Indian Air Force Museum showcases wide variety of aircraft from Wapiti to Spitfire, Toofani to MiGs
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By Paul Jansen
in New Delhi, India
If you are visiting the Indian capital of New Delhi, try to make a stop at the country’s Air Force Museum in the suburbs and about a half hour from the Indira Gandhi International Airport.
Located within the sprawling Palam Air Force Station, it is open from 10am to 5 pm from Wednesday to Sunday, except for public holidays. Entrance is free and all the exhibits have English language signs.
Individual buildings house galleries of photographs, showcases of artifacts, and models of aircraft used by Indian squadrons. Look out for the MiG-23 control column incorporating a “knuckle beater” which rapped the pilot’s fingers when the plane’s angle of attack reached dangerous levels.
But the real attraction is the cavernous hanger in which a variety of aircraft are arrayed, from the Supermarine Spitfire and Hawker Hurricane to the MiG 23 and Vampire. An unusual addition, because it was never a part of the Indian Air Force, is a Japanese Ohka (Cherry Blossom) single-seater aircraft with basic flight controls and no undercarriage. It was a flying bomb commanded by kamikaze pilots. This one is believed to have been brought back from Japan by Indian troops posted there after the unconditional surrender by the Japanese government.
In two areas outside the hangar are more aircraft, including a Liberator B24J, Canberra, Polish Iskras, and more MiGs.
The aircraft, inside and outside, have an inevitable layer of dust, and the museum could do with some audiovisual sections, such as recordings of interviews with pilots and aircraft designers, and videos of early flights. Nonetheless, lovers of early model military planes would enjoy a Palam outing.
For more on the museum, click here.
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