Trip to Gdansk
Gdansk was on the list of places to visit for some time. A planned trip in November 2014 had to be postponed because of the weather, when we made a trip to Münster instead (see trip report). On Friday, I took the day off and drove to Paderborn-Lippstadt airport where I had booked a Cessna Skylane. I flew (almost) as the crow flies from Paderborn-Lippstadt to Gdansk's Lech Walesa airport, and flew back the next day with a detour to avoid military airspace in Poland that was active.
From Paderborn-Lippstadt to Gdansk
René with the Cessna before departure
Final runway 29 Gdansk airport
René at Gdansk, Lech Walesa airport
Gdansk is one of Poland's oldest cities, with a complex political history. The former German city of Danzig became part of Poland in 1945. Parts of the historic old city of Gdansk, which had suffered large-scale destruction during the war, were rebuilt during the 1950s and 1960s. The reconstruction was not tied to the city's pre-war appearance, instead its politically motivated purpose was to rebuild a pre-German city.
St. Mary's Church is a Roman Catholic church and is cited as the largest brick church in the world. The foundation stone for the church was placed on 25 March 1343. The church is some 105m long and 66m wide at the transept. The church was severely damaged late in World War II, during the storming of Danzig city by the Red Army in March 1945. The reconstruction started shortly after the war in 1946.
René in Gdansk
Piwna Street, St. Mary's Church
The Golden Gate was created in 1612-1614 in place of a 13th-century gothic gate, the "Long Street Gate". It forms a part of the old city fortifications. The gate was largely destroyed by Soviet shelling in World War II, but was rebuilt in 1957. An original German inscription on the gate was restored in the 1990s.
The Prison Tower and Torture Chamber were originally built as part of the city's fortifications in the second half of the 14th century. The complex was rebuilt between 1593 and 1604 with the smaller of the two buildings becoming a torture chamber and courthouse while the larger tower became the prison. It was here that executions were carried out until the middle of the 19th century.
The Golden Gate
Executioner's House, Prison Tower
From Gdansk to Paderborn-Lippstadt
Looking to the weather forecast on Sunday morning, I decided to fly directly from Gdansk to Paderborn-Lippstadt to arrive there before the fronts.
The TAF indicated that the fronts would pass after 14:00Z.
An occasional light drizzle started approximately half an hour before arrival.
When I could receive the ATIS, the METAR indicated 8000 meters visibility, few clouds at 2400 ft and scattered clouds at 4000 ft.
In the mean time, when I got closer to Paderborn-Lippstadt airport, the weather had further deteriorated. I requested a direct approach to runway 24, which was approved. South and east of Paderborn there is high terrain with high wind turbines, so otherwise I would have to fly a long approach north of the CTR.
I followed the ILS, and arrived in light drizzle with a visibility of 6000m, as indicated in the latest ATIS report.
Satellite images 16 May 2015
Radar images 16 May 2015
René before departure from Gdansk
Helmstedt-Marienborn border crossing
Former Marienborn border control portal
On the way I passed the former Helmstedt-Marienborn border crossing, and I made an orbit over the site. The Border checkpoint Helmstedt-Marienborn was the largest and most important border crossing on the Inner German border during the division of Germany. The DDR had erected a control portal on a 35 hectare field situated on a hill near Marienborn, about 1.5 km east of the border. Some 1000 border guards, customs and border police and other personnel worked here.
Entering East Germany in the 1980s
In the spring of 1984 I made a trip to Berlin, at which I passed the Marienborn border crossing. The passport had to be handed in at a booth, which was then transported over a conveyor belt to the main checkpoint buildings ahead. Once there with the car, also a transit visa had to be purchased. It was not allowed to stop or divert from the designated transit route across East Germany to West Berlin.
Memorial site Marienborn
What is left of the former DDR border crossing complex at Marienborn is listed as a monument of national heritage. Original buildings/components include the former passport control points for passenger cars, customs station/checkpoint for lorries, light masts, administration offices and the central watchtower. The memorial site is accessible via the nearby rest stop's exit and can only be explored on foot.
West of the Harz
Final runway 24 Paderborn-Lippstadt