Polish Air Force Museum Krakow
Krakow is a beautiful city well worth a visit for many reasons. The Polish Aviation Museum is one good reason to go to Krakow, it has a very large collection of Soviet made aircraft that are very well maintained. The museum is easy to reach from the city and has a complete collection displayed both in various hangars and outside. Some of the highlights are an Il-28, MiG-29, Tu-2 plus many Polish aircraft from the Cold War era.
17 Jana Pawla II Street
Mon - Fri 09:00 - 17:00 Sat - Sun 10:00 - 16:00
The Polish Air Force Musuem is easy to find, it takes 20 minutes to get there by tram from the Krakow city centre. Take tram 4 from the city centre and get out at the Wieczysta stop. Walk another 500 meters in the direction where the tram is heading and go left near the museum road sign made from an airplane wing. The museum exists of a main building with a shop, restaurant and exposition area three buildings each with a different theme including a Cold War exposition and an outdoor exposition where a large aircraft collection is displayed... A comprehensive guidebook whit many of the displayed aircraft listed can be brought in the museum shop together with many other aviation books.
Mikoyan Gurevich Design Bureau
The Polish Aviation Museum owns a large number of military aircraft from the Mikoyan Gurevich Design Bureau. The MiGs are lined up in a long row on the back of the museum terrain. The MiG-15UTI Midget is a two seat dual control trainer. The MiG-19PM is a second generation, single-seat, twin jet-engined fighter aircraft armed with 4 Kaliningrad K-5M beam riding missiles. The MiG-21 is the most produced combat aircraft since the Korean War, and it had the longest production run of a combat aircraft, from 1959 to 1985. The Polish aviation museum has 14 MiG-21 fighters on display including many different variants. The MiG-21bis (Nr 9204) represents the ultimate development of this famous Soviet fighter, the MiG-21F-13 (Nr 809) was the first MiG-21 model to be produced in large numbers and the MiG-21MF (Nr 9107) was equipped with RP-22 radar and R13-300 turbojet engine.
A second MiG-21MF (Nr 6504) is on display equipped with RP-22 radar and R13-300 turbojet engine. The MiG-21M (Nr 2003) is a third generation MiG-21 with RP-21MA radar. The Museum owns two Mig-21PF all-weather interceptors (Nr 1901 and 2004) powered by the R11F2-300 turbojet engine. The MiG-21PFM (Nr 4205) was produced since 1968.
There is another MiG-21PFM (Nr 01) on display, the PFM is a second generation MiG-21 with RP-21M radar. The MiG-21R (Nr 1125) was produced between 1966 and 1971 and is marked with the emblem of the Polish 32nd tactical reconnaissance regiment. Three MiG-21 aircraft are two seat trainer versions; the MiG-21U (Nr 1217) is the training version of the MiG-21F-13, the MiG-21UM (Nr 9349) is the training version of the MiG-21MF and the MiG-21US (Nr 4401) is an upgraded version of the MiG-21U.
In addition to the MiG-21 variants on display is there also a cut open nose of a MiG-21 where visitors can look inside the aircraft. The front view shows the area where the radar system was located with the sockets for the electronics. The rear view reveals how engine parts are cramped around air inlets. The next generation Mikoyan Gurevich fighter on display is the MiG-23MF used by the Polish Air Force between 1979 and 1996. The most modern military aircraft is the Polish Air Force Mikoyan MiG-29UB Fulcrum-B jet trainer that served under NATO command before donated to the museum.
WSK PZL-Mielec fighters
Next to Mikoyan Gurevich is the Polish WSK PZL-Mielec factory broadly represented in the Polish Aviation Museum. WSK produced a large variety of fighters during Communist times including licence build Mikoyan Gurevich aircraft. The Lim-1 is a licensed build MiG-15, the Lim-2 is a MiG-15bis, the Lim-5 is a MiG-17 and the Lim-5R is a MiG-17F. The Lim-6BIS is a variant on the Lim-5 that was in service in the Polish Air Force until the 1980s.
The WSK Lim-6M with a distinctive looking nose in another Polish variant of the Soviet MiG-17. The Lim-6MR Reconnaissance aircraft a conversion of the Lim-5P. The SBLim-2 and SBLim-2A are two seat training versions of the Lim-2 comparable with the MiG-15UTI. The Polish Aviation Museum has four variants of the PZL TS-11 Iskra a jet trainer that is still in service in the Polish Air Force. The TS-11 was developed for the competition to become the principle jet trainer of the Warsaw Pact Air Forces but was beaten by the Czechoslovak L-29 Delfin. The PZL TS-11 Iskra bis has four pylons to carry various weapon systems.
