23 Jun 2017 Finow (1)
24 Jun 2017 Wroclaw (1)
26 Jun 2017 Świdnica
27 Jun 2017 Toruń (3)
29 Jun 2017 Lublin (1)
01 Jul 2017 Kazimierz Dolny
03 Jul 2017 Zamość (1)
03 Jul 2017 Rzeszow (1)
04 Jul 2017 Katowice (1)
05 Jul 2017 Görlitz (2)
06 Jul 2017 Bamberg (2)
08 Jul 2017 Paderborn (2)
Loosely planning the trip
We intended to make a trip to the Baltic States (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) during the last week of June and the first week of July, 2017. We had not been there before, and it would be interesting to visit.
Our trip would bring us from the Netherlands, via Germany and Poland to Lithuania, flying over land between former East Prussia and Belarus. We had downloaded the AIP's of the Baltic States, and printed the airport diagrams and visual approach charts.
As always, the typically poor flying weather characteristic of northern Europe requires flexibility. We just see how the weather is like, and plan accordingly. It is no use to plan the entire trip ahead, Nowadays internet possibilities makes it easy to adjust to the weather situation, and make an interesting trip without rigid pre-trip planning.
We had ordered the VFR charts of Poland, Lithuania and Latvia from the official aviation bodies in these countries, and had printed the official VFR chart of Estonia, available online. The charts of Lithuania and Latvia arrived well ahead of the planned trip, but we had not yet received the charts of Poland when we started our trip. We did not bother. We had downloaded the Polish FIS airspace charts from the Polish Air Navigations Services Agency website to our tablet.
From Paderborn-Lippstadt to Eberswalde-Finow
On Friday morning, June 23, we drove from The Netherlands to Paderborn-Lippstadt airport in Germany. The airplane, a Piper Archer with registration D-EXHV, was going to be checked and prepared in the morning. Our first leg of the trip was to Finow, a former Soviet base north-east of Berlin.
On our route to Finow, the restricted area EDR-74 was active. we went around the airspace south of it, and deviated a bit more to the south to see the Mittelland Canal Waterbridge over the River Elbe. From there we flew to the north of Tegel airport, and further to Finow airport.
Upon landing we fueled, and then taxied to aircraft shelter number 4, where we parked the plane for the night. We got a ride from the airport to our hotel, and we were invited to join for Sonnenwende (Solstice) drinks at the Grimmnitzsee in the evening. We had a pleasant time there before returning to the hotel.
Departure from Paderborn-Lippstadt airport
Magdeburg Water Bridge over the River Elbe
Final runway 28 Eberswalde-Finow airport
Archer into an aircraft shelter
From Finow to Wroclaw
The next morning it was raining. The weather forecast for the route to Lithuania was somewhat bleak, and we decided to fly to Wroclaw in the south-west of Poland. René had intended to visit Wroclaw already in February, but made a trip to Saarland instead due to the weather.
When we arrived at Finow airport, there was still some light rain, but to the south the weather would improve soon after departure. We flew a direct route to Wroclaw. After we arrived at Wroclaw, we booked a hotel via the internet, and then we took the bus from the airport to the city.
Weather chart 24 June 2017
Radar 24 June 2017
Before departure to Wroclaw
Take-off Eberswalde-Finow airport
Border River Oder
Final runway 29 Wroclaw airport
Wroclaw is the largest city in Western Poland, and the historical capital of Silesia and Lower Silesia. After the Second World War the German city Breslau was incorporated into the territorially redefined Poland, and renamed Wroclaw. The German inhabitants were replaced by Polish, many of them arriving from Poland's former eastern territories, which had been annexed and incorporated into the Soviet Union after the War.
Old Town Hall
The Old Town Hall of Wroclaw stands at the center of the city's Market Square (Rynek). The Gothic town hall built from the 13th century is one of the main landmarks of the city. The astronomical clock, made of larch wood and showing the time and phases of the moon, was built in 1580. By the end of World War II the Town Hall suffered minor damage. Restoration work began in the 1950s.
