The Riga Aviation Museum isn't what you'd call a mothball fleet, but mothballs certainly come to mind.
It is an amazing collection considering it was a lonely effort.
The museum is pretty much the effort of one individual to chronicle the history of aviation during the time that Latvia was part of the U.S.S.R.
According to the website, the founder and permanent director is Victor Talpa.
Who knows what will happen to the collection if he leaves. He gets no support from the Latvian state...
...but after the breakup of the Soviet Union, the Riga Airport provided space for the collection of Russian aircraft.
We were on a driving trip to explore the Baltic countries.... Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia.
always looks for aviation museums to visit when we travel, and Riga had
one according to our guidebook.
That line on Riga Aviation Museum website that said, "It's collection of Soviet aircraft is one of the largest in Europe..."
That got him going. We were beginning and ending our trip in Riga, so surely we'd be able to slip in a visit. Our amiable travel buddies obliged him by visiting with us.
The aircraft are in rough condition, and the museum is not as large as some, but if you have a couple of hours, it's interesting.
There were Yaks and a Tupolev that Mark went nuts over....
Some of the guide books say that the museum hours are irregular.
The tourist office told us that the hours were 9-5 daily.
I'd go with the irregular hours, but if you really want to visit stop by and give it a try. Don't give up when you see the gate closed and no signs of life.
It may look all closed up, but there is a buzzer at the entrance, and if you ring, you'll probably get in.
Patience now... It may take a few minutes.
We drove in.... and this guy who founded and runs the museum let us in. We parked in front of one of the helicopters.... a Mil Mi-4 (1952). It's one of the oldest there. You can just see the car behind it. That is right inside the gate.
Ask him if you can park there... he may not volunteer this option, but there isn't really good parking in the area otherwise.
One other option is that you could walk to the museum from the airport.
Mr. Talpa doesn't speak a lot of English, but enough to be helpful. He is proud of his aircraft, and he runs a Young Pilots Club. It was an interesting experience, and worth an hour or two if you have the time. Here's the website.... Riga Aviation Museum.
Find 'em, See 'em, Fly,'em! And have a great flight!
Judy and Mark
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