The TS-11 Iskra bis DF was a reconnaissance plane in service from 1974. The TS-11 Iskra MR is used by the Polish Bia?o Czerwone Iskry aerobatics team. The TS-11 Iskra R is a naval reconnaissance plane with RDS-81 radar system. The PZL-Mielec I-22 Iryda M-93K was developed as the successor of the TS-11 Iskra in1992, however, the project was cancelled due to lack of funding. The EM-10 Bielik is slick looking Polish military training aircraft prototype that first flown in 2003. The single engine aircraft had a composite fuselage with a light alloy aft section.
Sukhoi, Yakovlev and Ilyushin Design Bureaus
The Sukhoi, Yakovlev and Ilyushin Design Bureaus are also well represented at the Polish Aviation Museum. Four Sukhoi Su-7 Fitter-A swept wing, supersonic fighter aircraft are displayed at the museum. Two Su-7 aircraft without clear markings are parked on the back end of the museum terrain. The Su-7BM was capable of carrying tactical nuclear bombs. The Su-7UM is the two seat training version of the Su-7BM. The Su-20R Fitter-C attack aircraft of the Polish Air Force is an export version of the Su-17M.
The Su-22 is another export version of the Su-17 exported to communist and Middle Eastern air forces. The Polish Aviation Museum own three Su-22 aircraft that were in service with the Polish Air Force. The Su-22M4 was the final production version of the Su-22. The Su-22UM3K was the export trainer with AL-21 engine produced between 1978 and 1982. The Sukhoi Su-22M4K on display has the markings of the Polish Air Force 7th Tactical Squadron. The Yakovlev Yak-12 Creek is a light multirole STOL aircraft used by the Soviet Air Force, Soviet civilian aviation and other countries from 1947 onwards. The Yak-17UTI was the Soviets most produced and used early jet trainer introduced just after World War II in 1948.
The Yak-23 Flora was the first jet fighter of the Polish Air Force introduced in 1949 and retired in 1956. The Yak-40 is a small transport aircraft, the museum aircraft was used by the Polish Air Force to transport Polish Communist Party officials. Simular government Yak-40 jets were still present on Warsaw airport in 2011 it is not very likely that high government officials are still using this planes after the crash with the government Tu-154 in 2010 that killed president Lech Kaczynski. The three seat tactical reconnaissance Ilyushin Il-28R Mascot was used by the Polish Air Force from the late 1940s. The Ilyushin Il-28U Mascot was deployed as jet bomber trainer. The Ilyushin Il-14S was developed as a replacement for the DC-3 and its Soviet built version, the Lisunov Li-2. The museum Il-14 was used by the Polish Air Force as transport aircraft.
WSK, Antonov and Tupolev Transport aircraft
Antonov and Tupolev were the main manufacturers of transport aircraft and passengers aircraft in the Warsaw Pact region. The Polish WSK PZL-Mielec plant also tried to produce a propeller passenger aircraft called the MD-12. Only three prototypes were built when LOT decided not to buy the aircraft. The WSK MD-12F from the Polish Aviation Museum was an aerial photography variant, fitted with cameras and other equipment, including a darkroom. The fuselage nose was glazed, with a navigator post. The museum also displays a Tupolev Tu-134A Crusty win-engine airliner that was operated by LOT. Antonov is represented by two aircraft; a An-2 in bad condition without wings and a Polish Air Force An-26 turboprop military transport aircraft.
Polish and Soviet aircraft of World War II
The Polish Aviation museum owns a large collection of World War II aircraft. The advanced Polish PZL P.11 fighter is the only surviving aircraft of this type and is the pride of the museum collection. The PZL P.11 was designed in the early 1930s and was ahead of its time. The Yakovlev Yak-11 Moose trainer was used after the war and the first aircraft of the museum. The museum has two Yak-18 trainers that were used by the Polish Air Force just directly after the war. The Avia B-33 is a Czech license build Ilyushin Il-10 ground attack aircraft in excellent condition.
The Lisunov Li-2 Cab displayed outside is a license-built version of the Douglas DC-3. The Li-2 was in dire condition when we visited the museum in 2003 but was fully restored in 2011, credits to the excellent work of the museum! The Polikarpov Po-2NLB is a night bomber is painted for the markings of 2nd Night Bombing Regiment "Krakow" in 1945. This Polish regiment was formed by Soviet Union and it had some Polish aviators involved. Another great looking aircraft is the Tupolev Tu-2S Bat; a high speed Soviet daylight bomber. The PWS-26 was a Polish advanced training aircraft, used from 1937 to 1939 by the Polish Air Force. The LWD TS-9 Junak 3 is a Polish trainer aircraft used from 1952 to 1961.