St Mary Magdalene Church
The Church of St Mary Magdalene is a Gothic redbrick building dating from the 14th century. The most precious relic of the church is a Romanesque portal dating from the 12th century, coming from a Benedictine monastery on the river Elbing. During the Second World War the church was seriously damaged. The church was rebuilt during the period 1947-1953.
Hans and Gretel houses
Set in the northwestern corner of the Rynek are two charming houses named after Hansel and Gretel. They're linked by a Baroque archway from 1728, which once led to the church cemetery (the inscription in Latin reads "Death is the gateway to life").
Wroclaw's dwarfs are over 350 little figures scattered through the city. Though whimsical, they're also a reference to the symbol of the Orange Alternative, a communist-era dissident group that used ridicule as a weapon.
Weather Chart 25 June 2017
Day trip to Świdnica
On Monday the weather situation to the north-east was about the same as on Sunday. We decided to book another night at the hotel in Wroclaw, and to make a day trip by train to Świdnica, about 50 km south-east of Wroclaw.
Świdnica (until the end of WW2 Schweidnitz) was one of the wealthiest towns in Silesia in the Middle Ages. The town escaped major damage in World War 2 and has retained some important historic buildings. Świdnica was founded in the 12th century, and in 1290 became the capital of the Duchy of Świdnica-Jawar. At that time the town had city walls and six gates.
Town Hall Tower
The Rathaus tower underwent natural disasters and wars, however, each time, sooner or later it was rebuilt. Last reconstruction was made after the Sever Year's War. Poorly performed works on tenement houses adjoining the tower made the tower collapse in 1967. It took over four decades to find the funds and will to rebuild it.
Church of Peace
The Church of Peace in Świdnica was ereted between 1656 and 1657, in just 10 months. The Peace of Westphalia of 1648 allowed the Protestants of Silesia to build three churches as long as they went up in less than a year, had no belfry, and used only clay, sand and wood as building materials. The Świdnica church is a shingled structure laid out in the form of a cross and contains not a single nail. The Baroque decoration has been preserved intact.
A notable resident of Schweidnitz was Manfred von Richthofen. When he was four years old, Manfred moved with his family to nearby Schweidnitz, now Świdnica.
From Wroclaw to Toruń
On Tuesday morning we checked-out from the hotel in Wroclaw. Poor weather was coming in from the south-west during the day, moving to the north-east of Poland. We decided to fly and visit Toruń, ahead of the poor weather that appeared for the most part to pass south of Toruń.
Toruń is an interesting place to visit, with lots to see. On the way to Toruń we inserted two stops, one at Ostrawa, Michalkow airfield, and the other at Kruszyn, Wloclawka airfield. Both airfields were not that interesting.
When we approached Toruń, we were asked over the radio to hold away from the airport for some 10 minutes, as there was an aerobatic excercise going on overhead the airport. We made a few orbits, including one over the old city. After some time, we could no longer see the aerobatic plane over the airport. When we asked about the status, Toruń radio did not answer our calls.
We proceeded to the airport, giving position reports. While we were about to enter to traffic pattern, the radio came back again, asking us to use the grass strip parallel to the asphalt runway. After landing we taxied to the parking area. A pilot told us they had encountered a problem with the radio, and first had to go to the airport office to get another radio, hence they could not call me when the aerobatic plane had finished the exercise. There was going to be a Polish national aerobatic competition at Toruń.
At the airport we booked a hotel for two nights in the Old Town of Toruń, and then called for a taxi for the short ride to the hotel. After checking in at the hotel we started our exploration of the city. Maurits sent a message from home that the Poland VFR charts had arrived.
SigWX valid 27 Jun 2017 1200Z
Rader, 27 June 2017
René at Wroclaw airport
Ostrawa, Michalkow airfield
Kruszyn, Wloclawka airfield
Toruń (German: Thorn) is one of the oldest cities in Poland, established in 1233 on the right bank of the Vistula River by the Teutonic Knights (Order of Brothers of the German House of St Mary in Jerusalem). After the First World War Thorn became part of the newly recreated independent Polish state with the Treaty of Versailles of June 1919. The city sustained no damage during World War II. This allowed the Old Town to be fully preserved.
