Air Force Museum Monino (USSR – Russia)

The National Museum of Aviation and Cosmonautics (Le Bourget near Paris) has a large collection of Soviet aircraft and spacecraft located in several pavilions and on an open airfield area. Friends of the Museum in Le Bourget prepared and below we place a guide to Soviet aircraft, uniforms and insignia of Soviet pilots, according to our own archives. The historical information about the collection of the aviation museum in Monino is especially interesting because after the collapse of the USSR there was an “accidental” fire and many unique personal items burned down, and the whole building was destroyed. After the liquidation of the Air Force Academy in Monino, there was an attempt to transfer the Museum’s collection to another place – Patriot Park near Moscow of the Ministry of Defense. Some of the exhibits were successfully transported, while the other part of the unique large exhibits was damaged. After the conflict between the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Defense, the Museum was closed for a long time, but then it was decided to keep it in Monino. For this, a new pavilion was built and a major reorganization was carried out. The museum was created as a practical guide for the study of aircraft for students of the Gagarin Air Force Academy, as well as for design engineers and a special category of citizens of the USSR. According to the military tradition, former teachers of the Academy and Veterans of the Air Force worked as tour guides in the Museum. After the reorganization, these traditions were violated, but the museum became more in line with modern times.

Air Force Museum Monino tour Guide

Version 1981, USSR Ministry of Defense.

The Museum of the Air Force was founded in 1958 and is the only aviation museum in our country, the collection of which is based on unique samples of aviation equipment. Currently, it has collected more than 100 full-scale aircraft and helicopters, over 200 models. Aircraft engines, aircraft equipment, weapons, radio equipment and other equipment are widely represented. A large number of authentic historical materials, documents and relics, works of art are exhibited. The exposition of the museum reveals the history of the development of domestic aviation from the world’s first aircraft by A.F. Mozhaisky to modern aircrafts, shows the heroism of Soviet pilots.

Photo gallery: On the day of the first anniversary of the Great October Revolution (1918), V. I. Lenin and Y. M. Sverdlov among the workers are watching the flight of an aircraft over Red Square.

Photo 1: Aircraft of the period of the First World War and the Civil War: the Sopwith triplane (left) and the Voisin biplane, serially built in our country.
N2: The first Soviet all-metal aircraft ANT-2 designed by A. N. Tupolev (1924).

N3: Aircraft “Makholet” (“Letatlin”) designed by V.E. Taglin (1933).

4: Glider “Joseph Unshlikht” (“The Seagull”) designed by P.A. Ivansen with high lift-to-drag ratio and high wing aspect ratio (1934).

5: A fragment of the exposition of the 6th hall, in the center there is a working model of the Tu-144 aircraft designed by OKB A.N. Tupolev.

6: Fighter MiG-3 OKB A.I. Mikoyan (1940), which was successfully used in the first period of the Great Patriotic War.

7: Fighter La-7 Design Bureau Lavochkin (1943), one of the best fighters of the Great Patriotic War. On this plane, the famous ace I.N. Kozhedub destroyed 17 enemy aircraft, bringing the number of the downed enemy aircraft to 62.

8: The main front-line dive bomber Pe-2 designed by V.M. Petlyakova (1940). It was successfully used throughout the Great Patriotic War.

9: Tu-2 front-line bomber designed by OKB A.N. Tupolev (1942). One of the best aircraft of World War II.