Polish aviation history
Many aircraft that were important for the Polish aviation history are part of the collection of the Polish Aviation Museum. One prominently displayed aircraft is the Pieniazek Kukulka of Eugene Lazowski a Polish doctor who saved thousands of Jews during the Holocaust by creating a fake epidemic. The RWD-13 was a Polish touring plane developed in 1935 by the RWD aircraft construction bureau. Around 100 planes were built, the RWD-13 was the biggest commercial success of the RWD. Polish RWD-21 is a two seat touring and sports planes of the late 1930s, only six were build. The LWD Zuraw was a Polish utility and liaison aircraft prototype of 1951 it never entered production. The Zlin Z-26 Trener is a trainer produced by the Czechoslovakian Moravan company from 1949.
The PZL TS-8 Bies was a Polish trainer aircraft used from 1957 to 1970. Three Czechoslovakian aircrafts displayed at the Polish Aviation Museum served as air ambulances for remote Polish areas. The Let L-200 Morava air ambulance was build in Kunovice during the 1960s. The great looking Aero Ae-145 was produced between 1959 and 1963 and 162 aircraft were built. The Aero L-60 Brigadyr was STOL utility aircraft was produced from 1954. The PZL M-4 Tarpan was a Polish trainer and sports aircraft prototype of the 1960s, only three prototypes of this aircraft were ever built.
The PZL-105 Flaming is a Polish short takeoff and landing (STOL) utility aircraft designed by PZL "Warszawa-Ok?cie". Two prototypes were build; the PZL-105L and the PZL-105M both displayed at the Polish Air Force Museum. The Polish PZL-106 Kruk is a crop spraying aircraft produced since 1976. The PZL-130 Orlik is a turboprop trainer used by the Polish navy. The Polish built Mielec M-15 Belphegor was the only jet biplane that ever existed in the world. It was technically flawed and never produced in any significant numbers. The museum M-15 was never picked up by the buyer and brought straight to the museum.
Many of the Soviet Mil helicopters were license build in Poland, some models were even exclusively build by the WSK PZL plant. The WSK SM-1 is a incensed Mil Mi-1 build in Poland. The WSK-Swidnik SM-2 is a Polish five-seater general purpose helicopter developed from the WSK-Swidnik SM-1W. Three Mil Mi-2FM Hoplite helicopter of the Polish army armed with 57 mm rockets and a 23 mm cannon are lined up on the exposition field. The Mi-2 was produced exclusively in Poland, in the WSK PZL Swidnik factory in Swidnik. Production ended in 1985 after about 7,200 were made. The Mil Mi-2URPP gunship helicopter displayed in one of the hangars is armed with 23mm NS-23 gun. A Mil Mi-2URPP is configured as a chemical reconnaissance smokescreen layer helicopter.
The PZL Swidnik Mi-2 cropduster with an outside container for the pesticides used for agricultural purpose. The museum owns two versions of the Mil Mi-4 Hound, the Mil Mi-4A transport helicopter was used to transport Polish VIP’s. The Mi-4ME is an antisubmarine helicopter used by the Polish navy. The Mil Mi-8S Hip helicopter was used to transport VIPS and Communist party bosses. The Polish SP-GIL GIL helicopter was build as prototype and never entered production.
The Polish Aviation Museum owns a large collection of gliders mainly hanging on the ceiling inside the main hangar. Most of these gliders were build by the famous Szybowcowy Zaklad Doswiadczalny (SZD) factory now named PZL-Bielsko. The Swift S-1 is a single seat aerobatic glider manufactured in Poland since 1991. The SZD-6Z Nietoperz was an experimental glider aircraft built in 1951. The SZD-8bis Jaskolka is a training two seater glider build in Bielsko-Biala from 1952. The SZD-9bis Bocian 1A was a glider build for aero clubs from 1952. The SZD-10bis Czapla was a Polish glider of which 19 aircraft were build.
The SZD-15 Sroka glider was build as training aircraft for the Polish army from 1955. The SZD-17X Jaskolka was a high performance competition glider that set many records. The SZD-18 Czajka was designed for Soldiers Friends League in Poland. The SZD-19 2A Zefir 2A build specifically build for the 1958 glider championships. The SZD-22C Mucha Standard is a single seat aerobatic glider.
The SZD-27 Kormoran was designed for Polish aeroclubs in 1965, only two were ever built. The IS-B Komar glider was designed and built in Poland from 1947. The SZD-C Zuraw was a training and aerobatic glider built from 1952. The Janowski J-3 Orzel (Eagle) is a motor glider build in Poland. The HWL Pegaz was the first Polish post-war motor glider.
