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Aviation history in the context of museum and history tourism invokes various aspects of science tourism, including both civil and military aviation.


The Wright Flyer on display at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington
Map of Aviation history

The question of "where and when was the first powered flight" is controversial; some say it was made in Kitty Hawk in 1903 by the Wright brothers on their Flyer (a catapult was needed, and witness report is scarce as the Wright brothers worked in secrecy and were afraid of industrial espionage); others give this honor to Brazilian inventor Alberto Santos-Dumont and his 14-bis. On 23 October 1906, he took off under the aircraft's own power before a large crowd of witnesses, at the grounds of Paris' Château de Bagatelle in the Bois de Boulogne, for a distance of 60 m (197 ft) at a height of about 5 m (16 ft), the first powered heavier-than-air flight in Europe to be certified by the Aéro Club de France and the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI). This controversy is not meant to be a subject of a travel guide, but repays study to science and history aficionados.

However, this wasn't the first time man was flying. Otto Lilienthal experimented with gliders a decade before, and already in 1783 the Montgolfier brothers took off in the world's first manned hot air balloon. Even though "lighter than air" flight had thus been proved feasible in the 18th century, throughout much of the 19th century many people - including respected scientists like Lord Kelvin - doubted that "heavier than air" aviation would ever become possible. However, the brothers Wright proved the skeptics wrong and by the time World War I began, planes had become a military asset in reconnaissance if not necessarily in the fighting. While Zeppelins were an impressive feat of human engineering, their high up front investment cost and their initial technological problems that were only figured out by the time the Hindenburg disaster (owing due to highly flammable hydrogen being used instead of helium which at the time was almost entirely under US control) happened, stalled their development in the 1930s.

Today blimps, airships that unlike Zeppelins get their shape from gas pressure rather than an interior skeleton, are a minor factor in aviation and like balloons are a sideshow in today's aviation picture that is dominated by "heavier than air" to the point that flying is almost universally understood to mean airplanes.

Military aviation[edit]

See also: Military tourism

Balloons had seen some occasional usage for reconnaissance during the 19th century. Austrian troops bombed Venice from the air in 1849 and the American Civil War saw reconnaissance balloons, which were however hampered by the lack of efficient long distance communication like radio. Aviation was however dismissed as a tool by many military experts even after the first practicable airplanes emerged. Aviation played a small role in the Great War but became a major contributor (and strategic component) in World War II. World War I produced the first "flying aces", pilots who were celebrated for their prowess in air to air combat and there was much mythology around the supposed chivalry of aerial combat compared to the increasingly brutal, senseless and industrialized slaughter in the trenches - however, most of those stories have little basis in fact.

An aerial attack on Pearl Harbor was a key step in the escalation of the Pacific War, while bombing of cities and civilian populations was widespread in World War II in Europe. Cities like Coventry, Guernica, Rotterdam (bombed after the Netherlands had already surrendered) and later Hamburg, Dresden or Berlin were leveled almost entirely by aerial bombardment and bear the scars of this new type of warfare to this day. Timber framed houses and a densely built historical old town used to be hallmarks of most cities in central Europe, but the bombing (and subsequent short-sighted urban planning) ensured that they would become a rarity in major cities. Aviation also revolutionized military logistics. While earlier an army had to chose between moving along supply lines or keeping to a deliberate pace while supply lines in their rear were ensured or "living off the land", by the time of World War II it became conceivable to supply an army by air and as the Soviets had to learn during the 1940s Berlin blockade, the same applied to entire civilian cities. While the common image of the "raisin bomber" has them delivering mostly food, as a matter of fact coal was the single most common delivery item and the planes even flew in an entire power plant for West-Berlin which had until then depended partially on the surrounding area for its power needs. In Southeast Asia, the Japanese Mitsubishi A6M Zero fighter would gain a fearsome reputation, as the outdated aircraft left behind by the British to defend their colonies were no match for the more advanced Japanese fighters. The tide of the war would eventually begin to turn against Japan in the Battle of Midway, June 1942, when the Americans sank Japan's four largest aircraft carriers and were thus able to gain aerial superiority for the rest of the war.

The Korean War and Vietnam War saw aerial bombardment on a heretofore unprecedented scale and there were more bombs dropped on the jungles of Indochina during that war than on the cities of Europe during World War II. There have thankfully been few symmetric wars since, but industrial powers often use aerial bombardment in asymmetric wars as it poses less danger to their own soldiers than ground fighting. However, it is harder to distinguish civilians from military targets from the air, a fact that insurgents, terrorist groups and others sometimes use as a military tactic and for propaganda efforts. Aerial superiority would once again prove crucial in the 1982 Falklands War, where the Argentine Dassault Mirage IIIEA and Douglas A-4 Skyhawk aircraft proved no match for the British Harriers, eventually leading to victory for the British and the surrender of the Argentinian occupation force. The huge distances involved also showed the limits of even a modern military to project its power as many airplanes had to refuel in the Azores and Tristan da Cunha on their way from the British mainland to the Falklands.

Commercial air travel[edit]

Airlines were offering flights to the other side of the world as early as the 1930s.

Commercial heavier than air air travel was born in the years between the two world wars, and saw flying become a viable transport option for travelling long distance. Some of today's global aviation icons, including Australia's Qantas, the Netherlands' KLM and Air France were founded during that period. Delta Air Lines can also trace its origins back to several companies founded in the 1920s. In the interwar period, Germany, which had been forbidden to develop military aviation under the Versailles Treaty developed a "civil" aviation program that just "happened to" include airplanes that were virtually identical in form, performance, payload capability, range and speed to then-current military models. In that era the first incarnation of Deutsche Luft-Hansa was founded, but the current company of that name is legally distinct from the modern day Lufthansa, which Lufthansa likes to point out when their 1932 PR flights for Hitler or wartime crimes are the topic of conversation, but likes to forget when old interwar airplanes are flown around in the name of tradition.

Numerous factors, not least of which military considerations and the fact that many high-ranking Nazis personally disliked Zeppelins (Göring had been a military pilot in World War I) as well as the fact that the US did not wish to deliver helium to Nazi Germany, causing Zeppelins to continue to be filled with flammable Hydrogen, led to a chain of events that ended the only notable passenger Zeppelin program. While airships of some forms continue to have certain military applications and are still used for their novelty value in sightseeing and advertising, overall the "golden era" of the rigid airship went up in smoke in Lakehurst in 1937.

The 1950s and 1960s became known as the "Golden Age of Air Travel", when flying was a privilege only for the filthy rich, and airlines competed with each other to offer the most luxurious onboard service with the most attractive stewardesses. The introduction of the first jet airliner, the de Havilland Comet, in 1952 ushered in the jet age, which allowed aircraft to cover distances more quickly than ever before. Some icons of that era include Pan American World Airways (Pan Am) and Trans World Airlines (TWA) of the United States, which closed down in 1991 and 2001 respectively, and British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC), which was merged into British Airways in 1974. Among the most prestigious airline routes from that era are the London-New York and London-Sydney routes, which continue to be operated as the flagship routes of British Airways and Qantas Respectively.

In the 1970s, two iconic airliners were introduced into commercial passenger service: the Boeing 747, also known as the Jumbo Jet, in 1970, and the supersonic Concorde in 1976. The Concorde would cover the distance between London's Heathrow Airport and New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport in under 3 hours, shaving over 2 hours off the time taken by subsonic jets. However, due to its high operating cost, ticket prices on the Concorde were exorbitant (even more expensive than first class on subsonic airliners), making it a popular aircraft for celebrities, but otherwise unaffordable for much of the general public. The Concorde would cease to operate in the early 21st century, with British Airways retiring their last Concorde in 2003. While the Concorde was a limited commercial success for Air France and British Airways, it was never even close to recovering any of the development costs invested by the French and British states, driving Europe towards consolidation in aircraft manufacture. At the same time, the Soviet supersonic plane, the Tupolev Tu-144 fared worse, being withdrawn from service after only a few years. Other supersonic passenger jet proposals, including one by Boeing never went past the planning stage. The Concorde is one of the best preserved planes in history in the sense that a big portion of the total planes produced are still extant and can be visited. In a sense, the Concorde on the ground is more accessible to the average person than it ever was during its flying days. On the other hand, the Boeing 747 was a huge success, becoming the preferred medium to long-haul aircraft for many airlines all over the world (and even for short-haul but high-volume domestic routes in Japan), and while it's been largely superseded by newer and more modern aircraft for passenger service today, it continues to be produced and widely used as a freighter.

