FolkestoneJack's Tracks

Aviation museum (Belgrade)

Posted in Beograd, Serbia by folkestonejack on October 14, 2011

The aviation museum in Belgrade is located five minutes walk away from Nikola Tesla airport in a rather striking glass building, surrounded by planes. At the time of my visit the cost of admission was 500 dinars and it turned out to be well worth the price. I spent a good hour or so in the museum, only leaving when the place was about to be overrun by three coach loads of kids!

The collection covers the early days of aviation in the Balkans, the development of commercial aviation in the region, the second world war and the conflict in 1999. There are explanations in english for many of the planes but some of the other displays are only in Serbian (for example, the display cases about one of the early pioneers of aviation in the region). Nevertheless, it is fascinating to wander round.

As ever with these trips, you end up filling in all sorts of gaps that you never knew you had in your understanding of European history. For example, I had no idea that the Yugoslav air forces in 1941 included such a mixture of planes – including Messerschmitt BE 109s and Hawker Hurricanes. The conflict of the 1990s is featured in a number of display cases and includes French, German and US UAVs, missiles and pieces from downed jets such as the US F-117 Nighthawk stealth fighter.

The centre of the museum is given over to a preserved Soko J-22 Orao (Eagle), a strike fighter developed by Yugoslavia and Romania in the 1970s. The first J-22 flew in 1976 and some are still in service with the Serbian air forces. The display board in front of the jet has a rather wonderful photograph showing how this example reached the museum – towed up the motorway by a tractor, with a heavy traffic jam building up behind!

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