We're talking with Stanisław Tolwinski - businessman, aviation passionate, yacht captain.
Before we'll start to talk about Your plans about building an airport near Goldap maybe we should make a little close-up of what You've achieved so far Sir, about the beginning…
This place (an airport) is a social engaging to me, a public mission, which I lead under the "Aviation Mazury" title. By the means of funds I'm related to the Warsaw where I'm the boss of few corporations while here at the airport (which has been bought by me and my partners) I have founded and I do promote it with my own funds - "The Great Masurian Lakes AeroClub". Since 14 years I've been organizing all kinds of events which start May and ends in October. The thing is so intense that our work includes about half of the country aeroclubs events, so to speak. The biggest event which gives us the most satisfying feelings and is promoting our region meanwhile is "The Friends of Aviation and Masuria International Fly-In" which ends with "Mazury Airshow" previously called "Mazury Aviation Fest". Despite the fact our aeroclub isn't that old we have achieved many honors already (like "Blue Wings", honorable emblem "Promoting the Tourism" (awarded by the Sport and Tourism Ministry), "Best Product and Best Service" statue awarded by the Marshal of the Province, "Aviation Eagle" statue in the cathegory of Promotor of the Year and many many more while me (even that I never been related with aviation) have been awarded with "Blue Wings" (awarded by Country Aviation Council and the "Winged Poland") as well. This is really a moment of proud for me and my social co-workers.
How did the airport look like when you bought it Sir? There's so many machines here now .
I literally have resurrected the dead airport (which was the Hitler's HQ Airport during the WWII). Nowadays - due to many years of my work - we have 2 most beautiful runaways here - grassy ones, since this is the old airport and concrete runaways wouldn't work as fine.
The leader of the III Reich landed here .
Yes, it has been fully working Hitler's airport in Gierloz but Landed Units of Wermacht made use of it as well (in Mamerki). We can see the remnants of their old infrastructure here like messerschmitt's slots. There was a main hangar of Hitler's most trusted people where we're sitting now. It has been dismantled after war and it's a sightsee-sport hall in Mielec now.
From this place I lead my public mission and spend family money here, brecause what I'm doing for promoting the region gives me a lot of satisfaction. I'm also convinced that my activities help one of the most beautiful regions of Poland - which Mazury surely is. I also would like to retrieve the previous-war aviation glory in here. For example we had 12-engines seaplane Dornier DO-X flying to Gizycko - which landed on the surface of the Niegocin Lake with 100 people on board.
Have You been interested in aviation ever before or it happened suddenly ?
I'm generally a yacht captain. I've been a boss of Sea Centrum in Gdynia for many years, armator of "Zawisza" and the first who has been practicing this ship on the south seas. I've been a General Secretary for many years and Vice-President of the Polish Sail Association for 6 years. I strongly believe that sailors are very similar to pilots, so I wanted to try this myself as well.
I've made a license when I was 55. I've been flying since more than 10 years already - and honestly - it really makes me happy.
Can You say which plane do You like the most ?
I really do like AN 2 but we can't afford flying it often. It's really nice and safe plane. It has a major disadvantage though - it burns a lot of fuel. We laugh that it burns as much as it makes the distance. It it goes with 160km/h speed it burns 160l.
I mainly fly over Warsaw-Ursynow, where I do have my house and this place (Wilamowo Airport) since I have a home there as well. To make such distance I need about an hour. Sometimes (when there's a traffic in Warsaw) I need like 1h 40min to make a distance between Ursynow and an airport in Babice (Bemowo) itself. I'm in such moment of my life (like only for the reason that I'm a scholar of ZUS) that I could do anything I want to - which I really do partially. I do work as well though (to have funds for my hobby). I work really hard for "Mazury Aviation" even if someone can't say so yet.
Remind us of what "Mazury AirShow" is all about .