At the end of the 1970s, deregulation of the airline industry started with the passing of the Airline Deregulation Act in the United States in 1978. This resulted in a fall in ticket prices, making air travel accessible to much of the middle class in developed countries for the first time. However, the advent of stronger anti-discrimination laws in Western countries during that period made it illegal to favour hiring cabin crew of a particular age or gender, marking an end to the era of young, attractive stewardesses. The lower ticket prices would also translate to a fall in service standards in economy class, as airlines were now able to offer less frills in exchange for better prices. In the 1990s, the European Union adopted an increasingly "open skies" policy, which - combined with privatization of the flag carriers, the advent of high speed rail and the fall of the Iron Curtain - led to an intensely competitive market which has still not settled into any sort of stable equilibrium.

In the 1990s, commercial aircraft manufacturing was consolidated into the duopoly of Boeing, based in the United States, and Airbus, based in Western Europe. While the manufacturing of large commercial aircraft is still dominated by the two aforementioned companies, the market for smaller regional aircraft is more competitive, with the most notable manufacturers being Brazil's Embraer, Canada's Bombardier and France's Avions de transport régional (ATR), though the regional jet divisions of the former two have been acquired by Boeing and Airbus respectively. Russian and Chinese manufacturers (with the help and some outright owned by their respective governments) are making an effort to enter the regional jet market and eventually even to challenge the Airbus-Boeing duopoly of bigger jets, but thus far they haven't been all that successful outside of their own countries.

At the beginning of the 21st century, budget carriers expanded exponentially, the best known ones being Southwest Airlines in the United States, Ryanair in Europe and AirAsia in Southeast Asia. These airlines offer a no-frills service with rock-bottom ticket prices, with the option of paying extra for some of the frills offered in full-service airlines, making air travel finally accessible to much of the working class. This has shaken the airline industry to its core, resulting in the bankruptcy of many full-service airlines that were unable to compete, and many of the surviving ones cutting back further on service in economy class in order to offer competitive prices with the budget carriers. At the same time, many airlines are competing to offer the most luxurious first and business class products, with the introduction of lie-flat seats in long-haul business class. This has led to the modern trend where airlines are stripping more and more frills from economy class in order to cut costs, while at the same time offering more and more luxurious first and business class products.

However, low-cost airlines also take advantage of numerous subsidies and underhand business tactics. Airports like Hahn (Germany) never made a profit and can never hope to. If local politicians raise landing fees, the airline abandons the airport. Similarly, pilots are often with an airline for an exceedingly short time and paid much less than industry averages. Some airlines even go as far as implementing "pay to fly" where pilots have to pay for the "privilege" of accruing the flight hours necessary for keeping their license. In 2017 several things happened to Ryanair that called into question their business model, including strike attempts and a severe shortage of pilots not on holiday. Competition from high speed rail seems to be the only serious threat aviation as a mode of transport faces in the 21st century. Many routes in Asia and Europe where trains now take four hours or less from city center to city center have seen airlines forced to cut prices, reduce frequency or drop out of the market entirely. At the same time air rail alliances have ensured that some airlines are able to cut down on uneconomical feeder flights, replacing them with trains.



Qantas aircraft at the Qantas Founders Museum
  • 1 Aviation Heritage Centre, Darwin, +61 8 8947 2145. Has an impressive collection of aircraft and displays depicting the Territory’s involvement in aviation from the early pioneers to the jet age. The prize exhibit is a B-52 bomber on permanent loan from the United States Air Force, one of only two on public display outside the U.S. The centre is 8 km from Darwin city and is on the site of fierce air combat that took place overhead during World War II.
  • 2 Qantas Founders' Museum, Longreach Airport (on the highway, east of town). It's not affiliated with Qantas, but it celebrates their early years in the town that they started from. A range of history and static exhibits. Offers expensive but interesting tours of an ex-Qantas 707 and 747-200 including wing walks and access to the under carriage. A worthy pilgrimage site for air enthusiasts. $21+. Qantas Founders Outback Museum (Q1326506) on Wikidata Qantas_Founders_Outback_Museum on Wikipedia
  • See also Royal Flying Doctor Service tourism.


  • 3 Brazilian Aerospace Museum (Museu Aeroespacial), Av. Marechal Fontenelle - Sulacap (Rio de Janeiro/Zona Norte), +55 21 2108-8954. Tu-F 9AM-3PM, weekends 9:30AM-4PM. Opened as Campo dos Afonsos airfield, it is the "cradle of Brazilian military aviation" and site of the first aeronautical organization created in Brazil: the Aeroclube do Brasil (Flying club of Brazil), on October 1911. Nowadays, the area is one of the Brazilian Air Force's main airbases, with the adjacent museum, that houses a good collection of planes, engines, etc. including replicas of Santos-Dumont's main machines, the 14-bis and the Demoiselle. Museu Aeroespacial (Q6940593) on Wikidata Museu Aeroespacial on Wikipedia
  • 4 Cabangu Museum (Santos-Dumont's birthplace) (16 km from Santos Dumont, Minas Gerais). The house where Alberto Santos-Dumont was born, in his family's coffee farm, is now a museum dedicated to his childhood. Cabangu Museum (Q5666625) on Wikidata Cabangu Museum on Wikipedia
  • 5 Santos Dumont's house (A Encantada), Rua do Encanto, 22 (Petrópolis), +55 24 2247 5222. Tu-Su 09:00-17:30 (ticket until 17:00). Nicknamed "The Enchanted", this chalet in Alpine style was Alberto Santos Dumont's summer residence. Having purchased a seemingly useless hillside lot, he smartly designed the house himself, allegedly to win a bet with his friends, who doubted it could be done; nowadays it's a museum showing his objects, books, letters and furniture, as well as some famous domestic inventions of his: an alcohol-fueled hot shower, and an entrance staircase with paddle-shaped steps, which can only be used starting with the right foot. There's also the Centro Cultural 14a, attached to the house, where you can watch a short film about him. The space has tactile models and accessibility for visitors with special needs. R$ 8 (full price), R$ 4 (half price). Santos Dumont House Museum (Q10333434) on Wikidata Santos Dumont House Museum on Wikipedia


  • 6 National Air Force Museum of Canada (formerly known as the RCAF Memorial Museum), 220 RCAF Road, CFB Trenton (8 Wing) (Trenton, Ontario), +1 613-965-RCAF (7223), toll-free: +1-866-701-7223. 10AM-5PM. Dedicated to preserving the history of the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF). Opened April 1, 1984 on the RCAF's 60th anniversary. Home to a large collection of RCAF aircraft and artifacts, including North America's only Halifax Bomber. Free.
  • 7 Gander International Airport, 1000 James Boulevard (Gander, Newfoundland and Labrador), +1 709-256-6677. Once the main stopover point for trans-Atlantic flights between North America and Europe, it has since declined drastically in importance because advances in technology have led to longer range aircraft that can fly nonstop between the major European and North American cities. However, the 1950s terminal building survives, and Gander's air traffic control continues to play a crucial role in trans-Atlantic flights. On September 11, 2001 many flights were re-routed through the airport and the locals accommodated them in a great spirit of kindness that was celebrated in the news the world over as one piece of good news on a terrible day. Lufthansa (which is in the habit of naming planes after German cities) even named a plane after Gander in honor of the town and its citizens. Free. Gander International Airport (Q1431350) on Wikidata Gander International Airport on Wikipedia


  • 8 China Aviation Museum (中国民航博物馆; Zhōngguó Mínháng Bówùguǎn), Datangshan, Chanping District (昌平区小汤山) (Beijing/Northern Suburbs. About 50km outside Beijing, (as of October 2011) take Bus 643 from Tiantongyuan North Subway Station (天通苑北) on Line 5). 8AM-5:30PM. A must see for all aviation fans. It is probably better known by the name Datangshan. The museum hosts over 200 exhibits, many of them very rare. Entrance to the ground exhibits were free (Oct 2011). There is an entrance fee to the indoor display and hanger ¥20, and an extra ¥10 if you want to board Chairman Mao's plane and another ¥10 to board a DC-8 (Orbis), and ¥10 to sit in a MIG-15.


  • 10 The Aviation Museum of Central Finland, Tikkakoskentie 125 (Tikkakoski district, 20 km from Jyväskylä to north). Small army airplanes and equipment inside a museum building, especially from World War II. Simulator hours (Saturdays; Messerschmitt Bf 109) must be booked in advance. €10/5; simulator €40–70.


