Central Air Force Museum
Central Air Force Museum – one of the largest expositions in the world of helicopters and aircrafts, both military and civilian. The exhibits are located in open air (20 hectares), two hangars and six halls. Here you will learn the history of development of Russian aviation technologies since 1909 to present time. The museum also exhibits mock weapons, such as cruise missiles, atomic and hydrogen bombs. The museum located 42 km from Moscow.
In 1932 near by the village called “Monino”, an airfield for heavy aircraft was built, so the first Soviet heavy bomber squadron equipped here. The further history of the village is inextricably linked with aviation.
During the World War II, the Air Force Academy of the USSR was based here. If in the beginning the airfield was created for heavy aviation, then during the war all sorts of military aviation were prepared here: fighter, bomber, assault aviation regiment and separate transport squadron, with everything necessary for its maintenance.
Flights with students of the academy were held at “Monino” airfield until April 4, 1956. Then it became clear that airfield was short for supersonic aircraft, and there was nowhere to extend the runway, the aerodrome was closed for operation, and the air division was disbanded. So premises of the division were transferred for organization of museum. Gradually, the museum was given airplanes, helicopters, both exploited and experimental, to extend the collection and save the history for the descendants.
Tips & tricks
It is important to understand that the Central Air Force Museum is located outside Moscow at 42 kilometers, so it will take you a long time to get here. There are several routes available:
1) Bus #322 (Moscow – Noginsk route) from the bus station (near Partizanskaya subway station) to “Academy VVS” stop;
2) Suburban train from Yaroslavsky rail terminal (Komsomolskaya subway station) to “Monino” station.
The second variant could be also combined with visiting of Kremlin and Vernissage in Izmailovo, as it is located on Partizanskaya subway station, from where the bus (#322) starts to Central Air Force Museum. But the third option by suburban train is the fastest one, especially on Friday and Saturday, when a lot of Muscovites go to the country houses (dacha). Try to choose train named «Rex», as they are more comfortable. Remember to keep the ticket all through the trip. You could take a taxi from Monino station for ~120 rubles (~$2) or take a walk for 2.5 kilometers.
Most of the exhibits have description in English. To get more out of the visit – pay a guide for a private tour, price by negotiation, but not agree for more than 3000 rubles (~$50) for a group. Private tour includes the possibility to enter a few of the aircrafts. Note that the territory has a third secret hangar with some fantastic experimental aircrafts, ask to visit it also.
Keep in mind that there is no cafe around, just a small shop and vending machine. On the territory you will also find a regular souvenirs store.