Riga Aviation museum
Riga Aviation museum

Riga Aviation Museum

Riga Aviation Museum is located on Riga International Airport and has a large collection of Soviet era military aircraft. Highlights are the giant Mil Mi-4 helicopter, Tu-22 bomber and MiG-25 among many other aircraft. The Aviation museum is an excellent place to kill some time during a stop over when flying Air Baltic via Riga.

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Riga Aviation Museum
Latvia
Riga
Riga International Airport
5 LVL
Mon - Fri 09:00 - 16:00
www.aviamuseum.org
Great

Getting there

The Riga Aviation Museum is based on Riga International Airport and can easily be reached by car or bus from the town. Bus 22 goes runs from the city centre and reaches the airport within half an hour. The museum is located on the right of the terminal opposite the main parking area. The entrance door to the museum is often closed even though the museum is actually open. Ring the doorbell and the museum owner will open the door for you.

Main terminal of Riga International Airport 30km from city centre

Riga Airport

Entrance of the Riga Aviation museum close to Riga Airport

Museum entrance

Soviet aircraft on the main field of the Riga Aviation museum

Museum terrain

Famous Soviet jet fighters displayed at the Riga Aviation museum

Museum terrain

Aero L-29 Delfin jet trainers

Riga Aviation Museum displays four Aero L-29 Delfin jet trainers with numbers; 22, 26, 38 and 92. The L-29 was built in Czechoslovakia and became the standard military jet trainer for the Warsaw Pact Air Forces since the 1960s. Over 3,500 L-29 were produced and many are still flying today as civilian war birds.

Aero L-29 Delfin trainer build by Aero Vodochody in Czechoslovakia

Aero L-29 Delfin

The Aero L-29 Delfin was the standard Warsaw Pact jet trainer

Aero L-29 Delfin

3,500 Aero L-29 Delfin aircraft were build between 1963 and 1974

Aero L-29 Delfin

Soviet Air Force Aero L-29 Delfin jet trainer on display in Riga

Aero L-29 Delfin

Mikoyan Gurevich Design Bureau

Jet fighters from the Mikoyan Gurevich design bureau make up the largest part of the aircraft collection at the Riga Aviation Museum. There are to MiG-15 jets, 15UTI Fagot with a machine gun and the MiG-15UTI Midget; a two seat trainer versions. The museum owns five MiG-21 fighters, the most and longest produced jet fighter in the world. Two MiG-21BIS with numbers 40 and 76 represent the final production model of this famous aircraft type.

Mikoyan Gurevich MiG-15UTI Midget two seat trainer version

MiG-15UTI

Mikoyan Gurevich MiG-15UTI Fagot with a machine gun sticking out

MiG-15UTI

MiG-21BIS the final production model of the famous MiG-21 series

MiG-21BIS

Another MiG-21BIS powered by a Tumansky R-25-300 turbojet engine

MiG-21BIS

The MiG-21SMT with number 10 is a 3rd generation MiG-21 build in the early 1970s. The MiG-21UM with number 94 is a two seat trainer version of the MiG 21 series. The MiG-21US with number 06 is another two seat trainer produced in Tbilisi during the 1960s. Riga Aviation Museum has two Mig-23’s including a MiG-23M with number 74 that was the first mass produced MiG-23 of which over 1300 were made.

A Mikoyan Gurevich MiG-21SMT Fishbed in good condition

MiG-21SMT

MiG-21US two seat trainer produced in Tbilisi during the 1960s

MiG-21US

The MiG-21UM is a two seat trainer version of the MiG 21 series

MiG-21UM

A MiG-23M, the first mass produced MiG-23 of which 1300 were made

MiG-23M

The second MiG23 is the MiG-23MF that was export version of the MiG-23M for Warsaw Pact countries. The impressive MiG-25RBS Foxbat is a supersonic interceptor and reconnaissance bomber. The MiG-27K Flogger ground attack aircraft was further development of the MiG-23. The museum also owns a MiG-29UB Fulcrum trainer that was in bad condition during our visit. The MiG-29 of the museum with number 52 was the second MiG-29UB prototype.