  • 11 Musée de l’air et de l’espace (Le Bourget airport) (11 km from Paris). Le Bourget, London's Croydon and Berlin's Tempelhof were "the trio of Classic European airports" whose design influenced all others that came later. It's famous as the landing site for Charles Lindbergh's historic solo transatlantic crossing in 1927, and as the departure point two weeks earlier for the French biplane The White Bird (L'Oiseau Blanc), which took off in its own attempt at a trans-Atlantic flight but then mysteriously disappeared (the only known remaining piece — the jettisoned main landing gear — is kept here). Now, besides hosting the biannual Paris Air Show, it's France's main state-owned aviation museum. Its highlights include a Concorde prototype, and remnants of the unarmed P-38 flown by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry on his last mission, recovered from the Mediterranean Sea. Musée de l'Air (Q1189955) on Wikidata Musée de l’air et de l’espace on Wikipedia
Monument to Santos-Dumont flight, Bagatelle field, Paris
  • 12 Bagatelle field (Paris/16th arrondissement). Site of Santos-Dumont's first flight. A monument was built to commemorate this achievement.


Dornier Museum at night

Germany was among the forefront of lighter than air flying for the first third of the 20th century and the name of Count Zeppelin still stands for a rigid, skeleton based airship (as opposed to frameless blimps). Germany also saw aviation pioneer Otto Lilienthal conduct more and more audacious experiments until one finally killed him, in part due the then insufficiently understood phenomenon of stall. After Germany lost World War I, the Treaty of Versailles stipulated tight limits on armament, among them the prohibition of an air force. However, even during Weimar times, the government tried to avoid following the rules and the aid to private and civil aviation during the 1920s and 1930s was one way the various governments circumvented those prohibitions. This led both to passenger airlines of high repute (Lufthansa in its first incarnation among them) and an air force (Luftwaffe) in good fighting shape come World War II. Together with new and improved tanks, the latter revolutionized warfare, at the cost of hundreds of thousands of lives. When the Nazis got in power they also encouraged gliding as a hobby to build a stock of young men familiar with aerodynamics and the basics of flying "on the cheap" and again circumventing prohibitions of the Versailles Treaty. Today the remnants of the companies that pioneered German aviation form the core of Airbus, one of the two largest plane manufacturers in the world and even the Zeppelin company is still around building small semi-rigid airships (basically blimps with a keel) as a side venture.

  • 13 Dornier Museum, Claude-Dornier-Platz 1 (close to the Friedrichshafen airport). May-Oct (summer): daily 09:00-17:00. Nov-Apr (winter): Tu-Su 10:00-17:00, M closed. Everybody can be a pioneer – this is the central message of the Dornier Museum Friedrichshafen, opened in the summer of 2009, offering a 100 years of aviation and aerospace history as a fascinating experience. The extraordinary architecture accommodates almost 400 exhibits on 5000 m², including 12 original aircraft, 7 exhibits from space travel and a full-size model. €9 adults, €4.50 children, €7 concessions.
  • 14 Zeppelin Museum, Seestraße 22 (Friedrichshafen). Situated in the historic harbour station building, this museum presents the world‘s largest collection on the subject of airship history, construction and travel. Under the same roof you can visit an important collection of art dating from the late Middle Ages to the present day. The main attraction is the 33 m long reconstruction of part of the LZ 129 Hindenburg in its original size, which visitors can board just as the original passengers did in the 1930s. The authentically fitted passenger rooms give an impression of how people travelled during the period of the “silver giants”. Two entire storeys of the Zeppelin Museum are dedicated to different aspects of Zeppelin history and technology. In addition to the permanent exhibition the museum organizes special events and temporary exhibitions. The Zeppelin company also offers tours with a modern airship produced by Zeppelin albeit not a Zeppelin in the technological sense (i.e. the structure is not held up by an interior skeleton although it does have a keel) starting at €200 a pop. €8 adults, €4 concessions. Zeppelin Museum Friedrichshafen (Q191427) on Wikidata Zeppelin Museum Friedrichshafen on Wikipedia
  • 15 Luftwaffenmuseum der Bundeswehr (German Air Force Museum; RAF Gatow), Am Flugplatz Gatow 33 (Berlin/North; from S+U Rathaus Spandau, take Bus 135), +49 30 368 7260 1, . At a former Luftwaffe and Royal Air Force (RAF) airfield, RAF Gatow, which served as West Berlin's third airport until 1994. The museum's focus is on military history, particularly the history of the Luftwaffe of the Bundeswehr, with a collection of more than 200,000 items, including 155 aeroplanes, 5,000 uniforms and 30,000 books. There are also displays (including aeroplanes) on the history of the airfield when it was used by the RAF. Aircraft include reproductions of Otto Lilienthal's gliders, of World War I planes such as the Fokker E.III triplane, and World War II planes such as the Bf 109 and Me-262, as well as at least one aircraft of every type ever to serve in the air forces of East and West Germany. Most of those postwar aircraft are stored outside on the tarmac and runways, however, and many are in bad condition. There are long term restoration projects, including a Focke-Wulf Fw 190. Militärhistorisches Museum Flugplatz Berlin-Gatow (Q461359) on Wikidata Militärhistorisches Museum Flugplatz Berlin-Gatow on Wikipedia
  • 16 Auto & Technik Museum (close to Sinsheim; signposted from exits 33 or 34 on the A6 Autobahn.). open daily. Has interesting displays of many vintage and historic cars, motorcycles, other machinery, and an extensive collection of aircraft, including a Russian Tupolev 144 and Anglo-French Concorde. Technikmuseum Sinsheim (Q374459) on Wikidata Auto & Technik Museum Sinsheim on Wikipedia
  • 17 Otto Lilienthal Museum, Ellbogenstraße 1 (Anklam, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania), +49-3971-245500, . Daily 10:00-17:00. Set up on Lilienthal’s birthplace, founded in 1927. On exhibition are various objects belonging to the life and work of Otto Lilienthal, essays, documents, including a photo archive, replicas and models of all known gliders and aircraft of Lilienthal, and a large collection of hang gliders and models of aircraft. Moreover, it shows the history of brothers Otto and Gustav Lilienthal, very prolific inventors of steam engines, toys, as well as initiators of numerous social and cultural projects. Otto Lilienthal was the namesake of defunct Tegel Airport in Berlin. Otto Lilienthal Museum (Q881418) on Wikidata Otto Lilienthal Museum on Wikipedia
Plan of Tegel Airport (TXL)
  • 18 Tegel International Airport (Flughafen Berlin-Tegel "Otto Lilienthal"), Berlin/Reinickendorf and Spandau. Tegel was the airport for the French sector and later the dominant airport of West Berlin during the Cold War. It was planned as a double hexagon, though only one hexagon was ever built (Terminal A) plus two non-hexagonal terminals (Terminals C and D). It ceased operations in 8 November 2020. Due to legal and safety reasons, Tegel will be held operational for air traffic for another six months, without handling any scheduled services, before being decomissioned as an aviation facility on 3 May 2021. The minor military area on the northern side of Tegel will still be used for governmental helicopter flights until 2029; the main terminal will be taken over by an university of applied sciences. Berlin-Tegel Airport (Q9688) on Wikidata Berlin Tegel Airport on Wikipedia
  • 19 Tempelhof Airport, Berlin/Tempelhof and Neukölln (Take  U6  to "Platz der Luftbrücke", "Paradestraße" or "Tempelhof" to enter the park.). Sunrise to sunset. The "mother of all airports", according to Sir Norman Foster, is a huge relic of the pre-war era. First flights on what was then a parade ground were already undertaken in the first decade of the 20th century, before it became a full-on airport in the 1920s with such dignitaries as president Friedrich Ebert among the first passengers. Tempelhof was one of the first airports to feature a major terminal building (at the time the biggest building in the world before being surpassed by the Pentagon), the first to be linked to the urban rail network of its city (the Berlin U-Bahn) and was a major hotspot of the cold war, including a flight operated by Polish LOT intended for (East-) Berlin-Schönefeld being hijacked and abducted there to escape from the East to the West. The iconic terminal building (built during the Nazi era) was the hot spot of the Berlin airlift (Berliner Luftbrücke) in 1948-49. In 1951 a monument was added to its entrance square - then renamed "Airlift Square" - to commemorate the airlifts over the Berlin Blockade. The airport was featured in movies like Billy Wilder's One Two Three. Tempelhof closed as an airport on October 30, 2008. Nowadays, the airfield is a spacious park with many visitors in summer and fall. The terminal building is still fascinating - the halls and neighbouring buildings, intended to become the gateway to Europe, are still known among the largest built entities worldwide. The terminal building is used as a venue of fashion weeks or fairs. Tempelhof, in the 21st century, was a hot-button political issue: first it was the subject of a failed ballot measure to keep it open as an airport. A few years later, a ballot measure to prevent new construction on its outskirts was successful, thus preserving the urban open space at the cost of an exacerbated housing shortage. The park is free; guided tour in the building €15. Berlin Tempelhof Airport (Q9686) on Wikidata Berlin Tempelhof Airport on Wikipedia
  • 20 Cargolifter Hall (Tropical Islands) (go south from Berlin-Schönefeld for around 50 km (31 mi) on the A 13 (Berlin-Dresden) Autobahn; there is long distance bus service and a free shuttle bus from the Brand train station, too). This is one of the remnants of one of the most curious chapters of semi-rigid airship history. During the 1990s and early 2000s it seemed as if rigid airships were making a comeback for cargo. Zeppelin actually started building airships again (though none with a full interior skeleton) but all eyes were on a startup that promised to do great things with a new cargo airship and collected investor money to make that dream a reality. However, after building a scale model and a gigantic airship hall in the nowhere of rural Brandenburg, the company had to acknowledge that they had vastly underestimated the costs of their endeavor and as no more money was forthcoming, the company shut down in 2002. But all was not lost, as an investor bought up the airship hall; not to store airships, mind you - there's surprisingly little demand for that - they built one of the biggest indoor swimming pool / landscape attractions. After that venture went through some financial trouble it seems to have stabilized for now and while it does not really promote its airship-related history, the hall is nonetheless impressive and visitors can get a glimpse of the vast scale of the airship that never was. Tropical Islands Resort (Q511276) on Wikidata Tropical Islands Resort on Wikipedia
  • 21 Hamburg Finkenwerder Airport. Airbus, as a European company with various European states being stakeholders, produces their aircraft all throughout Europe, but Finkenwerder is where customers get their new planes. The airport is also used for flights by the Airbus company, and you can get a guided tour. Hamburg Finkenwerder Airport (Q663819) on Wikidata Hamburg Finkenwerder Airport on Wikipedia
  • 22 Deutsches Museum Flugwerft Schleißheim (Oberschleißheim north of Munich). Part of the Deutsches Museum, a museum set up by the visionary Oscar von Miller with the slightly megalomaniacal proposition of being a "museum of everything (technology)". While the main museum in Munich/Ludwigsvorstadt-Isarvorstadt still houses a few aerospace related exhibits, the majority of the planes got too large for the main museum and are thus housed here, outside Munich proper. Deutsches Museum Flugwerft Schleißheim (Q1000654) on Wikidata Deutsches Museum Flugwerft Schleissheim on Wikipedia


