Monino THE Russian Airforce Museum
|Russia’s Central Air Force Museum, located 40km east of Moscow, is under
threat of extinction. The adjacent Gagarin Military Academy is closing,
leaving the museum — one of the world’s greatest aviation collections, with
more than 170 historic aircraft on show.
One hears that there are plans to open a new “military theme park” at Kubinka, to the west of Moscow, where some of the Monino exhibits will be taken; but it appears highly likely that many of the bigger aircraft and outside exhibits face scrapping.
In terms of international significance for aviation enthusiasts, albeit not in terms of general-public visitor numbers, Monino is in the same list of “greats” as the RAF Museum, the Musée de l’Air, the USA’s National Air and Space Museum, the Canada Aviation and Space Museum, the Prague Aviation Museum, the Italian Air Force Museum, National Museum of the USAF at Dayton, and so on and so on. As such, it comes as a shock to consider that it may all too soon be dispersed — and the chance to see such rarities or sole survivors as the Myasishchev M-50 Bounder, Beriev VVA-14, Il’ya Muromets, Petlyakov Pe-2, Mil V-12, Lavochkin La-250 etc at all, let alone in a single museum in their homeland, will be gone forever.
|And there is MORE, not revealed by these two aerial
photographs! Not only are there extra 'outdoor' exhibits, but there are also two hangers
that exhibit older and more fragile items.
The Central Museum of the Air Forces at Monino, Russia is located approximately 38 kilometers (24 miles) from Moscow along the Gorky Highway in a lovely wooded area. It is the largest and best aviation museum in Russia. The museum was formerly known as The Russian Federation Air Force Museum and, prior to that, The USSR Air Force Museum.
The facility was an operational air base from 1932 through April, 1956. The museum was founded in 1958 and opened in 1960 at the original airfield location and in the original airfield structures.
The area was off-limits to civilians during the Soviet era so it has been neither easy to find nor easy to access. Advance permission to visit the museum was recently required for non-Russian citizens. Despite this, it is the finest Russian aviation museum in existence and will be the highlight of any enthusiast's visit.
The facilities are largely unimproved and the majority of aircraft are exposed to the harsh Russian weather. The museum has long been run by the Russian government and there was no legitimate means of making monetary contributions to the museum at the time I visited. Many of the Russian aviation Design Bureaus (Tupolev, Ilyushin, Antonov, Mikoyan, etc.) have contributed exhibits and resources to the museum and its maintenance.
Despite these conditions, the aircraft are in surprisingly good shape and most are sitting on the original tires they landed at the Monino airfield with. This is a testament to the museum employees who have a great historical legacy to preserve.
I’d like to share our experience of the tour you arranged to the Russian Air Forces Museum at Monino.
It was great! We were picked up on time and the driver and it took around 1.5 hours to drive there.
The guide was a student called Galia (?), who had only been to Monino once before and when pressed said she didn’t really like planes. That was not a problem and we all had fun with that! At the Museum we had a local guide, with whom we had great rapport even though we had no Russian had he had not much more English. Galia, translated very ably, we had good conversations and shared our knowledge. I think I made a friend there. The Museum, itself could do with an injection of funds as many aircraft are clearly deteriorating being outdoors. However, to see the aircraft of the “cold war” up close was truly amazing and a trip I recommend to other enthusiasts. In fact Joy and Robin (not enthusiast said it was a great day.
Just to let you know your
partner provides a great service , I was very impressed , and the tour they
gave me was out of this world mate.
Yes indeed we do, but as we are based in Melbourne I suggest you contact our Moscow office. Call and you talk to Andrei. He can help you in the same time zone.