The majority of the aircraft of the Polish Aviation Museum are from Soviet, Polish and Czechoslovakia make bud there are also some Western aircraft on display. Highlight from the World War I era are the German Albatros B.II unarmed reconnaissance biplane and the Halberstadt CL.II two seat fighter aircraft. The Hawker Harrier GR.3 was the fist generation aircraft of the Harrier series. An American Cessna A-37B Dragonfly was captured by the North Vietnamese army during the Vietnam War and send to Poland for research purpose. The Republic F-84F Thunderstreak is an American swept wing turbojet fighter-bomber.
The Ling-Temco-Vought A-7 Corsair II is an American carrier-based attack aircraft. The Swedish SAAB AJSF 37 Viggen fighter and is an attack aircraft produced between 1970 and 1990. The Sepecat Jaguar GR1 is an Anglo French jet ground attack aircraft used by the British and French Air Forces. The French built Mirage 5BA was from the Belgium Air Force. The museum also owns a Northrop F-5E Tiger II that was captured by the North Vietnamese troops and send to Poland for technical research at the Polish Air Force Technical Institute in 1975.
Soviet and Polish aircraft engines
A whole museum building is dedicated to aircraft engines from various countries, technologies and periods. The Shvetsov ASh-62 is radial aircraft engine used for the An-2 and Li-2 propeller aircraft. The Mikulin AM-38F is a 1940s piston engine used in Il-2 and Il-10 aircraft. The Ivchenko-Progress AI-25 is a twin-shaft medium bypass turbofan engine powering the Yakovlev Yak-40 and Aero L-39 Albatros. The Limo VK-1 is Soviet jet engine build for the MiG-15 and MiG-17 jet fighters. The Lyulka AL-7F is a turbojet engine used in the heavy Sukhoi Su-7 and Tupolev Tu-28 fighters.
The Tumansky R-13F2-300 is a turbojet engine powering various Sukhoi and MiG fighter aircraft. The Tumansky RD-9 was the first Soviet developed turbojet engine powering the Yak-25 and MiG-19 from 1953. The Tumansky RD-10 turbojet engine was used for Su-9 and other fighters. The are also some rocket engines displayed including the Isayev 8D511 engine of the R-11 Scud-B tactical ballistic missile and the Isayev 9D21 engine powering the R-17 Scud-B missile.
A whole variety of jet aircraft exhibits are displayed in the Polish Aviation Museum besides the many aircraft. These include a series of Soviet ejection seats like the KM-1 used in the MiG-21 and the KK-2 used in MiG-17 and MiG-19. The museum also has a special KM-1 ejection seat simulator for training purposes. A Soviet pilot suit with helmet an life jacket from the 1980s is displayed at the Cold War exhibition. A Wuk-90 g-suit for MiG-29 pilots enables flight above 12.000 M.
Anti Aircraft systems
A small section of the museum terrain between two buildings is dedicated to Soviet Anti Aircraft systems. The S-75 Dvina with NATO name SA-2 Guideline was a widely deployed Soviet surface-to-air guided missile system. This system first gained fame when an S-75 battery shot down the U-2 of Gary Powers over flying the Soviet Union in 1960. The S-75M Volkhov was an improved surface-to-air missile system with a V-750M missile. The Isayev S-125 Neva (NATO reporting name SA-3 Goa) surface-to-air missile system was designed to complement the S-75. It has a shorter range is more effective against more manoeuvrable targets. The 1S91 Straight Flush fire control radar was used for SAM missile system like the S-75 and the S-125. The RSN-75M Fan Song C served as battery command post for the SAM missile fire control team.
A WPS-10 radar display manufactured by East German firm Avia-D/Koren can be seen in the Cold War exhibition of the Polish Aviation Museum. Various SAM missiles and missile containers are stored on the museum terrain. The S-75 Dvina is a Soviet-designed high-altitude command guided SAM missile. S-125 Pechora storage container were used to safely store the SA-3 Goa SAM missiles. A GAZ-51 the most produced and best known truck of the USSR is also worth mentioning.
The Polish Aircraft Museum also has some Soviet Field guns and AA guns from World War II displayed on the terrain. The D-1 Model 1943 is a 152.4 mm howitzer, the ZiS-2 M1943 is 57 mm anti-tank gun and the ZiS-3 M1942 is a 76 mm divisional gun. The M1938 (M-30) is a 121.92 mm howitzer and the M1939 (52-K) is a 85 mm air defence gun.