Old Town Hall
The Old Town Hall and in particular the Statue of Nicolaus Copernicus in front of it have come to serve as a meeting point for both the city's inhabitants and visitors. The present Town Hall dates back to the end of the 14th century, when the existing administrative and commercial buildings erected in Old Town Market Square in the 13th and 14th centuries were incorporated into one structure. Today, it houses the main branch of the Toruń Regional Museum boasting displays of Gothic art, a display of local 17th- and 18th-century crafts and a gallery of Polish paintings from 1800 to the present.
The Church of St.John the Baptist and St.John the Evangelist, since 1992 the Cathedral of Toruń Diocese, houses Poland's second-largest historic bell, the Tuba Dei (God's Trumpet), cast in 1500. Construction works were initiated in 1260, but the church was given its present form in the 15th century. Inside we find a medieval baptismal font where Nicolaus Copernicus is said to have been baptized.
House of Copernicus
Nearby the Cathedral in Kopernika Street stand two Gothic townhouses at No.15 and No.17, where in one of the houses Copernicus was reputedly born on 19 February 1473. The House of Copernicus now houses a branch of the regional museum that is dedicated to the famed astronomer's life and works. The house at No.15 has a well preserved medieval layout and some of the original furnishings.
From Toruń to Lublin
The weather outlook for the Baltic states had not improved yet. A cold front with thunderstorms was going to sweep over Poland on Thursday during the day. We decided to fly to Lublin in the south-east of Poland in the morning, to arrive there ahead of the cold front.
We departed with some delay from Toruń, and there was a strong wind blowing from the south-south-west. Our ground speed was about 90 knots. We arrived just after noon at Lublin, ahead of the cold front. After fueling we taxied to our parking position, and then went to the terminal. While we were busy booking a hotel in Lublin, a brief thunderstorm with a heavy rainshower passed the airport.
We called for a taxi to Lublin. In Lublin, the strong gusting winds that came with the thunderstorm that just had passed had broken trees and branches. After checking-in at the hotel we visited the city. The next day we visited the former Majdanek concentration camp just south of Lublin.
SigWX valid 29 Jun 2017 0600Z
Wind FL 50 valid 29 Jun 2017 0600Z
TEMPO 2910/2916 VRB15G35KT 1500 TSRAGR BKN015CB=
Weather Chart 29 June 2017
Satellite pictures 29 June 2017
René at the fuel truck at Toruń airport
Final runway 07 Lublin airport
Struggling with the safety vest in the wind
Lublin is the capital and the largest city in the Lubelskie Province and Eastern Poland. It is the leading centre of higher education in the region. The city boasts a 700-year long history and monuments that are unique within Poland and Europe. Although Lublin was not spared from severe destruction during World War 2, its picturesque and historical Old Town has been preserved.
Lublin's royal castle dates from the 12th and 13th centuries, though it's been rebuilt many times over the years. The castle is home to the Chapel of the Holy Trinity, known for its 15th century frescoes in the Eastern Orthodox style. Since 1957, the castle has been the main site of the Lublin Museum. The museum's permanent collection features mainly art, folk art and weaponry.
The St. John the Baptist Cathedral is a former Jesuit church that was built between 1592 and 1617. It was one of the first baroque churches in Poland. It is said that when standing in the corners diagonally one can talk to the other person in a whisper, while the acoustic waves are inaudible for a person standing, for example, in the middle of the hall.
The State Museum at Majdanek covers the area of the former concentration camp, in which many thousands of people from 26 European countries were murdered- the majority of whom were Jews, Poles and Russians. Fenced with barbed wire, with barracks, guard towers and the historic monument and mausoleum with ashes, the museum is a testimony to the martyrdom of people murdered in the camp.
The State Museum at Majdanek
Day trip to Kazimierz Dolny
Saturday would be windy and rainy. We decided to see if we could rent a car, and make a trip to Kazimierz Dolny. We found a nearby car rental company on the internet, and we walked to the office. We rented a car, and then we drove to Kazimierz Dolny to visit the town. In retrospect, the weather that day turned out to be better than expected.
