1⁄1Polish Aviation Museum, Kraków - Part 3
"Between East and West”In the previous part of the report we visited the hangar with one of the oldest airplanes in the Museum collection. Now we head to the biggest hangar in the complex. For a very long time this was the one and only hangar of the Museum. Built before World War 2, it was used by the Air Force. On 1st September 1939 the building was bombed by the Luftwaffe and destroyed. Thankfully its structure was not irreparably damaged, and shortly after the war it was rebuilt. Today it accommodates the exposition entitled "Between East and West” where the Museum has gathered airplanes with very different origins, but which can be divided into three groups: Eastern and Western, between which are those constructed in Poland.
In front of the main entrance to the hangar stands a Polish LIM-1, a license-built MiG-15. What can we see then inside this hangar?
When we look up, we can admire a great collection of gliders suspended under the ceiling. Following this link you can find a whole line-up of the gliders in the Museum collection.
On the left-hand side stands a Zlin 50 in the colours of the Polish "Żelazny” Aerobatic Team. Next to it are three airplanes used for medical transportation purposes in Poland: an Aero L-60 Brigadyr, Aero AE-145 and LET L-100A Morava. Behind these machines, right under the wall, stand a few showcases with the "Aero-archaeology” (that's the title of this exposition) artefacts. You'll find there some remains of German armament, a windshield frame of an Fw-190, and remains of a British Avro Lancaster. There are also some fragments of a Russian Yak-9P, Ła-5 and Pe-2. All the artefacts were found at crash sites in southern Poland and are closely related to the sacrifice and death of the war-time missions. In the neighbouring showcases are propellers or mannequins in complete uniforms of jet pilots or parachute infantry.
The exposition on the right-hand side from the entrance is dedicated to the Polish post-war wings. First we can find a few ejection seats, mostly of Russian design. In the corner stand two early jets: a Yak-17W and Yak-23, of course with the white-red chequers painted on. Next in the line we see three helicopters: an SM-1(Mi-1), SM-2 and a Mi-2URP. When we go further down this path along the right wall we'll see the racks with different missiles and bombs. Don't worry, all these are disarmed. Some are even cutaway to show the interior mechanisms. The last aircraft in this line is SP-GIL, a Polish experimental helicopter with a very interesting design, one of the first helicopters designed after the WW2 (the construction team began work in 1946 with absolutely no experience and only a little knowledge).
Between these two exhibitions, right in the middle, stands an island of the five early Cold War airplanes. There are two trainers designed by eng.Tadeusz Sołtyk – the TS-9 Junak 3 and TS-8 Bies. Next to these two are a Yak-18 trainer and an M-4 Tarpan. Jets are represented here by a de Havilland Vampire of the Swiss Air Force.
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