Sunday, 24 July 2016

Along the airport's eastern and southern perimeters

I set off from W-wa Okęcie station, where the footbridge has been finally been opened all the way. At last it allows pedestrian access from the platform to ul. Narkiewicza, crossing the tracks, crossing six lanes of the S79 and five lanes of ul. Wirażowa. The footbridge is over a quarter of a kilometre long. It has four wheelchair lifts, of which one (along with a set of stairs) serves a bus stop that has never been opened on Wirażowa. Anyway, at last this footbridge stretching all the way, getting to the station with dry feet from the bus the stop in a civilised way is now possible (remember this? Same place, March 2012. Polska w ruinie, panie!)

One of the collateral pieces of infrastructure built alongside the S79 expressway was the new, re-aligned ul. Wirażowa, wider and straighter. Below: the old Wirażowa still remains as an unconnected stump, used by plane spotters to park close to the end of Runway 15. Hard to imagine that just a few years ago this narrow asphalt strip let trucks and buses reach the busy Cargo Terminal.

In between the old ul. Wirażowa and the perimeter fence is an abandoned part of the airport; it's not sealed off, you can stroll right in and look round. Below: one of the old buildings. They are locked and inaccessible.

I proceed further south along ul. Wirażowa, passing a stand usually used by cargo planes. I was last here in early winter; these new viewing ports (below) had not yet been installed. They are great! Just the right size and height - and there's a rubber rest inside to lay your long lenses on. A boon to spotters, it would be good to see more along the perimeter fence.

Interestingly, when the NATO leaders were in town, the viewing ports were closed for the duration. In any case, people were not allowed nearer than five metres from the fence.Below: a shot taken through the port, an ATR 42 belonging to Czech airline CSA.

The policy of being helpful to plane spotters - of whom there are more and more - is beneficial to security, because genuine spotters will be aware of suspicious goings-on around the perimeter, and are likely to alert the authorities.

Below: I spotted this falcon perched on a lighting rig by the cargo stand. The falcons are trained to attack birds that fly across the airport, thereby constituting a bird-strike hazard. There used to be a loudspeaker at the lower end of the airport emitting distress calls of birds, but it seems no longer to be in use.

Further south along the perimeter, there are no more viewing ports. I took the photo below standing on several concrete slabs that someone had placed here for a better view - more are needed to see over the barbed wire! Just to the right of the shot (if you click to enlarge), you can see the bridge taking ul. Złote Łany over the S2.

Between the airport's southern perimeter and the S2 is a four metre-high wall serving as an sound barrier. The purpose of this is entirely questionable - is it to keep the expressway noise from the airport, or airport noise from the expressway? The wall is built of concrete rings, filled with earth that have over the few years sprouted plentiful greenery - much easier on the eye than those acoustic screens that are the norm for the rest of the S2.

Below: photo taken from Dawidy looking across towards the airport, with a LOT Embraer ERJ-170 and the bridge on ul. Złote Łany ('Golden Wheatfields Street').

This time last year:
Polska w ruinie
[starting off at the same places as this post!]

This time three years ago:
Penrhos - a bit of North Wales that's forever Poland

This time four years ago:
On motivation - and being motivated

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