It consists of many elements.First of all its really wonderful event final of "The Friends of Aviation and Masuria International Fly-In" for spectators and tourists. Inviting the guests from abroad I tell them that they will see the planes twice - in the day of arrival and in the day of departure back home. During the time in Mazury they have to enjoy themselves as much as it's possible. Our program is being prepared so that they could come there more than once. When they come with their planes they make it more miraculous event to sightsee the static exhibition - available to see in Ketrzyn Wilamowo. Fly-In people do enjoy our region while resting and letting our tourism machine earn a bit and Mazury AirShow is being performed by few contracted pilots. We have team shows here; team acrobations, single performers, landing on the lake's surface or parachuting.
There is always few shows included. Also we have Dakota DC-3 flying here from Sweden since few years. (by the owners called "Daisy"). We had S 38 Sikorsky like from 1928 here. (the same one as from "Aviator" movie) and it landed on our Niegocin Lake. I like to use our lakes for this event. Our show is sometimes more famous abroad than in Poland and our abroad guests do really an excellent work to promote our region, so they come back to us often.
Is Goldap and airfield or an airport ?
I'm a fan of doing things step by step, to not fail the idea. People don't understand yet that airports are really important element of communication infrastructure. It's not a mass place though. It's a place for some groups of people who have funds. It may be those who will fly in here, put money and even earn from it. As an example I can pick a ‘town' over Niegocin - house complex with the runaway. People buy a house in Mazury and they can fly here. It is the future confirmed in many places in Europe and USA. We have more and more private airports in Mazury (Babieta, Mragowo, Kikity, Stare Juchy) and there will be more. Near the Goldap in the Gize town (Swietajno region) Ryszard Suchocki will give away another airport near his home.
Airports make their region more famous but also give new places for work and additional bussines perspectives.
In this case, we're talking wbout an airfield in Goldap then .
Here's the thing. An airfield costs 200-300.000PLN and airport is way more expensive. To land safely You need a piece of flat and hardened area with the grass cut. There also can be forest fence around one sleeve with the wind direction and electricity. Also a man who would cut the grass - that's all for the beginning.
So I'm rather after building an airfield in the beginning. When we can afford we do an asphalt or concrete way and hangars next. We also talked like this with Mr. President of Botkuny but it will be more stabilized when the financial issue of this place will come to an end since renting this for 2 years isn't efficient and it's how it is now. I think that Government of Goldap won't disagree with that idea as well.
How vast is the area ?
It's more than 20ha. We also need an area between Goldap and this place. Current owner of this area is really nice and cooperative and the one renting the area is really eager to finalize the thing already. As You can see from the following disputes the airport will be there anytime hopefully. We need to focus on it now.
What's Your role in it Sir ?
As for now we're the main organizers of the whole thing. We want to help in the entire logistics and documentation. We would like to help Goldap get a new place - for safe landing - so it can become a serious point on the map for many kinds of touristic purposes etc. Let's start from something that'll make it a little bit more famous and then let it work by itself. 1000m of the way is nothing, way to nowhere while 1000m of runaway is the way to the open gates of the world. I think that there's no other future than to get used to flying as a main distance maker. Personally I strongly believe that "General Aviation" will take a main part in XXI century communication purposes.
To mobilize us to work I've prepared in my calendary a SAFARI Ketrzyn - Goldap 2012 Rally. Unexpected circumstances- death of the rent man of the airfield made further preparation worthless sadly. By canceling it this year I would like to successfully realize it in the next 2013 year
Now tell us about the citizenship, which You have mentioned before .
I mainly direct those words to the people of Goldap district, who even not knowing me too well did support me in senate elections. I would like to say - Thank You - now. Coming back to the question - there is no thing as social citizen. Even if there's a word for it it doesn't work in real life. You can't see people's need to work together, to work with the local society. I would like to strenghten public activity in the terms of citizenship. Without structural relations. It's about gathering people who have different ideas but common goal. I'm about to make a step in that direction and help things little by little slowly but not without making progress finally.
Thank You for conversation .
I thank You as well. Thank You that I had an opportunity to talk to people of Goldap. I would also like to invite the people of Goldap district to "Mazury AirShow 2012" which will take place 4-5.08.2012 in Gizycko over the Niegocin Lake as well as for the static exhibition at the airport of Wilamowo. See You there!