  • 23 Indian Air Force Museum (adjacent to the Palam Air Force Station in Delhi). The display gallery contains historic photographs, memorabilia, uniforms and personal weapons of the Indian Air Force, from its inception in 1932. This gallery leads to a hangar exhibiting small aircraft and Air Force assets like anti-aircraft guns, vehicles and ordnance. Larger aircraft are exhibited outside the hangar, along with several war trophies, radar equipment and captured enemy vehicles. Indian Air Force Museum Palam (Q15228644) on Wikidata Indian Air Force Museum, Palam on Wikipedia
  • 24 Naval Aviation Museum (Vasco da Gama, adjacent to the Dabolim airport). Tu-Su 10AM–5PM. This museum contains exhibits that showcase the evolution of the Indian Naval Air Arm over decades. It's divided into two main parts, an outdoor exhibit and a two-storeyed indoor gallery. This is a great place to see vintage aircraft like the Sealands, Doves, Alizes, Seahawks, Vampires, a Super Constellation and Hughes helicopters, along with the relatively newer Sea Harriers. It claims to be the only one of its kind in Asia. Admission is free.


A seaplane at the Italian Air Force museum
  • 25 Italian Air Force Museum (Museo Storico Aeronautica Militare), Vigna Di Valle (on the southernmost point of Lake Bracciano, between Bracciano and Anguillara), +39 0699887509, . Tu-Su 09:30-16:30 in winter and 09:30-17:30 in summer. A superb collection of planes housed in the hangars of Italy's first seaplane base. Exhibits range from the pioneers of flight and World War I fighters up to Italian military planes of the present day. This is one of the largest collections of its type in the world, really well displayed. Free.
  • 26 Leonardo da Vinci Museum of Science and Technology (Museo Nazionale della Scienza e della Tecnologia), S.Vittore Street (Milan/West, reachable by bus or subway, line MM2 Sant'Ambrogio Station). Hosted in a former monastery, San Vittore al Corpo. The Air Transport section exhibits several airplanes, including a Farman 1909 replica and an original Macchi MC 205 V used during World War II. There are also modern military aircraft, like an Italian Fiat G.91, a North American F-86K and a Republic F-84F Thunderstreak.
  • 27 Gianni Caproni Aeronautical Museum (Museo dell’Aeronautica Gianni Caproni), Via Lidorno, 3 (Trento, adjacent to the airport), +39 461-944 888. Italy's oldest aviation museum, and the country's oldest corporate museum, established in 1927. Just outside the museum and airport, a Lockheed F-104G Starfighter is pointed to the sky, and stands as a gate guardian.


  • 28 Museum of Aeronautical Science (航空科学博物館 kōkū kagaku hakubutsukan) (Narita, about 15min by bus from Narita Airport (JR/Keisei Station).), +81 479 78-0557. Tu-Su 10AM-5PM., Closed year end and new years holidays. The Museum of Aeronautical Science displays relevant artifacts to the aviation history of Japan, including aircraft. Also of note is the observation deck on the fifth floor, with views over Narita Airport. From here you can watch aircraft landing and departing, log numbers, and take photographs. Museum of Aeronautical Science (Q11613905) on Wikidata Museum of Aeronautical Science on Wikipedia
  • 29 Tokorozawa Aviation Museum (所沢航空発祥記念館), 1-13 Namiki (Tokorozawa), +81 4-2996-2225, fax: +81 4-2996-2531. 9:30AM-5PM. Japan's first airfield, which started operations in 1911 with a flight by Yoshitoshi Tokugawa. The original single runway is still visible and has been incorporated into the larger multifunction Tokorozawa Aviation Memorial Park, adjacent to the museum. It contains aircraft and other displays (many of which interactive), and an IMAX theatre. Tokorozawa Aviation Museum (Q1041232) on Wikidata Tokorozawa Aviation Museum on Wikipedia


New Zealand[edit]

  • 31 Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre, 79 Aerodrome Rd, Blenheim (New Zealand) (beside Omaka Aerodrome (not Blenheim Airport) 5 km from town, route sign-posted off SH6), +64 3 579 1305, . Daily 10AM-5PM (last entry 4PM) except 25–26 Dec. Collection of World War I planes lovingly restored and captured in realistic settings. Part of the attraction is the association of Peter Jackson (of Lord of the Rings fame) and Weta Workshop with the display. His team has turned what could be just a collection of planes into a drama enjoyed by even those with little interest in aviation or military history. Worth it. Has a cafe. Adult $25, child (5–14) $10, concessions available.


  • 32 Polish Aviation Museum (Muzeum Lotnictwa), al. Jana Pawła II 39 (Czyżyny district, Kraków/East), +48 12 640 99 60. Tu-Su 09:00 - 17:00. A museum consisting of a new pavilion (good contemporary architecture) and few hangars filled with over two hundred historic gliders, aircraft, helicopters and more. Among them is a collection of 22 extremely rare antique planes that once belonged to Hermann Göring. The museum stands on the grounds of the Rakowice-Czyżyny airfield, one of the oldest military airfields in Europe. Tuesdays free.


The "Sukhoi Alley" at the Central Air Force Museum
  • 33 Museum of the Great Patriotic War (Центральный музей Великой Отечественной войны), Ploschad Pobedy (Площадь Победы), 3 (Moscow/Outskirts, M: Park Pobedy). Tu-Su 10:00-19:00, Th 10:00-20:00. Impressive museum, features an external section with displays of vintage Soviet aircraft flown in World War II. - Adults RUB200, Seniors, students RUB100. Museum of the Great Patriotic War (Q190694) on Wikidata Museum of the Great Patriotic War, Moscow on Wikipedia
  • 34 Memorial Museum of Astronautics (Memorial Museum of Cosmonautics or Memorial Museum of Space Exploration,), Prospekt Mira (просп. Мира), 111 (Moscow/Outskirts, M:VDNkH (ВДНХ) or Monorail), +7 (495) 683-7968, . Tu-Su 11:00-19:00. A museum in Moscow, dedicated to space exploration.- The museum contains a wide variety of space-related exhibits and models which explore the history of flight; astronomy; space exploration; space technology; and space in the arts. The museum's collection holds approximately 85,000 different items. Memorial Museum of Astronautics (Q1638035) on Wikidata Memorial Museum of Cosmonautics on Wikipedia
  • 35 Central Air Force Museum (Центральный музей Военно-воздушных сил РФ) (Monino, East Moscow Oblast, about 40 km east of Moscow. Take a local train from the Yaroslavl Station in Moscow.). W-F 09:30-13:30, 14:15-17:00, Sa Su 09:00-14:00. 173 Russian and Soviet military planes and 127 engines, including rarities and prototypes, are on display in the Central Air Force museum. In addition you can see uniforms, weapons and other air force equipment. Descriptions of exhibits are for the most part in Russian only, with some English translations available. The museum is on a military base, so there's identity check on entry (foreigners no longer need a special permit). Check if the museum is open before visiting, it was planned to close for an unspecified time in the summer 2016 but it has still received reviews in September 2016. Central Air Force Museum (Q190445) on Wikidata Central Air Force Museum on Wikipedia


