Central Museum of the Air Force of the Russian Federation / Monino

Update: 2019/11/23  by Robert Kysela / CHK6

The Central Museum of the Air Force at Monino was founded in 1956 on a former military airfield in the outskirts of Moscow. Even by the end of the Soviet era this museum was accessible only to Soviet military personal, even up until the early 1990’s a visit to this remarkable museum was only possible through an advanced reservation. By 2001 the museum had become fully independent and is now open to the general public. On my first visit in 1995 the weather conditions were terrible but what was even worse was the overall condition of the museum and its very rare exhibits. Most of the aircraft were in a poor condition with their undercarriage barely visible due to the overgrown grass, fortunately however this is a situation that has now completely changed. The entire site is now in wonderful condition with many of the aircraft now fully restored (restoration is still ongoing with several exhibits such as the Lisunov Li-2, Tupolev Tu-22M3 or the extremely rare Ilyushin DB-3) in a typical Russian down-to-earth way. Restoration work on the outside of the aircraft is carried out when necessary (using the original colour scheme and paint) while work on the inside of the aircraft is only undertaken where necessary and apparent. This is unlike German museums where restoration brings the entire aircraft back to a brand new factory finish costing millions of Euros and a considerable amount of time. One has to question the value of restoring aircraft to this condition when its apparent they will never fly? A prime example is the stunningly restored Heinkel He-111/CASA 2.111B at the Deutsche Museum in Oberschleissheim.

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