Kazimierz Dolny is a beautifully situated little town in central eastern Poland, on the right bank of the Vistula (Wisla) river. It is a popular weekend getaway for Warshaw and Lublin residents. Its tradition as a summer resort and an artists' colony date back to the early 1900s. It enjoyed its greatest prosperity in the 16th and the first half of the 17th century, due to the trade in grain conducted along the Vistula.
The detailed history of the Frane, the oldest parish church in Kazimierz Dolny, is lost because not many documents have survived. The existing Gothic parish church was built in the mid-14th century, and remodelled when Renaissance styles swept Poland in the 16th century. The main structural changes consisted in heightening the walls and the choir was reshaped. The floor was made of black, blue and pink marble.
Hill of Three Crosses
Uphill from the parish church, a path to the right leads to the Hill of Three Crosses, where three large crosses stand to commemorate victims of the plagues that swept through the town in the 18th century. Lonely Planet says that there's some historical debate about the relationship between the crosses and the epidemics, as some historians believe the site was referred to as 'hill of crosses' long before the plagues.
The Przybylowie's Tenements houses were built in the 17th century. They belonged to Mikolaj and Krzysztof Przybylowie brothers, who decorated the houses with the likenesses of their patron saints. Both houses share the same layout: the ground floor with three arches and the first floor with three windows. The facades are adorned with relief sculptural decorations, including human and animal figures, and plant motifs.
Above the parish church is what's left of Kazimierz Dolny's castle. It was originally built in 1341 as a stronghold against the Tatars. It fell into ruin after its partial destruction by the Swedes.
Another day in Lublin
The prospect that we would reach the Baltic States became less probable when time passed by. Low pressure area after low pressure area was finding its way from the Atlantic over Scandinavia to the Baltic states, with occluded fronts sweeping over the continent. Sunday was not a good flying day, and we just stayed another day in Lublin. We were considering where to go further. To the north it was windy and rainy. To the south – we were thinking about Romania – it was very hot with the outlook of thunderstorms. Weatherwise, the south of Poland was not a bad area to be.
We decided to fly the next day to nearby Zamość, and then further to Rzeszów. From there we would decide further.
Weather chart 2 July 2017
Satellite pictures 2 July 2017
From Lublin to Zamość
On Monday morning we took a taxi (again overcharged with weekend-night tarif on the meter) to the airport. After settling the duties, we were taken to the aircraft. The requested intersection take-off was granted, and after take-off runway 25 we left the CTR via reporting point Papa.
At Zamosc we landed on runway 30. A very friendly local flight instructor, Jakub, offered to drive us to the town, and arranged that we would be picked-up again to drive us back to the airfield. We walked the town for three hours, and after we called they came to bring us back to the airfield. It was much appreciated.
Departure from Lublin airport
René at Zamość airfield
Zamość is a unique example of a Renaissance town in Central Europe, consistently designed and built in accordance with 16th century theories of town planning. The historical centre of Zamość was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1992. The town owes its origins to Jan Zamoyski and architect Bernardo Morando. The Old Town in Zamość includes numerous objects of historical value.
The centre of Zamość is the Rynek Wielki, the Great Market Square. It is a 100 x 100 metres square surrounded with arcaded town houses, among them the five Armenian town houses, and the Town Hall. The Town Hall was built in the 16th century and received its contemporary appearance in the 18th century. Its characteristic features include a 53m clock tower and fan-like stairs added in 1767-1770.
The Franciscan Church was built between 1637 and 1655. It was erected in Baroque style on the site of the former Bourse, an association of merchants. In 1784, the Austrian Empire abolished the Franciscan order. The church was used as a hospital, an arms depot under the Russians, a museum and cinema, and an art college before the church was given back to Franciscan monks in 1993.
The Rotunda is a fortification work dating back to the 19th century and built on a circular plan. It was built as part of the defensive infrastructure of the town. During World War II the German SS converted it into an interrogation centre. Some 8000 people from the Zamość area are believed to have been murdered here. The facility house the Museum of Martyrdom of Zamojszcyna.
From Zamość to Rzeszów
When we returned from Zamość at the airfield, we filed a flightplan to Rzeszów and we payed the landing fee. For any flight in controlled airspace in Poland it is mandatory to file a flightplan. Besides for SAR, it is also a good idea to file a flightplan in Poland because the route will be checked for active airspace restrictions and verified if it can be flown. We would find out its use the next day.