  • 36 Kallang Airport, 9 Kallang Airport Way. Singapore's first purpose-built civil aviation airport, opened in 1937 and regarded as one of finest in the British Empire at the time of its opening. It was a major stop on the "Kangaroo Route" between London and Sydney for both Qantas and BOAC. Malayan Airways, the precursor of today's award-winning Singapore Airlines, was founded here in 1947. It was closed in 1955 after the completion of a new airport at Paya Lebar, though the Art Deco terminal building still stands, and the former runway survives in part as a public road known as Old Airport Road. British Airways and Qantas continue to operate their London-Sydney flights with a stop in Singapore, albeit using the much bigger and more modern Changi Airport. free. Kallang Airport (Q6353550) on Wikidata Kallang Airport on Wikipedia



  • 39 Ukrainian State Aviation Museum (Державний музей авіації України (Жуляни)), Medovaya str., 1 (Kyiv, inside the old Zhulyany Airport), +380 44 241-2583, +380 44 461-6485, +380 44 451-8314, . Many impressive Soviet civil and military aircraft on display, including an An-2, Tu-104, Il-62, Il-76, an Il-86 and constantly improving. The museum is opposite to the airport terminal, which is an industrial zone. To get there, you can either take Trolleybus #9 from the main train station - Kyiv Passazhyrskyi (South exit)/Vokzalna metro stop or #22 from Shuliavska (Шулявська) metro station, both until Sevastopolska Square. From there, take the minibus 220 that will take you straight to the museum (last stop). Walking in the surrounding area after dark is not advisable as the area is poorly lit and stray dogs are present. 50 грн.

United Kingdom[edit]

  • 40 Royal Air Force Museum London (former RAF Hendon airfield), Grahame Park Way, London NW9 5LL, +44 20 8205-2266. A nationally important collection of military aircraft, including a few that served with the RAF's foes. Free (but parking charges apply). Royal Air Force Museum London (Q1890450) on Wikidata Royal Air Force Museum London on Wikipedia
  • 41 Imperial War Museum Duxford (RAF Duxford) (near Cambridge). This World War II airfield, the main filming location for the famous Battle of Britain movie with Michael Caine, nowadays houses the Imperial War Museum's aircraft collection, and is the largest aviation museum in Europe, featuring a fleet of lovingly mantained Spitfires and Tiger Moths that fly almost daily. As well as military aircraft, it houses a large collection of non-military aircraft including a Concorde. There is also a land warfare museum attached that has many examples of armoured vehicles from the First World War onwards. A proper visit needs a full day. Bus Citi 7 takes about an hour to get there from the city centre or the bus station. Make sure that you board the Citi 7 bus that says Duxford as the Citi 7 bus also goes to two other places. Also note the time of the last bus to leave the museum as later buses go to the village of Duxford but not out to the museum. Flight shows are sometimes held; these days will be very busy. Imperial War Museum Duxford (Q1758240) on Wikidata Imperial War Museum Duxford on Wikipedia
  • 42 Farnborough Air Sciences Trust Museum (FAST), Trenchard House, 85 Farnborough Road, GU14 6TF (Farnborough, Hampshire), +44 1252 375050. Sa Su bank holiday M 10AM-4PM. The birthplace of British aviation, Farnborough was used for research and development of balloon technology as early as the 1880s. After the first powered flight in Britain in 1908, the town became heavily involved in the aerospace industry, and saw many landmark moments throughout the 20th century, including one of the claimants for first jet aircraft, and the development of Anglo-French supersonic airliner Concorde. The FAST Museum charts this history, and you can also visit other sites and monuments connected to the industry around town. Free. Farnborough Air Sciences Trust (Q5435974) on Wikidata Farnborough Air Sciences Trust on Wikipedia
  • The Shuttleworth Collection (near Biggleswade). Collection of vintage aircraft.
  • 43 National Museum of Flight Scotland, East Fortune Airfield EH39 5LF (off A1 near Haddington east of Edinburgh). Apr-Oct daily 10:00-17:00, Nov-Mar Sa Su 10:00-16:00. 4 hangars of aircraft, including Concorde G-BOAA. Adult £12.

United States[edit]

