarters, Armed Forces of the Philippines, dated 24 October 1947. As a consequence, one Squadron of then 205th Composite Wing was tasked to provide one C-47 as the primary aircraft with pilots and crew. The C-47 was subsequently replaced in 1959 by the Fokker F-27 Friendship as the primary aircraft.

The Philippine Air Force, realizing the importance of an air arm to support Presidential movements, began studies in 1965 for the organization of a special unit exclusively for presidential airlift mission under the operational control of the Presidential Security Unit (PSU). This led to the decision to integrate the basic operations, security, maintenance, and support elements into one compact unit. The 7001st Detachment was activated on 2 September 1968, pursuant to General Orders Number 16, Headquarters, Philippine Air Force, dated 20 August 1968. The Detachment was formed from some personnel detached from the 206th Troop Carrier Squadron and 505th Air Rescue Squadron. The unit was initially assigned one C-47 and one Sikorsky S-62 helicopter, the latter to be used as a backup. In August 1969, 3 UH-1H Helicopters were acquired by the Detachment and the unit ws also placed under the direct control of the Commanding General, Philippine Air Force for administrative and logistics requirements.

Due to the increasing number of personnel and equipment, this unit was redesignated as 7001st Presidential Airlift Squadron on 13 April 1972. On 10 December 1974, the unit was upgraded to a Wing, being designated the 700th Special Mission Wing, pursuant to General Orders Number 234, Headquarters, Philippine Air Force. The Wing was consisted of 6 Squadrons: the Headquarters Administrative Services, 701st Special Airlift Squadron, and 702nd Special Mission Squadron, 703rd Security Squadron, 704th Field Maintenance Squadron and 705th Supply Services Squadron.

In 1979, the Central Bank of the Philippines purchased 2 SA-330 Puma helicopters. A single Fokker F-28 Fellowship was purchased in 1980. These aircraft were assigned to the 700th Special Mission Wing for the use of then President Ferdinand E. Marcos. In 1981, 3 Bell 205A-1 helicotpers replaced the 3 UH-1H Helicopters being used by the 700th Special Mission Wing. In 1984, the Philippine Air Force acquired 17 helicopters from Sikorsky. Among these, 3 S-76A and 2 S-70A-5 helicopters were assigned to 700th Special Mission Wing to serve as support aircrafts for presidential requirements.

Several changes were implemented after the 1986 People Power Revolution. The 700th Special Mission Wing was redesignated as the 250th Presidential Airlift Wing on 10 July 1986, pursuant to General Orders Number 211, Headquarters, Philippine Air Force. The units subordinate squadrons were also redesignated as the 251st Special Airlift Squadron, 252nd Special Airlift Mission Squadron, 253rd Security Squadron, 254th Field Depot Maintenance Squadron and 255th Supply Services Squadron.

The Wing was once again redesignated and reorganized as the 250th Special Airlift Wing, pursuant to General Orders Number 260, dated 24 June 1998. The objective of the redesignation and reorganization was to make both more relevant to the unit's mandated mission. The 250th Special Airlift Wing consisted of the 252nd Presidential Airlift Squadron, 253rd Presidential Airlift Squadron, 258th Security Squadron, 259th Supply and Support and 260th Field Maintenance Squadron.

Eventually the unit was again redesignated as the 250th Presidential Airlift Wing. This unit consisted of 7 Squadrons: the Headquarters Squadron, 251st Presidential Airlift Squadron (Fixed Wing), 252nd Presidential Airlift Squadron (Rotary), 253rd Special Airlift Squadron, 254th Supply Support Squadron, 255th Field Maintenance Squadron, and 256th Security Squadron. A restructing of the Philippine Air Force as a whole led to the transfer of the Wing's 3 S-76A helicopters to the expanded 505th Search and Rescue Group.

With the enactment of the Bases Conversion Development and Modernization Program, the Bluebirds of the 250th Presidential Airlift Wing finally found a more permanent base in December 1999, in a more spacious and secured area adjacent to Ninoy Aquino International Airport. The 250th Presidential Airlift Wing was eventually relocated to Villamor Air Base.