Mikoyan Gurevich MiG-23MF, the export version of the MiG-23M

MiG-23MF

Mikoyan Gurevich MiG-27K Flogger ground attack aircraft

MiG-27K

MiG-25RBS Foxbat supersonic interceptor and reconnaissance bomber

MiG-25RBS

Mikoyan Gurevich MiG-29UB Fulcrum two seat trainer version

MiG-29UB

Antonov Design Bureau civil aircraft

Four Antonov aircraft are displayed at the Riga Aviation museum; two An-2 biplanes, an An-14 and an An-24. The two An-2 Colts are in a very bad state and need a lot of restoration work. The green painted An-2 with number 22 was produced in the Kiev Aviation Plant and has a set of skis to land on snow or ice. The second An-2 with Aeroflot markings and number CCCP 32418 is in even worse condition and is actually stored outside the museum premise. The An-14 utility aircraft is in similar condition and does not have any wings. The AN-14 was developed in the 1950s and was able to take off and land on very short runways. The biggest aircraft on display is the Antonov An-24B Coke, a Soviet 44 seat twin turboprop transport. More then 300 AN-24s are still in service today.

The An-2 Colt can be equipped with ski’s shown below the aircraft

An-2

An old Aeroflot Antonov An-2 Colt the largest biplane in the world

An-2

Antonov An-14 utility aircraft build for very short runways

An-14

Antonov An-24B Coke, a Soviet 44 seat twin turboprop transport

An-24B

Sukhoi Yakovlev and Design Bureaus

The Riga Aviation Museum has two aircraft from both the Sukhoi and Yakovlev design bureaus. The Sukhoi Su-7BKL was developed to be able to land on soft runways. It was fitted with skis that would allow it to land on grass in case NATA would have destroyed many Soviet airfields. The Su-7U is a two seat trainer version of the Su-7 and was in use with the Russian Air Force until the late 1990s. The Yakovlev Yak-28R dedicated tactical reconnaissance aircraft developed at the end of the 1950s and in use with the Soviet Air Force until the end of the Soviet Union. The Yak-18T is an aerobatic utility aircraft that was used to train Aeroflot pilots.

Sukhoi Su-7BKL equipped with skids for rough field landing

Su-7BKL

Sukhoi Su-7U two seat training version used until the late 1990s

Su-7U

Yakovlev Yak-28R dedicated tactical reconnaissance aircraft

Yak-28R

Yak-18T aerobatic utility aircraft used to train Aeroflot pilots

Yak-18T

Tupolev Design Bureau

Four types of Tupolev aircraft are owned by the Riga Aviation Museum but none of them is easy to see from up close. The Tu-22M1 Backfire supersonic long range strategic bomber is parked behind the Musuem fence and cannot be clearly seen from inside the museum. The best view on the Tu-22M1 is actually from inside an aircraft on the airport runway. This is a shame since the enormous bomber is probably one of the most interesting exhibits of the museum. It could be that the Musuem manager will walk guest to the aircraft when requested. The front section of a Tupolev Tu-104A Camel is displayed at the edge of the museum ground together with some other aircraft noses. Aeroflot Tupolev Tu-134A Crusty passenger jet is parked on the airport apron bordering the museum. A Tupolev Tu-154B2 is parked besides the Tu-134, however, it is unclear of the Tu-154 belongs to the museum.

Tupolev Tu-22M1 Backfire supersonic long range strategic bomber

Tu-22M1

Front section of a Tupolev Tu-104A Camel at the museum ground

Tu-104A

Tupolev Tu-154B2 probably not owned by the Aviation museum

Tu-154B2

Tupolev Tu-134A Crusty passenger jet bought from Aeroflot

Tu-134A

Soviet Helicopter

Seven Soviet helicopters are displayed near the entrance of the Riga Aviation Museum. The Kamov Ka-26 Hoodlum is a very distinctive looking helicopter with its two rotor blades, interchangeable cabin and large jet engines. The Ka-26 displayed in Riga is the pilot training variant used by Aeroflot. The other helicopters are all from the Moscow Mil plant. The Mil Mi-1U Hare is a Soviet three seat light utility helicopter and is in a bad state. The Mil Mi-2 Hoplite, was a small lightly armoured transport helicopter produced exclusively in Poland by the WSK factory in Swidnik. The Mil Mi-4 Hound transport helicopter entered service in 1952 and was used in the Korean War.

Two pilot training variant of the Kamov Ka-26 Hoodlum helicopter

Ka-26

The Mil Mi-1U Hare, a Soviet three seat light utility helicopter

Mi-1U

The Mil Mi-2 Hoplite, small lightly armoured transport helicopter

Mi-2

Mil Mi-4 Hound transport helicopter that entered service in 1952

Mi-4

The Mil Mi-6 Hook heavy transport helicopter is undoubtedly the star of the Riga Aviation Museum. The Mi-6 entered production in the 1950s and almost a thousand were built for both military and civilian roles. The Mil Mi-8T transport helicopter can carry troops and also act as gunship with its rockers launchers. The Mil Mi-24A Hind combat helicopter gunship and troop Transporter is the predecessor of the famous Hind D gunship.

