Alexey Shaburov's Project
Thirty eight kilometers to the south-east of Moscow in a green coniferous forest stands a museum, first in our country, where genuine samples of Air Force equipment are presented. In this museum one can see different planes, helicopters, aircraft engines, armaments, and rescue facilities, relating to the whole history of national aviation from 1909 to the present.
In the halls there are exhibits of model airсrafts, unique photo materials and rare documents, which exceed 37 000 in number.
The story about the Museum of the Air Force is a story of national aviation, about the difficult and glorious journey of its foundation and development. Moving from one exhibit to another, from stand to stand, a visitor can trace its whole history.
One should note that the museum’s exposition includes not only what is related directly to the Air Force of the USSR and Russia; it also reflects the past of national civil aviation and aeronautics.
The history of the museum began on November 28th, 1958 from the moment when there appeared decree №209 of the Air Force Commander-in-Chief “on forming a Museum-exhibition of Air Force aircraft”. On the premise of this decree there was a formation of personnel which was approved by museum staff and hired by the Academy of the Air Force. First the composition of the staff was modest: a director, his deputy, a guide, three scientists and three hall keepers.
There was a thorough remodeling of the rooms, along with the reception of exhibits and the creation of expositions. As a rule aircrafts had to be repaired, because they were being delivered in a bad condition. Specialists of the museum conducted repairs and the workshops of the Academy of the Air Force helped in forming expositions.
Petrovich Danilin Konstantin, major from the Academy, was the first Director of the Museum and his deputy was M.V. Shishkin, who is a retired general-major.
Great difficulties in the organization of the Museum of the Air Force were connected with the search for old aircrafts. Because of this, Air Force Commander-in-Chief by his special order ordered all Commanders of military parts and subdivisions to pass relic aircraft equipment and planes as soon as possible to the museum that was being established under the Academy.
By August 1959 efforts in preparing the place and organizing the exhibits had been finished. The exhibits were prepared for exhibiting; many authentic historical materials and documents were collected and placed.
In 1958, the museum acquired a Tu-4bomber, La-15 and La-11 fighters, Po-2, Yak-18 training planes, one glider, 20 aircraft machineguns and guns.
And on February 23rd, 1960 the Museum of the Air Force was open for attendees. It consists of 586 storage units, among them 14 planes. In 1961, Alexey Ivanovich Scherbakov, retired general-major, became the Director of Museum. The pilot took part in the Great Patriotic War from the very beginning till its last days. After the war he headed the aviation division and corps, and was the head of the Faculty of the Academy of the Air Force.
The museum had achieved popularity by the beginning of the 70s, and by directive of the main headquarters of the USSR Armed Forces from January 30th, 1971, Monino exhibition of Air Force aircraft was transformed into “Museum of the USSR Air Force”.
By the beginning of 1970, the collection of aircrafts numbered about 40 units. However, it lacked such planes as fighters of the A.S. Yakovlev Design Bureau which played a great role in the war. There was not a single aircraft from 36 units manufactured by this bureau. The same situation with S.V. Ilyushin bombers and the best in the world armored attack plane IL-2, speed bomber ANT-40 (SB), A.N. Tupolev heavy bombers and many others aircraft not as famous. Groups of enthusiasts helped the museum to search for lost machines. They drew map schemes of the found planes, studied their condition, and analyzed the possibility of excavation and restoration. And all their efforts were successful.
Some of the planes, found by them, were restored and now they are part of the exposition. They are the DB-3 bomber of S.V. Ilyushin design, his famous Il-2 armored attack plane, and speedy bomber SB, fighter Yak-9 of the Yakovlev Design Bureau. Aircrafts TB-1, Pe-8 and MiG-3 are waiting for their turn to be restored. There are known places, where one can find more than four dozen old planes, and museum specialists are studying information about them, and the possibility of excavation and restoration.
In 1990 there was a massive undertaking in placing planes in hangars and on open grounds in chronological order done by the Design Bureau. As a result the museum acquired a new appearance. In the beginning of the same year, by decree № 10 of 01.10.90 of the USSR Ministry of Defence “On putting cultural and educational institutions, drama theatres and concert organizations of Soviet Aviation and Navy of Russian Federation under new management conditions”, this transformation led to providing paid services.
The museum expositions are presented in ten halls. The Museum of Air the Force constantly improves its staff’s organizational structure and now it has restoration workshops, promotion departments, such as the department of scientific exposition, and department of acquisition of archives (since 1997).
Every year the museum is attended by more than 150 thousand people: schoolchildren, students, workers, military people, etc. Here is the comment of S.P.Korolev’s daughter: “No doubt, this is a unique aviation museum – according to its scale, form and content. When viewing its exhibits, you feel pride for our homeland, for its aviation and design ideas. I wish to express deep gratitude to the founders and keepers, wonderful professional guides and to all who work here”
In 1998, the Museum of Air Force received more than 20 thousand schoolchildren and students. Special attention is paid to holding excursions with them.
The museum is of great interest for foreign tourists and businessmen. It has already been attended by delegations from 81 countries, most of them from the USA, Great Britain, Bulgaria, Germany, France, Cuba, etc. Thus, Irish journalist Paul Delfi said: “I have attended 30 aviation museums of the world. I heard about the museum in Monino. I was ready for everything, but what I saw and heard there astounded me. It is the most interesting and the largest collection of planes. It’s fantastic.”
From the first days of the museum’s existence restoration workshops were organized and A.M. Mansurov was the head of this. Exhibits require good storage conditions and recurrent repair works. The Design Bureau of A.N. Tupolev, O.K. Antonov helped us by sending their specialists who restored planes
More than 3 million visitors have attended the museum. And this amount increases every day.