On 7 April 2009, one of the 250th Presidential Airlift Wing's Bell 412's (registration number RP-1946) crashed in a remote area of Mount Pulag with 8 people on board, including senior presidential aides. All were killed. It was believed that the crash occurred as the helicopter was passing through thick fog, making it impossible for the pilots to realize how close to the mountain they were until impact. Four Bell 412s, the entire fleet of this type of aircraft then in service with the Philippine Air Force, remained in service with the 250th Presidential Airlift Wing.

For the first time in the history of the Presidential Security Group, in September 2014 the air assets of the Philippine Navy were utilized as primary helicopters for the presidential movement. This achievement merits not only the aviators and crew who finished the mission safely but also the personalities rooted from all the successful stages of acquiring reliable assets and developing personnel for significant missions. This feat is one of the positive manifestations of the jointness of TEAM AFP.

The newly acquired AgustaWestland 109E Naval Helicopters have momentarily transformed from Navy Flight to Bluebird Flight and finally to KALAYAAN FLIGHT during the movement of His Excellency President Benigno S. Aquino III. The flight composed of PNH-430 and PNH-432 and flown by the aviators of Naval Air Group and the 250th Presidential Airlift Wing, successfully accomplished the mission of providing safe, secure, and effective air transportation to the Commander-In-Chief and his party from Malacanang to Camp Aquino, Tarlac and back.

The AW109E Naval Helicopters are the products of the Naval Helicopter Acquisition Project (NHAP) which started in 2009 and was completed in 2013. According to Capt Alberto B. Carlos PN (GSC) in his book Clear Sky and Green Deck, the acquisition splashed the Navy with optimism to breach the long drought and quench the thirst of pilots for new procurement. Indeed, the NHAP has grown into a fruitful investment that would benefit the AFP, its stakeholders, and the Filipino people.

As mandated by AFP policy, the 250th Presidential Airlift Wing of the Philippine Air Force is the sole unit tasked to provide safe, secure and effective air transportation to the President of the Republic of the Philippines, his family, heads of state, and other local and foreign VVIPs. The operational needs of the Presidential movement will dictate the utilization of other air assets not in the inventory of the Presidential unit. Likewise, security policy of PSG dictates that a pilot of the 250th Presidential Airlift Wing shall act as safety pilot or co-pilot in the aircraft to ensure safety, security and adherence to protocol during the duration of the flight. This has been strictly implemented especially during instances where civilian helicopters were tapped to be used during presidential flights.

The 250th Presidential Airlift Wing headed by its Wing Commander, COL ARNOLD A MANCITA O-9247 PAF(GSC) tapped the utilization of the Naval helicopters because the Presidential helicopters were geographically prepositioned in various areas of Central and Southern Philippines to support upcoming movements of HE PBSAIII. The Squadron Commander of the Naval Helicopter Squadron was also very instrumental in conducting the lecture in helicopter systems and flight procedures at a very short notice. He also made himself readily available for the countless questions thrown to him by the student pilots. The course was successfully finished with excellent performance by the student pilots. Hence, they were initially awarded with an AW109E Naval Helicopter Patch and were recommended for the issuance of appropriate orders as AW109E Naval Helicopter Co-Pilots.

Successfully flying the President of the Republic of the Philippines is an achievement done with great pride and honor. Together with it was a great opportunity for the Philippine Navy to showcase the multi-role capability of its new Naval Helicopters. From preparation to execution phase, a total flying time of 8+19 was logged by the two (2) Naval Helicopters with seven (7) sorties and nine (9) passengers.

Traditionally, as covered by (Standing) Operating Procedures, the pilots and crew who took part in the actual flight mission are awarded the coveted Presidential Flight Crew Badge in recognition of their great responsibility in the successful air transportation and are awarded the Presidential Flight Crew Badge.

Teamwork, Responsiveness and Flexibility are qualities not new to Presidential Security Group, 250th Presidential Airlift Wing, Naval Air Group, and the whole of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. Each of its workhorses seeks to uphold an institution that is credible, reliable, and trustworthy for the Filipino people. Notwithstanding the odds, they do their jobs for the benefit of what is right and safe.




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