Version 1994, Monino, Russia.
In November 1993, the Air Force Museum celebrated its 35th anniversary. Having started its biography as a museum-exhibition of aviation equipment, over the past relatively short period of time it has turned into one of the largest museums of this type not only in our country, but also abroad. In December 1992, the museum was admitted to the International Organization of Museums (ICOM). Today, the museum’s funds include 38 thousand items, of which a little over six thousand are on display. Compared to well-known museums, whose collections consist of hundreds of thousands of items, the above figures are not impressive in themselves. However, the basis of the exposition of the Air Force Museum is 126 authentic aircraft (there are more than 150 of them in the museum’s funds). Among them are 90 aircraft, 16 helicopters and 14 gliders. To see such a number of aircraft assembled together today is possible only in two or three museums in the world.
Most of the aircraft are placed in an open area and in two hangars. A view of the museum’s outdoor area is shown on the back cover of the brochure. There are planes and helicopters for various purposes (fighters, bombers, attack aircraft, civil aviation aircraft, etc.). The museum has many unique aircraft, such as the Voisin biplane or the Sopwith triplane, which have been preserved since the now distant First World War and the Russian Civil War. The first aircraft that became museum exhibits were Po-2, Tu-4, Yak-7, etc. There were 11 aircraft in total.
Different paths led certain planes to the museum parking lot. Some, having worked for many years in the sky, went on a “well-deserved rest”. At the same time, for some of them, the last flight was a flight to the museum airfield. The flying life of others, usually experimental aircraft, was short. Made in a single or several copies, they helped solve complex scientific problems, or achieve record speed, altitude, payload and flight range. Several museum aircraft (SB, Il-2, Pe-2, R-5) have been recreated, sometimes literally from wreckage discovered by chance or as a result of purposeful search work. In this regard, the history of the Il-2 aircraft with serial number 301060 is noteworthy. In December 1942, pilot-sergeant Fedotov M.A., returning from a combat mission, was attacked by enemy German fighters, was shot down and forced to land the aircraft on the fuselage in the “Niviy Mokh” swamp » near the city of Novgorod. The pilot himself was not injured and returned to his unit. He successfully fought until the end of the Second World War, ending it in Berlin. The plane lay in the swamp for over 30 years. The little that remained of it, and this armored hull, parts of the wing and stabilizer, and other metal units, were literally torn out of the quagmire by a powerful Mi-10k helicopter and transferred to the nearby airfield of the Novgorod flying club. During the search, another Il-2 attack aircraft was discovered. Restoration work was carried out at the enterprise named after S. V. Ilyushin. One aircraft was installed on the territory of the Design Bureau, becoming a monument to this legendary “flying tank”.
There are two inscriptions on the monument. One is a dedication: “To the heroes of the front and rear of 1941-1945. Your feat is immortal.
Another – briefly reveals the history of this aircraft.
The museum IL-2, before taking its place in the hangar, starred in two films: “A Particularly Important Task” and “You Must Live.” The engine and braking system of this aircraft were restored to working condition. He independently “steered”, although it was not possible for him to get off the ground. Such a difficult task was not set.
A lot can be said about most of the aircraft on display at the museum. For example, in one of the halls, the La-7 fighter is exhibited, on which our illustrious three-time Hero of the Soviet Union I.N. Kozhedub ended the Second World War. On this plane, he won 17 victories.
In addition to aircraft, the museum has a rich collection of aircraft engines, guided and unguided weapons, means of communication and crew rescue, awards and some personal belongings of famous aviation commanders * and Heroes of the Soviet Union, books and films on aviation topics, relics and other materials. Taken together, the aircraft and other exhibits presented in halls, hangars and outdoor areas allow us to trace the history of the development of aviation in our country in chronological order from its inception to the present day.
The history of aviation development takes a relatively short period of time, equal to the life span of no more than two human generations. However, the progress made in the development of aviation science and technology is impressive. At the same time, our compatriots made an outstanding contribution to the development of all areas of aviation science and the practice of aircraft construction. Suffice it to say that the priority in the creation of the first aircraft belongs to Alexander Mozhaisky. A whole series of our scientists, including Dmitry Mendeleev, Sergei Chaplygin, Nikolai Zhukovsky and many of his students, laid the theoretical foundations of aviation. The first knowledge of aviation science appeared within the walls of the Moscow Higher Technical School, where the aeronautics society worked under the guidance of Professor N. Zhukovsky. This association included students of the Moscow Higher Technical School – later famous figures of domestic aviation – Tupolev, Arkhangelsky, Vetchinkin, Stechkin.
Today Russia is one of the leading aviation powers. And it became such (we hope and will remain in the future, despite its difficult current economic situation) thanks to the heroic efforts of older generations. Namely heroic efforts, if we recall the most difficult conditions in which our people had to create the scientific and production base of our domestic aviation.
One can evaluate the Soviet period in the life of our society in different ways, but one cannot but admit that the modern aviation industry, as a set of design teams, factories, research and other institutions, was mainly created during this period. Until 1917, only 5600 aircraft were produced in Russia, while the aviation industry of France, England, Germany, Italy and the USA only during the years of the 1st World War produced 180.8 thousand aircraft and 240.1 thousand aircraft engines. And yet, in the pre-revolutionary years, many aircraft of original designs were built in Russia, on which a number of world records were set. A special place in the development of domestic aviation belongs to aircraft produced by the aviation department of the Russian-Baltic Carriage Works in St. Petersburg. The flying boats of D. Grigorovich M-5 and M-9 became at that time a major technical achievement and served the Russian Navy well. There were no seaplanes abroad during the First World War.
The Russians wrote many glorious pages in the history of aviation. Let’s remember only the pilot Pyotr Nesterov. His name is known to aviators all over the world, as well as one of the complex aerobatics figures – Nesterov’s loop. This man lived a short but amazingly bright life, ending it with the world’s first ramming attack by an enemy aircraft. Military pilots of Russia have always been distinguished by a high sense of military duty, which was especially pronounced during the Great Patriotic War. Here is one example.
The operational report of the Sovinformburo for July 13, 1943, noting the successful offensive of our troops on the Orel-Kursk and Belgorod directions, reported: “… Pilots of the N-th Guards Unit shot down 156 German aircraft in three days of fighting. Hero of the Soviet Union Guard Lieutenant Novikov shot down 5 enemy planes. Guard pilot Lieutenant Gorovets met in the air with a group of German aircraft. Entering into battle with them, Comrade Gorovets shot down 9 German bombers.
Nine downed aircraft in one battle! The history of air battles does not know such a feat.
The profession of a pilot has always been considered one of the most honorable in our country. According to a survey conducted at one time by one of the central newspapers, military pilots in a long list of professions proposed for assessing the prestige of professions took second place, second only to nuclear physicists. The circumstances of modern life in the country have significantly changed the views and aspirations of young people. The majority of young people are now oriented towards areas of activity that are very far from aviation. This applies to many other formerly revered professions.
In this regard, along with the main activity – the acquisition and preservation of funds, research and educational activities, museum staff pay no less attention to the development of patriotic feelings of young people on the example of military and labor exploits of their fathers and grandfathers. Most of the museum’s researchers and guides are former pilots and navigators with extensive flight experience.
Every year, the Museum is visited by up to 200 thousand people, of which about a sixth are from near and far abroad.
There is no such visitor who would not be excited by what he saw and heard here. Of the large number of reviews left by visitors to the museum of various positions, we will cite only a few.
“Wonderful museum! What rare aircraft! And if I was not a pilot, then after visiting your museum I would definitely become one. Our guide really has something to be proud of. Bravo to his enthusiasm and many thanks for showing.”
Colonel of the French Air Force Rather.
“Delighted by the collection of the Air Force of the brave people. Thank you.”