The Mil Mi-6 Hook heavy transport helicopter first flown in 1957

Mi-6

The enormous gearbox of the Mil Mi-6 is heavier then its engines

Mi-6

The Mil Mi-8T transport helicopter that can also act as a gunship

Mi-8T

Mil Mi-24A Hind combat helicopter gunship and troop transporters

Mi-24A

Various weapons and other exhibits

Many exhibits besides the aircraft are displayed on the museum terrain including bombs, missiles and rocket launchers. Five types of rockets launchers that can be fitted under MiG and Sukhoi fighters are lined up in a row. The types are (from left to right): B-8M1, UB-16 and UB-32 rocket launchers. The museum also has some rockets on display including a Raduga KRS-2 cruise missile from the 1960s. Other military items include a large selection of aircraft bombs and a mobile search light that was probably used on airbases.

Various sizes rockets pods that can be fitted under Soviet jets

Rocket pots

Collection of vintage Soviet aircraft bombs of various sizes

Aircraft bombs

The Soviet Raduga KSR-2 cruise missile entered service in 1962

Raduga KRS-2 missile

Search light probably used to protect a Soviet Air Force base

Search light

The terrain is packed with more interesting Soviet Air Force and civil aviation equipment including an L-13 Blanik glider built in Czechoslovakia. The L-13 is most numerous and widely used glider in the world and is also used by the United States Air Force. Other large exhibits are a mobile ground radar installation and a Jet Engine that is loaded on a truck. An eye catching exhibit is a machine that was used to train Air Force pilots to deal with G forces by spinning them around. Similar machines can be seen in old Soviet movies where Cosmonauts or pilots are trained for duty.

The L-13 Blanik is a Czech two seat glider designed in 1959

Let L-13 Blanik

Soviet era jet engine now displayed in the Riga Aviation museum

Jet Engine

Machine used to train air force pilots by spinning them around

Pilot training machine

A mobile ground radar installation from the Soviet Air Force

Ground radar

Soviet era airport trucks

The Riga Aviation Museum also owns some Soviet airport trucks parked in the museum terrain. Most impressive is the MAZ-543 AA-60 Aerodrome fire fighting vehicle developed in 1973. The MAZ-543 is build by the Minsk Automobile Plant in Belarus and also exists are Rocket Launching vehicle. Another truck from the MAZ plant is the MAZ-403 aircraft fuel truck formerly used by the Riga Airport. There are also two GAZ (Gorky Automobile Plant) trucks; a GAZ-66 command vehicle and a GAZ-42 truck that belonged to the Riga Airport authority.

MAZ-543 AA-60 Aerodrome fire fighting vehicle from Riga airport

Maz 543 AA-60

MAZ-403 aircraft fuel truck formerly used by the Riga Airport

Maz-403

Soviet era GAZ-66 truck now displayed in the Riga Aviation museum

Gaz-66

A Soviet GAZ-42 truck that belonged to the Riga Airport authority

Gaz-42

There are also two ZIL trucks a ZIL-140 and a ZIL-157 equipped with a mobile radar installation. There is also a Soviet era ZAZ-965 car in desperate need to be restored parked on the museum terrain.

ZIL-140 truck now a museum piece at the Riga Aviation Museum

Zil-140

ZIL-157 with a mobile radar installation and command centre

Zil-157

The Riga Aviation museum also has a collection of Soviet trucks

Soviet trucks

Soviet era ZAZ-965 car in desperate need to be restored

Zaz-965

Aircraft spotted on Riga airport

Not only the Aviation Museum but also Riga Airport itself is an excellent place to spot some Soviet made aircraft that are still in Service. Comtourist fly often with AirBaltic with a stopover in Riga. The airport is the home of a Raf Avia Antonov An-24b turboprop transport that we have seen on multiple occasions. Another aircraft from Raf Avia is An-74 Cargo plane. Also seen on Riga Airport are an Air Almaty Ilyushin Il-76TD cargo plane and a Latcharter Yakovlev Yak-42D small passenger Jet. So there are enough things to see in case you have a stop over in Riga.

Raf Avia Antonov An-24b turboprop transport Coke on Riga Airport

An-24B

Antonov An-74 owned by RAF Avia parked on Riga Airport

An-74

Air Almaty Ilyushin Il-76TD cargo plane taxiing on Riga airport

Il-76

LatCharter Yakovlev Yak-42D parked on the apron at Riga airport

Yak-42D

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