Tourists who travel to Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, to see the sites associated with its medieval history, may be surprised to learn that in addition to museums full of swords and armor, Kiev also has one of the most technologically advanced museums in Eastern Europe. On Medova Street, within easy reach of your Kiev hotel, is the State Aviation Museum. Ukraine, both as an independent nation and as a former part of the Soviet Union, has a long and fascinating history of aviation. This terrific museum first opened in 2003, and since then it has welcomed thousands of visitors, many of whom did not even know of its existence until they arrived at their accommodations in Kiev. The whole family will enjoy this attraction, not just those who are aviation buffs. There are more than seventy aircraft on exhibit, and the museum covers fifteen hectares.
The State Aviation Museum offers fascinating exhibits, as well as exciting interactive displays. Each section of the museum focuses on a specific era within the aviation story, and so has a great array of aircraft, equipment and memorabilia. Some of the displays are devoted solely to individual historical aircraft types, such as the MIG jet fighter, the Anatra Anasal of 1917-1918, and certain types of helicopters.
One outstanding aircraft, and one that is held in highest esteem by the Ukrainian Air Force, is the TU-22M. This state-of-the-art strategic missile carrier is part of the museum’s Backfire collection. You can see various models, as well as the armament, including cruise missiles and warheads. You can also see helicopters and naval, aircraft carrier-based planes,
One of the most popular exhibits is the legendary MIG fighter. The original MIG-15 first appeared in 1947, and proved to be a very effective combat aircraft. It had an excellent design, and three guns and a missile. The air forces of over 50 countries used MIGs. At the museum you can see a MIG-15, a MIG-17 (first Soviet plane to have supersonic speed), a MIG-21, a MIG-23, a Scout MIG-25RB, and a MIG-29. Some of these models are still used by air forces around the globe.
Besides the military aircraft, there are also passenger liners on display. Here you can see the Tu-104, the first Soviet airliner. The one on exhibit was built in Ukraine in 1956. It was the first of the Tu series. Others in the Tu series in the museum’s collection are the Tu Tu-134A and the Tu-154.
The museum’s interactive displays give visitors a chance to pretend they are passengers or crew on these planes. They even get an opportunity to be at the controls of these exciting machines. Of course, kids just love the idea of sitting in the cockpit of a real fighter plane. This is certainly an attraction not to be missed.