A mile of highway will take you just one mile…
But a mile of runway will take you anywhere.
Established 50 years ago, the aerodrome in Kąkolewo is regaining its splendour. The former military base of the “Cold War” period is being transformed into a modern specialised training centre for pilots, aviation mechanics and air traffic controllers. Intensive work is underway on the construction of modern infrastructure in Kąkolewo that will encompass the centre of modern technologies in aviation and the centre for aerospace research.
SCIENCE – AVIATION – ENERGY
The initiative to transfer the operation of Poznan Aero Club from Kobylnica near Poznań to the aerodrome in Kąkolewo originated in 2015. Two years later, the idea became a reality and the Aero Club started the process of restoring the original function of the area by establishing first a landing site and then a public aerodrome KĄKOLEWO (ICAO code: EPPG). This was a significant change. Kąkolewo offered pilots an asphalt runway with a length of over 2 km, a parallel grass runway designed for glider training, taxiways, aircraft stands and, above all, a safe space around the aerodrome. However, the potential of the aerodrome went beyond training and sports activities.
Recent years of the dynamic development of civil aviation have brought a number of technological changes. Aviation, which, on the one hand, is conservative and accustomed to safe and well-established procedures, and, on the other hand, is an ideal area for the use of modern information, electronic and radio communication technologies, faces a major developmental challenge. As a sector of the economy requiring perfect and well-thought-out solutions, it is the driving force and catalyst for the development of a number of industries and technologies.
These expectations are reflected in the joint initiative of Poznan University of Technology, Poznan Supercomputing and Network Centre and Poznan Aero Club carried out in cooperation with the Polish Air Navigation Services Agency – the construction of a centre of modern technologies in aviation based at the aerodrome in Kąkolewo.
The aerodrome in Kąkolewo combines several functions. As a public aerodrome, managed by Aeroport Ltd, Kąkolewo is available to General Aviation aircraft. It also pursues commercial activities related to their operation – the aerodrome is equipped with an aviation fuel station. Thanks to good communication with Poznań via the A2 and the S5 expressways, Kąkolewo is an alternative aerodrome for low-level flights.
The training and teaching functions carried out by Poznan Aero Club and the Aviation Training Centre at Poznan University of Technology, related to the pursuit of sports activities, are aimed at training secondary school pupils and Poznan University of Technology students. This is possible because the above-mentioned entities hold certificates of organisations entitled to provide training to earn an airplane pilot licence (including the ATPL – airline transport pilot licence), a glider pilot licence and a balloon pilot licence.
The aerodrome is also an instruction and training base for the well-known Polish Żelazny Aerobatic Group, which has its own hangar at the aerodrome. The successive expansion of the infrastructure will allow for the location of other training centres in Kąkolewo, e.g. helicopter training.
By executing public safety tasks, the aerodrome in Kąkolewo provides support for aircraft performing flights to save human health or life, conducting search and rescue operations and mitigating the effects of natural disasters.
RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT ACTIVITY
The AEROSPHERE 1.0, AEROSPHERE 2.0 and NAVIHUB projects implemented at the aerodrome in Kąkolewo are part of the aerodrome development plan. For the aerodrome in Kąkolewo, it is an opportunity to create unique research infrastructure. An example may be the planned construction of professional runway lighting, which, on the one hand, will be used for testing and field work, and, on the other hand, will be practical and functional. This will allow the aerodrome to carry out wider activities in the range of flight training and air traffic services, thus improving the safety of air operations.
In the area of interest of both projects there are a number of topics that simultaneously fit into the broadly understood air traffic service. Examples include the organisation, functioning and operation of aerodrome infrastructure, supervision and control of flights, and the safety of aerodrome infrastructure and air traffic zones. The infrastructure that is being created as part of the research projects will also serve the aerodrome operator in everyday work.
UNMANNED AERIAL VEHICLES
As part of the newly built laboratories, Poznan Supercomputing and Network Centre plans to conduct R&D work in the field of new areas of using unmanned aerial vehicles both in aviation and in everyday life. New applications and ICT systems for monitoring and controlling drone flights will be tested. In order to carry out research in field conditions at the aerodrome, zones intended for the performance of operations by unmanned aerial vehicles will be designated.
The main objective of the project is to build research and development infrastructure and dedicated and experimental large-scale technological laboratories to support the development and pilot implementation of new technologies, services or products for the “green” economy. In particular, the developed solutions will be used in the energy sector, environmental protection, agriculture and air and land transport. Smart power grids will enable bi-directional energy flow and communication between energy sources (traditional, distributed and renewable) and smart devices (loads, storage, smart monitoring and control devices).