I had to begin there, where everything started! At the end of June, I was visiting GDN Airport where I’ve met some real Aerolovers…EPGD Aircraft Spotters. Why I am writing that everything started there? As you can find out from my post about how to find a job in aviation? It’s because I had there my first aviation job, where I fell in love with aircraft. So basically that’s the reason why this airport causes such a special feeling in my mind. But let’s start with some basic facts about this airport.
Gdansk Lech Walesa Airport
GDN airport is the third biggest airport in Poland. With almost 5 000 000 passengers in 2018, it’s placed just after KRK and WAW. RWY directions 11/29 – 2800m with ILS CAT II allowing aircraft to land in foggy weather.
The purpose of my visit to Gdansk airport was to meet the EPGD Spotters association and talk about their passion. Seeing taking off and landing aircraft during sunsets, it’s something really special. It’s tough to be surprised, that these magic moments are so much adored by photographers. With GDN spotters I catch up on Facebook, where everyone can easily reach them (https://www.facebook.com/EPGDSpotters/). Guys were open and warmly welcomed me at one of GDN spots for photographers. They told me about their history and beginnings. How from the group of people they’ve become an association. At some point of activity, it was required to change their status to more official and it helped them to open a professional dialogue with the airport and other aviation institutions.
The age range of association members varies, as well as a professional affiliation. “We have people who are straight connected with aviation, like for example Airline pilots or operational staff but there are as well people without any past in this industry,” said Pawel Glink – Chairman of EPGD Spotters.
Platforms for Aircraft Spotters
Getting into details. As we can find out at their website http://www.epgd.com.pl/, around the GDN airport we can find in total 8 different spots for photography.
3 of them are specially designed stands that were built thanks to long-term Airport chairman, Tomasz Kloskowski.
Pawel Glink: “If we are talking about those special photographing platforms, we were pioneers in Poland. In the beginning, we organized one by ourselves. We bought 3 trucks of sand and built up some kind of elevation just outside the fence. But thanks to Mr. Kloskowski, who was treating us as a partner from the very beginning, we have right now professional stands.” “We were “technical” consultants for the airport from the early design stage to the final condition of these spots.
Mr. Kloskowski is a very open-mind person, he appreciates aviation enthusiasts and readily helps them as much as he can. He knows that modern airport needs aircraft spotters” echoed him Jakub – cashier of association.
Role of spotters
In answer to huge credit of trust from the GDN airport management – spotters have their special role to fulfill, described by Pawel Glink: “It always works both ways – airport has made platforms for us, give us from time to time opportunity to visit apron and do some pictures from shorter distances, in response we provide photo service for their needs. They are always inviting us for different types of airport events, like for example inauguration of new routes. After every single event, we share our pictures for airport needs.”
All members of the association went through safety training, organized by airport security and are aware of all possible dangerous situations which can occur at the airport. Thanks to that, they can warn airport services about their observations. “For example, if we are seeing (while photo shooting) that there is a foreign object on the runway or some people behind the fence, are behaving dangerously. Causing a risk for aircraft operations. We are then obligated to report that to appropriate services.”
Plans for future
As the traffic on GDN airport is quite limited, members of the association are very often organizing trips to different airports. “We are in good relations with other airports in Poland, they are always giving us a call when something interesting is going on at their “home base”. Besides this, we are traveling around the world or digging up European airports like Amsterdam Schiphol or Frankfurt International Airport”. Because their nearest plans are to visit Sanicole Airshow in Belgium, we promise ourselves that we will meet there to strengthen our new-made relationship.
Bits of Advice
At the end of our meeting, I’ve asked these guys what kind of advice they would give to people, who want to start their adventure with aviation photography.
“Just visit airports, it does not matter if you have expensive equipment. You can use Canon or Nikon or whatever You want. What counts in the end is your willingness. The most important is that you want! Meet other spotters, observe and enjoy the time.”
I think it wouldn’t be a mistake if someone would say, that EPGD Aircraft Spotters started some kind of revolution in Poland. Revolution in perceiving all people who stand behind the airport fence (regardless of the weather) with their photo cameras and perform their special functions in the airport environment. I believe this hobby, brings some added value to aviation in general. Aviation spotters should be named interchangeably as popularizers. Thanks to their pictures, thousands of people – affiliated with different kinds of aviation forums or websites, are exposed to be infected by this passion.
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