Gocław - Warszawa Airport. 2019
Gocław - Warszawa airport.
Mokotowskie Airport, better known as Pole Mokotowskie. In 1930, the Mokotów airport was too tight. Then it was decided that two new airports would be built. One military airport in Okęcie and another communication airport in Gocław.
A long time ago, Gocław was called Gościsław or Gościsława. The name probably comes from the name of the owner or his wife. Historical documents indicate that from the 12th century, Gocław belonged to the Bishopric of Płock. Gocław as a village was a small settlement. There were only a few houses here. The area was swampy and wet. Here and there were clumps of lush shrubs. The area was often flooded by the spring thaws of the widely spreading Vistula, which often changed its main stream. The area was not suitable for farming, and the inhabitants were mainly engaged in breeding animals and weaving various objects from wicker and reeds. In the 18th century, the property became royal property. After the third partition of Poland, the property became the property of the state treasury, i.e. the occupant. At the beginning of the 20th century, the village had only 25 homesteads with wooden houses and about 400 inhabitants. During the Great World War (April 1916), Gocław, Grochów and Saska Kępa were administratively incorporated into Warsaw.
In 1933, the first plans to build a sports and recreational airport were drawn up, with the intention of moving it from Pole Mokotowskie to Grochów-Gocław. The plans were not implemented then.
The choice of the Grochów area as a new communication (commercial) airport for Warsaw was very logical. Exactly, the airport was to be located in the so-called Kępa Gocławska, i.e. the area between the village of Gocław and the Vistula River. The village of Gocław would remain intact. It is worth remembering that in 30 years there were no comprehensive land development plans. Nevertheless, fertile fields were not converted for purposes other than plant cultivation.
The airport would be located near the planned bridges over the Vistula: railway and road bridges, and the river port. This would be an important transhipment hub in the future. The railway bridge was to be part of the southern railway bypass of the capital. It was to be used mainly by freight trains, which would thus bypass the “Średnicowa” route. A street of local importance was to be built along the railway tracks. The road bridge was to be erected on the extension of United States Avenue.
The aforementioned river port was originally called Solec, due to the salt depot there. During the Second Polish Republic, the port was known as the port of Saska Kępa. Approximately PLN 4 million was spent on its expansion in 20 years. In the port, mainly crops were transhipped on the route Kraków, Sandomierz, Warsaw, Bydgoszcz (Bydgoszcz canal), and Gdańsk (duty free zone). Mainly barges were handled here. The port lost its importance after the expansion of other ports in Warsaw: the port of Praga and the port of Żerański. After the Second World War, the port of Saska Kępa was better known as the Czerniakowski port.
The area of Gocław was not taken into account by Warsaw councilors for factory areas, and even less for residential areas. The area was low and very wet. The areas of today's Saska Kępa and Praga Południe were planned for construction. However, the terrain had a great advantage in the form of the elevation amplitude, which is only 79 to 88 m above sea level. The area slopes gently to the south-east. From the side of the Vistula River, the flood embankment had to be improved, which at that time was not yet completed.
The wetland area has been drained. In this region of Warsaw and beyond, on the so-called Wawerska Lowland, there are several drainage, non-navigable channels. They were created at different times. The most famous is the Wawerski Channel. During preparations for the construction of the Gocław Airport, the Gocławski canal (2,320 m long) and the Nowa Ulga canal (5,600 m long) were renovated, and a pumping station was built on the latter. A branch runs from the Gocławski Canal, on which an artificial reservoir has been created that has no official name, but is unofficially called Lake Balaton. The lake has an area of 2.64 ha and is connected with the Gocławski Canal by two connection canals.
The Gocław airport was to receive a typical ellipse-shaped departure area. At that time, a circular or ellipse-shaped ascent field was standard. The shorter axis of the ellipse is roughly a straight line from the mouth of the Nowa Ulga Channel to the intersection of Ostrobramska and Generała Emila Fieldorfa Nila Streets (north-south direction). The longer axis is the east-west direction. The axes intersected in the area of Władysława Umińskiego and Złota Wilgi Streets. Water channels in the landing area were to be hidden in the pipeline.
Several paved runways were marked out on the take-off site, which were to be used mainly by larger and heavier aircraft. This hardening was due more to the wetland than to the later technology. Hardened runways were to have a star system so that, regardless of the wind blowing, the road would always be located (approximately) in the wind axis.
The first sketches of the future objects were made in 1938. The executive documentation was to be prepared at the turn of 1939/1940.
The airport station was to be built in Bluszczy. (Currently, the area of the Trasa Siekierkowska junction, Wał Miedzeszyński and ul. Jugosłowiańska). The International Street was to lead to the airport itself.