  • 44 Wright Brothers National Memorial, 1000 North Croatan Highway (Kitty Hawk, North Carolina), +1-252-441-7430. Dsily 9AM–5PM (closed on Dec 25). Celebrates and explains the first successful controlled, sustained, powered, heavier-than-air flights, which the Wright brothers performed here in 1903. The visitors center has a model of the original aircraft, and interpretive talks. Outside, stone markers show the start and ending points of the first four flights. The adjacent First Flight Airport (KFFA) offers a 3000' runway for day use, with tie-downs but no fuel or other services. Compared to the time of the first flight, Kill Devil Hill has shifted south a short distance due to wind, and is planted with grass to keep it in place. It is topped by an art deco monument to the Wright brothers, and Orville attended its dedication. Follow US Highway 158 to mile 7.5, turn west into Memorial. $7/adult, children 15 years or younger free, free with passes.
  • 45 National Air and Space Museum, 655 Jefferson Dr SW (Washington DC), +1 202 633-1000. 10AM-5:30PM daily, except December 25. The most-visited museum in the U.S., with over 8 million visitors per year, this impressive repository covers the history of human flight, rocketry and space flight. It contains thousands of impressive artifacts, including the Wright brothers' 1903 Flyer, Lindbergh's Spirit of St. Louis, Apollo 11's command module Columbia, and the simulated bridge of an aircraft carrier. Free Admission. National Air and Space Museum (Q752669) on Wikidata National Air and Space Museum on Wikipedia
  • 46 Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center - National Air and Space Museum (Dulles Air and Space Museum), 14390 Air and Space Museum Parkway (Chantilly, Virginia, near Dulles International Airport), +1 202 357-2200. This branch of the Smithsonian museum opened in 2003 to house many illustrious air/spacecraft that would not fit into the 1976 museum in the Mall. The Udvar-Hazy collection includes the SR-71 "Blackbird" spy plane, the Concorde supersonic jet, the B-29 Enola Gay of Hiroshima fame, the Super Constellation, and the space shuttle Discovery. In addition, the museum contain an observation tower and an IMAX theater. The museum is free; there is a charge for the IMAX. Parking is available for $15/vehicle..
  • 47 National Museum of Naval Aviation, 1750 Radford Blvd (Pensacola, Florida), +1 850 452-3604. 9AM-5PM. The Naval Aviation Museum is the most popular tourist destination in Pensacola, and it offers a comprehensive look at the history of flight in the Navy, Coast Guard, and Marine Corps. The 150 beautifully restored aircraft are the biggest draw here; make sure to check out the Blue Angels jets hanging in the atrium, and the only C-130 Hercules to have ever landed on an aircraft carrier. Kids will enjoy the flight simulator, and the IMAX theater shows a visually stunning documentary, the History of Flight. Practice demonstrations by the United States Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels, may be viewed from the museum most Tuesday and Wednesday mornings between March and November. These practices are weather permitting, and a tentative practice schedule may be viewed on the Blue Angels’ website. Free, but donations welcome. $8 for IMAX tickets.. National Naval Aviation Museum (Q1368608) on Wikidata National Naval Aviation Museum on Wikipedia
  • 48 National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, 1100 Spaatz St (Dayton, Ohio), +1 937 258-1218, fax: +1 937 258-3816. 9AM-5PM daily, closed fourth Th of Nov, 25 Dec, and 1 Jan. The world's largest military aviation museum with over 300 aircraft on display from the earliest days of aviation to modern prototypes. It is well maintained and interesting even for non aviation buffs. Highlights include the B-2 stealth bomber, a Mercury space capsule, and the very cool V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor craft. Free. National Museum of the United States Air Force (Q1422977) on Wikidata National Museum of the United States Air Force on Wikipedia
AMARC, aka the 'Boneyard', with the Santa Catalina Mountains in the background.
  • 49 Patuxent River Naval Air Museum, 22156 Three Notch Rd (Lexington Park, Maryland 20653; Take MD-4 south, then turn right on MD-235). Patuxent River Naval Air Station is the Navy's primary aircraft test facility. Virtually every aircraft flown by the Navy since World War II has been tested at Pax River. The base is, of course, not open to the public, but you can visit the Naval Air Museum without coming onto the main base. It includes a large collection of jet-age Navy aircraft, including the F-4J Phantom II, the F-14A Tomcat, F/A-18A Hornet, S-3B Viking, E-2B Hawkeye, AV-8B Harrier II, and the two experimental aircraft that competed for the Joint Strike Fighter contract, the Boeing X-35C and the Lockheed-Martin X-32B. Visitors can walk up and touch the aircraft. Museum exhibits also include flight motion simulators. Free; donation requested. Patuxent River Naval Air Museum (Q7148779) on Wikidata Patuxent River Naval Air Museum on Wikipedia
  • 50 Pima Air & Space Museum, 6000 E Valencia Rd (Tucson, Arizona), +1 520-574-0462. Daily 9AM-5PM (last admission at 4PM); closed Thanksgiving and Christmas. Features over 300 historic aircraft on an 80-acre site with five hangars, two of them devoted to World War II. Veterans and volunteers are often on hand to answer any questions, and there are daily walking tours of the grounds. There is an onsite restaurant. $15.50 (adults), $12.25 (Pima County residents), $12.75 (seniors/military), $9 (children 5-12), free (children under 5). Pima Air & Space Museum (Q3062422) on Wikidata Pima Air & Space Museum on Wikipedia
    • Tram Tour, +1 520-574-0462. As the grounds are so large, a tour tram is offered for those who do not wish to walk. The guided tour lasts one hour and covers 1½ miles and more than 150 planes. Departure times vary, so it is best to call ahead or inquire at the entrance. Price is in addition to museum admission: $6 (adults), free (children under 6).
    • 51 Aerospace Maintenance and Regentation Center (AMARC / Boneyard), +1 520-574-0462. M-F; times vary so best to call ahead. A separate, very interesting tour can be booked to see the Aerospace Maintenance and Regentation Center, located nearby on Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, where 4200+ aircraft are stored. As the facility is an active military base, an ID is required (all nationalities welcome). Visitors are not permitted to leave the bus, and non-essential backpacks/camera bags are not permitted (storage is available at the museum). These tours are very popular and cannot be reserved ahead; tickets are sold only on the day of the tour on a first-come basis, so it is best to arrive early. $7 (adults), $4 (children under 13). 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group (Q224095) on Wikidata 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group on Wikipedia
  • 52 Edwards Air Force Base, 1 S. Rosamond Blvd (Mojave, California; take the 14 south to Rosamond, then take Rosamond Blvd. east out of town and follow it directly to the base), +1 661 277-3510. Edwards AFB is very famous as the American military flight test center, home to Chuck Yeager and co. in the 1950s and 1960s, the scenario to nearly all the action seen in famous movie The Right Stuff: a massive testing and training ground for the USAF and NASA. The Air Force Flight Test Museum is inside the base, and tours are available. See the website for details. Note that this is an active military base so ID will be required and visitors may be required to submit to a search. Edwards AFB is best known for being similar to Area 51, but usually most of the time, test and experimental aircraft will come out of the hangar to experiment. This Air force base was built in 1933 and opened for use in 1948, for the USAF and NACA. In 1958, NACA has been changed to NASA, making Edwards a NASA base. The site of the first Space Shuttle landing, it became a back-up site to the prime landing location, the Shuttle Landing Facility at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Edwards Air Force Base (Q217563) on Wikidata Edwards Air Force Base on Wikipedia
    • 53 NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center (Dryden Flight Research Center). Known as the Dryden Flight Research Center until the name was changed in 2014, this center has played an important role in the history of flight. Before NASA, NACA ("National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics") operated and tested the transsonic Douglas Skyrocket. The center also conducted the Controlled Impact Demonstration in 1984, a test in which a Boeing 720 aircraft was remotely piloted and intentionally crashed in order to study fuel additives meant to reduce fires in the case of a crash. Other experiments have included "aerospike" engines and supersonic rockets. Five lunar landing research vehicles were tested at the base, one of which is available for viewing. Armstrong Flight Research Center (Q305443) on Wikidata Armstrong Flight Research Center on Wikipedia
    • 54 Aircraft on display. There are a lot of iconic aircraft, such as Balls 8, NASA's venerable B-52 Stratofortress, famous as the X-planes' mothership, on display at the base's North and West gates. Take a lot of pictures of these planes when you are driving or walking in Edwards AFB.
    • 55 Rogers Dry Lake. Dry most of the year, the hard surface of the lakebed provides an extension for runways at Edwards, and is home to approximately 16 runways. Many notable aeronautic achievements have taken place above.
  • 56 Blackbird Air Park, 2503 E. Avenue P (Palmdale, California; take Highway 14 or Sierra Highway to Avenue P, turn east, drive to 25th Street East.), +1 661 274-0884. F-Su (except in inclement weather) from 11AM to 4PM Pacific Time. On Federal Government holidays both airparks are closed. The Blackbird Airpark Museum is an extension of the Air Force Flight Test Museum at Edwards AFB, right next door to the Joe Davies Heritage Airpark (formerly Palmdale Plant 42 Heritage Airpark). Both are manned by retirees who had previously worked in the aerospace industry, some actually having worked on the aircraft displayed at the two parks. All of the aircraft have been carefully restored for public display. View and walk around retired SR-71A (Blackbird), A-12 and U-2 aircraft. Both are free to the public. Air Force Plant 42 (Q2828202) on Wikidata United States Air Force Plant 42 on Wikipedia
  • 57 Museum of Flight, 9404 E Marginal Way S (Seattle, Washington; next to the Boeing 737 factory at King County Airport), +1 206 764-5720. Daily 10AM to 5PM except 1st Thursday of month 10AM to 9PM. Consists of an indoor area that is further divided into the history, jet age, airport operations, and space travel, and an outdoor section where you can sneak inside retired airplanes. The collection includes 131 aircraft and spacecraft ranging from wood and fabric crates to the SR-71, Space Shuttle Trainer, a retired Air-Force One and a Concorde. Tours to the vicinity of the airport inside a van are available, but most spots do not allow cameras for security purposes. The Museum offers a large educational outreach program including weekend family workshops, the Aerospace Camp Experience (ACE) summer day camp, and an aviation high school. $20 adults, $12 youth (5-17), children (4 and under) free, $17 active military and seniors (65+). Lower fares available for groups of more than 10 people. Free on first Thursday of the month from 5PM until 9PM. Museum of Flight (Q1402597) on Wikidata Museum of Flight on Wikipedia
  • 58 Future of Flight Aviation Center & Boeing Tour, 8415 Paine Field Blvd., Mukilteo, Washington (from Everett, take I-5 Exit 189, WA Hwy 526 west 4 miles (6.4km), past the huge Boeing building on your right, then at the 4-way stoplight turn left onto Paine Field Blvd and follow signs for the museum), +1 425-438-8100, toll-free: +1-888-467-4777, fax: +1 425-265-9808, . 8:30AM-5:30PM daily, except for a few holidays; tours start 9AM-3PM. Boeing's Everett factory is the world's largest building by interior volume. It is where the Boeing 747, 767, 777, and 787 airliners are made. The factory is viewed from an observation floor, leaving you a few hundred yards/meters from any aircraft, and the tour can be rather bland and commercial. No cameras or electronics allowed on the tour, not even your cell phone! Tours start from the Future of Flight Aviation Center, which has a gallery and theatre presentations which are fairly interesting, but don't take very long to view. On the observation deck of the museum, you can watch planes land and take off from the runway, with air traffic control audible on speakers; aircraft are often being tested before delivery to Boeing's customers. At Paine Field, there are the Boeing tour and these adjacent independent museums. However, if you only have time for one aviation museum on your trip, you might consider skipping this in favor of the Museum of Flight in South Seattle, which is much larger and engaging than the Boeing tour. $15 for museum and tour ($8 for 15 years and under); $9 for museum only. Reservations recommended for tours. Must be 4 feet (122 cm) or taller. Lockers $1 (for storing items not allowed on the tour).
  • 59 Historic Flight Foundation (John T. Sessions Historic Aircraft Foundation), 10719 Bernie Webber Dr (Paine Field, Mukilteo, Washington), +1 425 348-3200, . Tu-Su 10AM-5PM. A collection of the most important aircraft produced between 1927 and 1957 (e.g. P-51 Mustang, B-25 Mitchell, Spitfire mk. IX)—all restored and airborne again. $15, $12 senior/military, $10 youth (11-17), kids 10 and under free.
  • 60 Flying Heritage Collection, 3407 109th Street SW (Paine Field, Everett, Washington), toll-free: +1-877-FHC-3404 (342-3404). 10AM-5PM; daily from Memorial Day to Labor Day, Tu-Su the rest of the year. Microsoft founder Paul G. Allen's collection of rare military aircraft of the 20th century, which comprises artifacts from Germany, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States. The Collection opened to the public in 2004. $14, $12 seniors/military, $10 youth (6-17), kids 5 and under free.
  • 61 The Museum of Flight Restoration Center, 2909 100th St. SW (Paine Field, Everett, Washington). 9AM-4PM; Tu-Sa June–August, Tu-Th and Sa the rest of the year. $5, $3 youth (5-17), kids 4 and under free.
  • 62 Museum of Flying, 3100 Airport Ave (at Santa Monica, California; Santa Monica Airport (KSMO)), +1 310-398-2500. F-Su 10AM-5PM. Centered around artifacts from the Douglas Aircraft Company, which used to manufacture iconic aircraft like the DC-3 at the Santa Monica Airport. It includes many aircraft in static display, from a replica Wright Flyer to World War II fighters to the microjet which appeared in the James Bond film Octopussy. "Rides" in a full-motion flight simulator are $8 each. $10 adults. Museum of Flying (Q6940862) on Wikidata Museum of Flying on Wikipedia
  • 63 Planes of Fame Air Museum, 7000 Merrill Ave. #17 (Chino Airport, Southern California), +1 909 597-3722. Su-F 10AM-5PM, Sa 9AM-5PM; closed Thanksgiving & Christmas Day. This museum covers the history of flight, from an 1896 Chanute hang glider through the Space Age. Of special note is the largest collection of Japanese aircraft, including the only original Zero fighter still flying (it appears in the famous Tora! Tora! Tora! movie). Many of the aircraft are the only remaining examples of their kind. 12 and up: $11; 5-11: $4; under 5: Free; Seniors (65+) and Veterans: $10; Active duty military, police, and firefighters: Free.
  • 64 Yanks Air Museum, 7000 Merrill Avenue #35-A270 (Chino Airport, Southern California), +1 909 597-1735. M-Sa 8AM-4PM. This museum owns 160 aircraft, including the largest private collection of World War II American fighters and dive bombers in the world. 12 and up: $11; 5-11: $5; under 5: Free; Seniors (65+): $10.
  • 65 La Guardia Marine Air Terminal, 1 Marine Terminal Rd (East Elmhurst, New York 11371; Terminal A at La Guardia Airport, separate access from the main Terminal 'B' from Grand Central Pkwy). Completed in 1939, this Art Deco terminal is part of New York City's LaGuardia Airport, and one of the oldest airport terminals still in active use as the terminal for JetBlue airline. Marine_Air_Terminal on Wikipedia
  • 66 Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum, 500 NE Captain Michael King Smith Way (McMinnville, Oregon 97124), +1 503 434-4180. Daily 10AM-4PM. Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum (Q490825) on Wikidata Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum on Wikipedia
  • 67 Tillamook Air Museum, 6030 Hangar Rd (Tillamook, Oregon; Hangar B at the airport which is 4.6 mi (7.4 km) south of town via US Hwy 101 and Long Prairie Rd), +1 503 842-1130. W-Su 10AM-4PM. Tillamook Air Museum (Q7802237) on Wikidata Tillamook Air Museum on Wikipedia
  • 68 Anchorage International Airport. Once a major stop for aircraft flying from North America and Europe to East Asia, due to the limited range of earlier aircraft, as well as the prohibition on aircraft from the Western Bloc flying into Soviet or Chinese airspace. It has since fallen on harder times with an underutilised international terminal (the North Terminal), as newer aircraft have the range to fly nonstop from major U.S. and Canadian cities into East Asia, and Russia and China have also granted overflight privileges to Western Bloc aircraft since the end of the Cold War. That said, Anchorage remains a major hub for cargo flights between North America and East Asia. Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport (Q767753) on Wikidata Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport on Wikipedia
  • 69 Air Mobility Command Museum, 1301 Heritage Rd, Dover AFB, Delaware (the museum has its own entrance gate on Rte 9. Just use exit 91 on Rte 1), +1 302 677-5938. Tu-Su 9AM-4PM. The museum is on the Dover Air Force Base. The museum has a McDonnell Douglas VC-9C jet, serial number 73-1682, that transported America’s top leadership from 1975 until 2011. It was mainly used as Air Force Two, but was occasionally used as Air Force One when Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush visited locations with smaller airports. Free parking and admission. Air Mobility Command Museum (Q21028346) on Wikidata Air Mobility Command Museum on Wikipedia
  • 70 Delta Airlines Museum, 1060 Delta Blvd; Bldg. B, Dept. 914, Atlanta, Georgia, +1 404 715-7886. Tu-Su 9AM-4PM. At the Delta Flight Museum, guests can explore rare aviation artifacts and airplanes, enjoy interactive exhibits, and even pilot a real Boeing 737 flight simulator. They offer regular surplus sales selling aircraft components and equipment used on their flights like the drink carts. Check schedules for when the sales are scheduled. Free parking and admission.
  • 71 New Orleans Lakefront Airport, 6001 Stars and Stripes Blvd #219, New Orleans, Louisiana. Originally the main airport serving New Orleans, it was superseded by the current Louis Armstrong Airport in that role in 1946, and today only serves general aviation. The Art Deco terminal building was encased in concrete in the 1960s during the Cold War so it could function as a bomb shelter, but was restored to its original 1930s appearance starting from 2013. Free parking and admission. Lakefront Airport (Q10853543) on Wikidata Lakefront Airport on Wikipedia

