Kętrzyn Wilamowo Airport (ICAO code: EPKE) - a sports airport in the town of Wilamowo, approx. 8 km south-east of Kętrzyn in the Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship.
The airport is located in the Kętrzyn commune, to the right of the Kętrzyn - Giżycko road. It is located on a hill that forms a kind of plateau, which makes it much easier for planes to ascend.
Aviation traditions in the vicinity of Kętrzyn date back to 1910, and in 1929 the "Graf Zeppelin" airship flew over here.
In 1935, the sports airport Weischnuren (now Wajsznory) was established, after World War II it was named after the no longer existing Wilhelmsdorf (now Wilamowo) estate, Kętrzyn-Wilamowo.
In July 1940, decisions were made to build Hitler's secret headquarters called "Wilczy Szaniec" (German: Wolfsschanze) in Gierłoż. It consisted of 200 buildings: shelters, barracks, power plants, a railway station and the most important - the Weischnuren airport was used, which served as a base for the Wolf's Lair, as well as for Hitler's passenger headquarters and "Anna" headquarters in Mamerki, and also entered the system protection of the external headquarters and other quarters. The runways for Hitler's passenger and cargo headquarters were located in the southern part of the airport. They were two concrete belts intersecting each other so that they formed the letter X. This allowed the aircraft take-off directions to be adjusted to the directions of the blowing winds. The runway, after being extended, was put into use in December 1941. It was adapted to service aircraft (in the passenger version) Ju-52 and four-motor Focke-Wulf 200 Fw Condor.
In the north-western part of the airport there are 9 stands (a kind of open hangars) - earthen embankments in the shape of horseshoes, where fighter jets were hangared. The racks were covered with masking nets (metal nets with plastic leaves) from the top. Fuel was piped to the stators. From the stands, concrete taxiways lead to the runways, which are independent of the runways for passenger service. There were three large hangars at the airport, which were removed - one of them is the MOSiR sports and entertainment hall in Mielec. There was also a pelenator at the airport, after which an underground shelter remained. Today, the airport has one hangar (with an area equal to the sports hall in Mielec) and a post-war petrol station [needed footnote].
Hitler used it many times, and Göring had previously visited it. In February 1942, the plane with Fritz Todt crashed right after take-off. During the trip, Todt was to be accompanied by Albert Speer, who resigned from this flight due to his poor health.
After the assassination attempt on Hitler on July 20, 1944, Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg flew from this airport to Berlin on a "He 111" plane.
On June 11, 1973, the Kętrzyn Aeroclub was established. In 1983, Aeroclub Kętrzyn was dissolved due to the disappearance of the aeroclub's activities and members' activity, as well as the lack of interest of local authorities. The airport was systematically degraded.
On September 18, 1998, the Polish Aeroclub approved the application for the reactivation of the Kętrzyn Aeroclub, operating from that moment under the changed name - Aeroclub of the Lake District. Since 1998, the airport has been privately owned and used by the Lake District Aero Club. The airport is also used by tourists arriving by their own planes to visit the Wolf's Lair.
This airport shrouded in a mysterious fog of history will be the site of Checkpoint No. 6 (3000 km) of the 3rd edition of Race Around Poland.
Riders and their crews will be able to use the bathroom free of charge, and for a fee - accommodation and the aeroclub buffet offer (during opening hours).