Visiting Russia's aviation museum in Monino

 A contest of noses: easy victory for the Tupolev Tu-144

A contest of noses: easy victory for the Tupolev Tu-144

Russia's Air Force museum at Monino is mainly about military aviation, well beyond the scope of this blog, nevertheless I felt the need to write about my recent visit, because it is, possibly, the best aviation museum that I have ever been to

The commercial aviation enthusiast will also find plenty to see and enjoy at Monino, as, amidst its truly astounding collection, there are also some amazing Soviet-era civilian aircraft.

The jewel of the crown is the Tupolev Tu-144, an old acquaintance of this blog, but, maybe because I had already seen the "Soviet Concorde" at the static display of the MAKS air show, I did not find it that amazed this time and found equally impraessive the old Aeroflot airliners rusting away on a corner of a field. 

 An Ilyushin Il-62, a Soviet-era long range airliner. Even today, there are still some in service with the Russian govenrment.

An Ilyushin Il-62, a Soviet-era long range airliner. Even today, there are still some in service with the Russian govenrment.

 Weather-bitten but Aeroflot colours still well visible on this Il-62

Weather-bitten but Aeroflot colours still well visible on this Il-62

 The Soviet flag that all Aeroflot aircraft used to sport

The Soviet flag that all Aeroflot aircraft used to sport

 A noseless Aeroflot Antonov An-24

A noseless Aeroflot Antonov An-24

 A Tupolev Tu-114 (foreground) and an Il-76 (background)

A Tupolev Tu-114 (foreground) and an Il-76 (background)

 A Tupolev Tu-114, still today the fastest propeller-driven aircraft. It was able to reach 880km/h.

A Tupolev Tu-114, still today the fastest propeller-driven aircraft. It was able to reach 880km/h.

 Soviet vintage

Soviet vintage

 The Tu-114 entered service with Aeroflot in the 1960s on routes such as Moscow-Tokyo (which operated in partnership with JAL). It was later replaced by the Il-62 on long range routes

The Tu-114 entered service with Aeroflot in the 1960s on routes such as Moscow-Tokyo (which operated in partnership with JAL). It was later replaced by the Il-62 on long range routes

 The Il-76 has been used in the Soviet Union, Russia and many other countries both  as a civilian airliner  and a military cargo aircraft.

The Il-76 has been used in the Soviet Union, Russia and many other countries both as a civilian airliner and a military cargo aircraft.

 A Yak-40

A Yak-40

 What's left of an Ilyushin Il-86 cockpit

What's left of an Ilyushin Il-86 cockpit

 An V-12, the largest helicopter ever built. Only a couple of prototypes were made. 

An V-12, the largest helicopter ever built. Only a couple of prototypes were made. 

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You will notice that the Aeroflot livery appears on a wide diversity of aircraft, from the supersonic Tu-144 airliner to the weird-looking V-12 heavy transport helicopter, this is because during Soviet times Aeroflot was not just an "airline" in the narrow sense of the word, but an air operator that took care of a broad range of tasks in support of the government of the Soviet Union. The static display at Monino reflects this fact.

For example, it also operated scientific research aircraft...

 A Myasischev M-17 Stratosfera, a high altitude research aircraft. One of the non-conventional tasks performed by the Soviet national airline.

A Myasischev M-17 Stratosfera, a high altitude research aircraft. One of the non-conventional tasks performed by the Soviet national airline.

...and its large fleet of helicopters performed multitude of civilian functions throughout the Soviet Union.

 A tiny, cute, helicopter, the Mil Mi-2 

A tiny, cute, helicopter, the Mil Mi-2 

 Again, the amazing lines of the Tu-144

Again, the amazing lines of the Tu-144

By the way, if you are interested in visiting the Monino Air Force Museum, you have better hurry up, since there are some well fundamented rumors that it is going to be closed down this summer in order to move some of the pieces to a new large memorial park nearer to the center of Moscow.

You have been warned!