Museum aircraft carriers[edit]

The USS Yorktown at Patriot's Point.
  • 72 USS Midway Aircraft Carrier Museum, 910 N. Harbor Dr (San Diego/Downtown, California), +1 619 544-9600. Daily 10AM-5PM. Take a self-guided tour of the USS Midway (CV-41), a former aircraft carrier of the US Navy. The Midway is home to a collection of former naval aircraft housed on her expansive flight deck. Guided tours and displays offer a unique look into the life aboard and of a powerful old warhorse. $20 adults, $17 seniors, $15 students, $10 retired military/youth, children under 5 and active military free (discount if purchased online). USS Midway Museum (Q3329805) on Wikidata USS Midway Museum on Wikipedia
  • 73 USS Hornet, Pier 3, Alameda Point (Alameda, California), +1 510 521-8448. The USS Hornet (CV-12) is a retired World War II aircraft carrier that fought numerous battles in the Pacific and also retrieved the astronauts of Apollo 11 and Apollo 12 after splashdown. The ship is run as a museum, with the hangar deck, flight deck, and some other areas open to wander around in, and tours offering the chance to see control rooms, engineering facilities, and other areas of this retired warship.Allow a minimum of three hours; ideally five or more. Admission is $14 for adults, $12 for students.
  • 74 USS Yorktown (Patriot's Point) (Mount Pleasant, South Carolina; U.S. 17 N from Charleston, right onto Coleman Blvd. Right at first light.), toll-free: +1-866-831-1720. 9AM-6:30PM. Tour the USS Yorktown (CV-10), a decommissioned World War II aircraft carrier that served as recovery ship for the Apollo 8 space mission, and was used in the movies Tora! Tora! Tora! and The Philadelphia Experiment. There are other ships and submarines at the park. $18 adults, $15 seniors/military, $11 children, free for military in uniform. $5 parking.
  • 75 USS Lexington Museum on the Bay, 2914 N. Shoreline (Corpus Christi, Texas), toll-free: +1-800-523-9539, fax: +1 361 883-8361, . 9AM-5PM Winter, 9AM-6PM Summer, daily except Thanksgiving and Christmas. The very oldest remaining WWII aircraft carrier, commissioned in 1943, the USS Lexington (CV-16) is the recipient of 11 battle stars and the Presidential Unit Citation, now a museum. See naval life, the ship, and aircraft complement. Adults $13.95, Children $6.95, Parking $3.
Aerial view of the Intrepid
  • 76 Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, Pier 86, 12th Ave & 46th St (Manhattan/Theater_District), +1 212 245-0072. Apr-Sep: M-F 10AM-5PM, Sa Su 10AM-6PM; Oct-Mar: Tu-Su 10AM-5PM. The aircraft carrier USS Intrepid (CV-11) is docked here and loaded with spacecraft and aircraft, including the very cool Blackbird spy plane and the prototype Space Shuttle Enterprise. On the other side of the dock is a guided-missile submarine and a Concorde, both of which you can tour also, and some tanks. The Concorde here is notable for being the one that was once jointly-operated by British Airways and Singapore Airlines in the 1970s, during which it was painted with Singapore Airlines livery on the port side and British Airways livery on the starboard side. $16.50 adult. Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum (Q952270) on Wikidata Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum on Wikipedia

Scale-model collections[edit]

Ever since there has been aviation, there have been skilled model-makers creating scale representations, with many flying models engineered to the same exacting precision of their full-scale counterparts. Reportedly, 'model' flying machines -such as kites in China- got airborne centuries before manned flight first took place. Whilst a number of the museums mentioned above may have aviation models on show, those noted in this section are specifically scale model collections.