After take-off from Zamość, we made an orbit over the town, and then headed to Rzeszów. Krakow FIS did not have radar contact while we were flying at 2,500 ft. At Rzeszów we landed on runway 27. After booking a hotel in Rzeszów, we took the bus from the airport to the city.
Departure from Zamość airfield
Final runway 27 Rzeszów airport
Arrived at Rzeszów airport
Rzeszów is the chief administrative and industrial centre of southeastern Poland. Its oldest written records date back to 1354, when the medieval city Resovia was granted civic rights. The Town Hall occupies the southwest corner of the Rynek. It dates from the 16th century but was wholly remodelled in the 19th century in the current neo-Gothic style.
Sights of Rzeszów
From Rzeszów to Katowice
The next morning, we planned to visit Krakow. We checked the Notams and the availability of Pobiednik airfield, and then called the ARO to file a flightplan. We were informed that a military restricted airspace was active around Krakow, and that permission from the military was necessary to fly to Pobiednik. We were given a telephone number that we called. The person on the telephone told us that regulations forbade to give permission, as it had to be requested 24 hours in advance. So Krakow was off the list.
Instead we decided to fly to Katowice, that we already intended to file as alternate for Krakow. While filing the flightplan, the ARO told us that the route would keep us clear from the restricted airspace.
When we arrived at Rzeszów, we settled the fees, and then went to the plane. The concrete tie-downs were removed, and after the walk-around we were ready to go. After take-off runway 27 we headed to reporting point Kilo north-west of the CTR, where we were handed off to Krakow Information. When we approached reporting point Alfa, we received a hand-off to Mielec radio. After crossing the Mielec ATZ we switched back to Krakow information.
Krakow information gave us headings to stay clear of the aforementioned restricted airspace. We were routed to some 25 NM north of Krakow, and from there with a bow to Katowice, Muchowiec airport.
After landing, we first considered to continue to some other place. At the terrace of a small restaurant at the airport we spoke with a young man and woman who lived in Katowice. Besides being airline pilots of Wizzair, they were also aerobatic pilots, and the male pilot was going to fly an Extra aircraft to another airport. They told us that it was worthwhile to see Katowice, and we decided to stay one night. We booked a hotel in the city. The woman pilot had offered us a lift to the hotel on her way home. There was no hangar space available at the airfield. We took our luggage and secured the plane before we went to the city.
At Rzeszów airport before departure
View of Rzeszów airport after departure
Katowice, Muchowiec airport
Katowice cannot be described as a top tourist destination like its neighbours Kraków and Wroclaw. Katowice is a product of the 19th-century industrial boom, but it only became a city in the interwar period. Christ the King Cathedral is the country's largest, erected between 1927 and 1955. St. Mary's Church is Katowice's oldest existing Catholic parish church. It was built from Silesian dolomite between 1862 and 1870.
Sights of Katowice
From Katowice to Görlitz
While we were in Katowice we decided to fly to Görlitz, just on the border of Germany and Poland. On Wednesday morning we walked to the airfield, only a 35 minutes walk. We payed the landing fee (some negotiation was required as the price was doubled at first), and we took-off from runway 28R. On the way up to Görlitz we made a stop at Lubin airport. On the leg between Lubin and Görlitz we passed a rain shower, but visibility remained well within VMC margins. We made an orbit over Görlitz before we landed on runway 06 of Görlitz airfield.
The airfield operator suggested a hotel, which we accepted. He checked the availability, and there was room. He then called us a taxi to take us to the hotel. After checking in at the hotel, we first had a coffee, and then we made a walk in the city.
Weather chart 5 July 2017
Radar 5 July 2017
Departure from Katowice
Veleda at Lubin airport
René at Görlitz airfield
Görlitz is first recorded back in 1071. The city grew at the intersection of Europe's oldest and most important trade routes. One of them was the "via regia", which connected Kiev to Santiage de Compostela. Over the centuries, Görlitz became an influential centre of trade and science. Three of the city's medieval towers have survived to this day.