The station was supposed to be two-level. One of the plans provided for it to be three-level, as there was to be a car park on the roof and stops for public transport: buses, TAXI and carriages. On the main level, there were to be: cash desks, waiting rooms, shops, restaurants, toilets, a post office. On the lower floor there was to be: departing and arriving passengers' check-in, a radio station, a telephone exchange, a meteorological facility, and rest and refreshment facilities for flying personnel. The station was to serve a minimum of 300 passengers per day.
Slightly to the east of the station, terraced hangars were to be built for various airlines with full back-up facilities. Each hangar was to be at least 30 m x 40 m at the base, and at least 10 m high. They were to be used for the ongoing maintenance and repair of aircraft. Already at that time, the focus was on handling metal planes: Douglas DC-2, Douglas DC-3, Lockheed L-14 Super Electra, PZL-44 Wicher.
At the airport it was planned to mount; radio beacon, goniometer, light lantern, lighting for night flights. A fuel and lubricant depot was to be built, but its location was not determined. There were plans to build a tram line to the airport station.
Until the German army invaded Poland, the landing area was leveled. The drainage canals network was expanded and a pumping station was built in Bluszczy. This pumping station is in operation until now (2019), and is located among the streets of the road junction: Provincial Road No. 801 (Wał Miedzeszyński Street) and A2 Motorways (Aleja Generała Bolesława Wieniawa-Długoszowskiego).
In September 1939, the landing area was bombed. The Germans dropped bombs mainly on part of the airfield on the eastern side of the Nowa Relga Canal. During the Second World War, the airport was not used.
In 1945, the idea of building a communication airport was returned to. The western part of the ascent area to the New Relief Canal was repaired. In 1946, a sports airport was established on the repaired part of the take-off area, which was used by the Warsaw Aero Club.
Ambitious plans to build a communication airport were systematically torpedoed by the new communist government. For the communists, the airport in Gocław was unnecessary. They built a new airport in Bemowo, which was launched in 1949. In 1950, service communists openly criticized the idea of building a communication airport in Gocław. It was reported that it was too close to the center of Warsaw. Only 6 km. It was also raised that the planned runways were too short for the new aircraft.
It is worth mentioning that the Łazienkowska Route planned by the communists coincides with the road to the Gocław airport planned for 30 years. The planned railway bridge and the southern railway line were abandoned.
At the beginning of the 1950s, two large hangars with back-up facilities were built at the airport. They were to serve the future airport. Throughout the period of operation of the airport, these hangars were used by the Warsaw Aero Club and medical aviation. Currently, they are the only remnant of the airport and stand at Wał Miedzeszyński Street. The first hangar (on the west side) has a base area of 2,700 square meters and a height of 15 meters. Since 2015, it houses the “Trampoline Park” entertainment center. The second hangar (on the eastern side) has a base area of 2,000 square meters and a height of 12 meters. The hangars are made of brick and the steel roofs are covered with a wooden roof and roofing felt.
The landing area of the Gocław Airport still had a grass surface. Concrete planes were only around the hangars. In 1970, the Gocław airport had an area of 225 hectares.
According to the communists, the Aero Club airport in Gocław was very burdensome for the residents due to the large number of small planes and gliders in the air. (?!) Interestingly, the Aero Club was moved to the Bemowo-Babice airport, also in the vicinity of residential estates.
The Gocław airport, as an aero-club airport, functioned until 1976, when it was closed, and its landing field was intended for the construction of residential estates for the growing Warsaw. Already in 1972, the competition for the urban plan of the new housing estate was adjudicated. In 1977, the Workers' Housing Cooperative "Osiedle Młodych" began the construction of the largest housing complex, Gocław-Lotnisko, on the right bank of the Vistula. The first apartments were occupied in 1979.
The former landing site of Gocław Airport was crossed by Bieruta Street, and now Generała Bora Komorowskiego Street (from east to west) and Zawadzkiego Street, and now Generała Augusta Fieldorfa Nil Street (from north to south). The whole area is surrounded by Jóźwiaka Street, and now there are four streets: Generała Romana Abrahama, Władysława Umiński, Jugosłowiańska and Janusza Meissnera. In the created quarters, the following estates were located: Orlik, Wilga, Jantar and Iskra. All names come from Polish aircraft. Gocław also includes the Kępa Grochowska estate and Przyczółek Grochowski. Gocław is one of the largest housing estates in Warsaw. The existing housing stock includes approximately 13,000 apartments and 300 commercial premises. Currently (2019), Gocław has approximately 55,000 inhabitants. The boundaries of the Gocław area are Ostrobramska Street, Aleja Tysiąclecia, the Vistula River and the Nowa Ulga Channel. This is an area of 410 hectares.
In today's realities, the area of 410 hectares is definitely not enough for a large communication airport. If the Gocław Airport was here, the areas of the Las and Sadul estates would certainly be attached to it. All this so that at least one runway should be 2,500 - 3,000 m long.
Written by Karol Placha Hetman