The museums listed above may also offer activities like flight simulators, or on special occasions, tour flights.


Here are some notable air shows around the world, but there are many more. Especially in the United States where there are often several taking place around the country each summer weekend.

  • 1 Abbotsford International Air Show, Abbotsford International Airport (Trans-Canada Highway 1 to exit 87 (Clearbrook), follow signs for airshow to King Road.). Held the second weekend in August, it attracts visitors from all over the world. Flight demonstrations primarily by Canadian and US craft. Static displays of aircraft, Canadian Forces units, and local police and RCMP detachments.
  • 2 Aero India, Bangalore. Held in the second week of February every alternate year (the next one is in 2021), this is Asia's premier air show. Spanning 5 days but open to the public only on the last 3 days (F-Su), the show at Yelahanka Air Force Base in the northern part of Bangalore comprises a defence exhibition and air show. Fighter jets from around the world are on flying and on static display. Normally, there are two air shows every day - one in the morning and the other in the afternoon. Tickets can be purchased online or at select outlets - scan the newspapers for more information. (Purchasing a ticket at outlets requires you to show a photo identification and tickets are non-transferable.)
  • 3 Africa Aerospace and Defence Expo, Air Force Base Waterkloof, Pretoria. A combined airshow and trade exhibition, also open to the public, taking place biannually in September. There are planes on display, aerobatics and parachuting shows and hands-on activities for kids.
  • 4 Australian International Airshow (Avalon Airshow), Avalon Airport. Described by the organizers as the biggest airshow in the Southern Hemisphere (and the 2017 show had more than 200,000 visitors), it takes place biannually in odd years. Military aircraft from different countries' airforces as far as from the UK and USA are often on display and performing. Manufacturers display new military planes and helicopters, but also civilian planes. Australian International Airshow (Q4824330) on Wikidata Australian International Airshow on Wikipedia
  • 5 China International Aviation & Aerospace Exhibition (中国国际航空航天博览会) (near the Zhuhai Airport), +86 756 3375602, fax: +86 756 3376415, . Held every two years, it's the biggest airshow in China, attracting thousands of people and companies around the world including well-known Boeing, Airbus and Ilyushin. This show has already become the top card of Zhuhai.
  • 6 Dayton Air Show, Dayton International Airport in Vandalia, Ohio (8 miles north of Dayton, Ohio). This annual Air Show takes place on a weekend in late June. The history of this flight exhibition dates back to 1910 and the Wright Company (Orville and Wilbur were both born at Dayton). Frequent guests include the Blue Angels, the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, U.S. Army Golden Knights, the F-18 Super Hornet, B-2 Spirit, B-52 Stratofortress, A-10 Thunderbolt, P-51 Mustang, C-5 Galaxy, and more.
  • 7 EAA AirVenture (Oshkosh airshow) (Oshkosh, Wisconsin). last Monday in July through Sunday. One of the world's great aviation gatherings. A week-long aviation event offering seminars, product demonstrations, aircraft tours and daily airshows. One of the largest airshows in the world. Hundreds of thousands of people drive in, tens of thousands of aircraft fly in. A tent city sprouts under the wings of parked aircraft and beyond. Be on the alert for closed roads all around Wittman airport and Highway 41 during the festival. Hotels can be filled for tens of miles around, but local universities open their dorm rooms, and private homes their spare bedrooms, to the visitor. See the AirVenture and Chamber of Commerce websites for leads on housing. If you plan to fly in to Wittman airport during AirVenture, you must absolutely get the AirVenture NOTAM and follow it carefully.
  • 8 Eastbourne Airbourne, Eastbourne Seafront, +44 1323 415 415 (phone number of the Eastbourne tourism agency). This is an annual airshow that takes place over the sea. Every summer, the Red Arrows, helicopters, parachutists, and other fast jets come and fly for four days. There are other ground attractions too, including live music, with the local paper claiming that 12,000 people watched Scouting for Girls perform in 2015. The main attractions are at the Western Lawns near the Wishtower, although you can get some pretty good views from the foot of the South Downs. It's free, although the organisers appreciate donations as it is quite expensive to run.
  • 9 Farnborough International Airshow, Farnborough, United Kingdom. 20-26 July 2020. Held in Farnborough Airport for one week in July every two years. Public days are the last weekend only, although there are many locations around town to watch the displays all week. Local pub beer gardens, such as The Swan and The Prince Alexander are good places to try. On-site, exhibits cover civilian & military aircraft both static and as an aerial display. The show's stunning highlight is the RAF display team the "Red Arrows". You can also visit town during the so-called "practice week", which normally lasts a week to ten days before the show opens, although flying display times are unpredictable and often repetitive. Farnborough Airshow (Q1396967) on Wikidata Farnborough Airshow on Wikipedia
  • 10 ILA Berlin Air Show, Berlin ExpoCenter Airport, Messestrasse 1, 12529 Schönefeld (18 km southeast of Berlin). The Berlin Air Show held in mid-May demonstrates the capabilities and achievements of all areas of the global aerospace industry.
  • 11 MAKS (Moscow Air Show), Ramenskoye Airport (40 km southeast of central Moscow). International Air Show held near Moscow. The first show, Mosaeroshow-92, was held in 1992. Since 1993, it was renamed "MAKS" and is held in odd years.
  • 12 Paris Air Show, Le Bourget Airport (Paris). The world's calendar-oldest air show. It's held in odd-numbered years. The Paris event starts with four professional days closed to the general public, and then Friday, Saturday and Sunday the public, including children, are allowed in.
  • 13 Reno National Championship Air Races, Reno-Stead Airport, +1 775-972-6663. Held every September just north of Reno, the National Championship Air Races have become an institution for northern Nevada and aviation enthusiasts from around the world. Each year, the event draws 200,000 visitors to the Reno-Stead Airport, attracting more than 86,000 unique fans. The event features six racing classes, a large display of static aircraft and several military and civil flight demonstrations. The Reno-Stead Airport is a small regional airport about 10 miles north of Reno. This airport has nothing to do with the Reno-Tahoe International Airport, the main commercial airport for the Reno-Tahoe area.
  • 14 Royal International Air Tattoo, RAF Fairford. The world's largest military airshow. It's held the third weekend in July every year, and usually sees about 150,000 visitors. Military aircraft from all over the world are on display. Royal International Air Tattoo (Q2461476) on Wikidata Royal International Air Tattoo on Wikipedia
  • 16 Sun n' Fun, Lakeland. late March or early April. A major week-long fly-in (general aviation meeting) and airshow. Some years international air acrobatics teams perform.
  • 17 Warbirds Over Wanaka, Wanaka. An air show held every second Easter long weekend. The next show is in 2022. See over 50 aircraft from the biplanes of World War I, the stars of World War II, the Korea fighters and the jets of Vietnam. Also military vehicles and Harley Davidson motorcycles.


  • 1 Jumbostay (Arlanda airport, north of Stockholm, Sweden). Jumbovägen 4 near Arlanda Airport, is a bit of a novelty and near the airport. A decommissioned Boeing 747 Jumbo jet converted into a backpackers' hostel. Everything inside is new and clean, and linen comes included on made beds. Flat screen TV's in each room are a luxury for hostels, and if you really want to splash out, there is the cockpit suite. On the downside, not much of an atmosphere once you get over the novelty of staying in a jet.
  • Costa Verde, Puntarenas Province, Quepos, Costa Rica, +506 2777 0584. Set on a hill overlooking the Pacific Ocean, this is a laid-back hotel with converted planes.
  • 2 TWA Hotel, John F. Kennedy International Airport, New York City. Hotel converted from the iconic former TWA Terminal at Terminal 5 designed by renowned Finnish-American architect Eero Saarinen for use by the now-defunct Trans World Airways (TWA). TWA Hotel (Q47321188) on Wikidata TWA Hotel on Wikipedia


  • 1 Delta Air Lines surplus sale, Hapeville, Georgia, USA. Every month, Delta sells off items it no longer needs, with proceeds benefiting the Delta Flight Museum in Hapeville. Selection varies, but can include things like first-class seats from retired aircraft, servingware and cutlery, vintage uniforms and merchandise, and office furniture.

See also[edit]

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