Görlitz' Town Hall takes up the entire western side of Untermarkt. It is without doubt one of the most impressive buildings in the city. Its oldest parts date from the mid-14th century, and its staircase was built in 1537-38 by Wendel Rosskopf, one of the most famous Görlitz architects. The two surviving clock faces on the tower of the City Hall date from 1524.
Crowning Görlitz skyline, the 15th-century Peterskirche (church of St. Peter and Paul) overlooks the River Neisse.
The church is especially famous for its Sonnenorgel (Sun Organ), but with its Baroque decorations, the church is beautiful both inside and out.
The three central naves are embellished with a fine stellar vault and bay windows decorated with tracery.
From Görlitz to Bamberg
René had already envisioned to visit Bamberg for some time, and with thunderstorms forecasted on Thursday evening, and rainshowers forecasted in the northern half of Germany on Friday, we flew to Bamberg in good weather on Thursday. We first flew to nearby Rothenburg/Görlitz airport for fueling. Then we continued to Bamberg.
On Wednesday evening we had sent a landing request to Bamberg airport, as the airport is PPR at weekdays. The permission came in within half an hour. German regulations require that the airport is manned, thus someone has to come to 'open' the airport.
We arrived at Bamberg ahead of schedule, and the airport was not manned yet. We made two high orbits over the city of Bamberg, and when we flew back to the airport we could see a car arriving at the tower building of the airport. We continued to enter the traffic pattern, and the radio call was answered. After landing, we tied down the plane, and we booked a hotel in Bamberg. We took the bus to the city. For the remainder of the day we visited the city. Thunderstorms and rainshowers passed in the evening. We continued our visit of Bamberg on Friday.
René with the Piper Archer at Görlitz airfield
Final runway 36 Rothenburg/Görlitz
Bamberg's entire Altstadt is a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1993. The topography of the city built on seven hills has lent it the nickname "Franconian Rome". The most striking edifices – the Imperial Cathedral, the Baroque New Residence and the Old Court – are all located on Cathedral Hill, the spiritual and temporal powerhouse of the Bishopric of Bamberg from the 11th century until 1802.
The Late Romanesque/Early Gothic Bamberg Cathedral, official name 'Bamberger Dom St Peter and St George', was built in the 13th century on the site of two earlier cathedrals burned down in the 11th and 12th centuries. Inside the Cathedral are the imperial tomb of ruler Heinrich and his wife Kunigmunde, carved by Tilmann Riemenschneider, the Altar by Veit Stoß and the Bamberg Horseman.
Old Town Hall
Bamberg's Old Town Hall (Altes Rathaus) from 1462 is quite a curiosity. Legend has it that the Bishop of Bamberg refused to give the townsfolk an inch of his land for the construction of a town hall. In response, Bamberg's citizens rammed stakes into the River Regnitz and created an artificial island upon which they built the first Town Hall, known as the Old Town Hall.
The former fishermen's settlement from the 19th century along the left Regnitz tributary between Markusbrücke and Untere Brücke has been affectionately dubbed Klein Venedig (Little Venice).
The idyllic row of mostly mediaeval half-timbered houses prop each other up along the river shore are fronted by tiny gardens and terraces, creating a quaint and picturesque scene.
From Bamberg to Paderborn-Lippstadt
On Saturday we were going to fly back to Paderborn-Lippstadt. On the way we first visited Scheinfurt-Süd airfield. Schweinfurt is famous for its ball bearing industry. The ball bearing was invented in Schweinfurt by Friedrich Fischer in the 19th century. During World War II the ball bearing industry at Schweinfurt was bombed several times by the Americans. Since 1985 there is an American Football Club in Schweinfurt; the AFC Ball Bearings.
After Schweinfurt-Süd we continued to Paderborn-Lippstadt airport. On the way we passed the Eder reservoir, and we had a good view on the high reservoirs of the pumped storage power plants. René visited the Eder dam in May 2014
We arrived at Paderborn-Lippstadt early in the afternoon. After cleaning the plane and finishing the paperwork, we drove back home. Again, it had been a very nice trip.
Veleda and René at Bamberg airport
Arriving at Paderborn-Lippstadt airport