Brno Technical Museum

A Zlín Z-526 prominently displayed in the museum's main atrium
A Zlín Z-526 prominently displayed in the museum’s main atrium

A Big Part of a Bigger Whole

The Brno Technical Museum, in the Czech Republic’s second largest city, is a large collection of exhibits highlighting the rich scientific and technical history of the Czech lands. Beyond the museum’s main facility in the northern suburbs of Brno, several technical sites throughout the South Moravian region of the Czech Republic come under the museum’s authority.

Czechs have been contributing to aviation almost since the dawn of powered flight so it’s only fitting that the museum should give part of its floor space to the science of flight. Aviation exhibits are scattered around the museum’s main facility; though visitors will no doubt first have their eyes caught by the Zlín acrobatic aircraft suspended in the museum’s atrium, here’s a brief overview of what else on display in the way of aviation.

A selection of aircraft engines on display.
A selection of aircraft engines on display.

The Power to Fly

The ground floor of the museum is largely focused on engines of various types; as such, it’s quite appropriate to find the museum’s impressive collection of aircraft engines on this level as well.

This exhibit shows a range of aircraft engines that spans the early piston engine era through to modern jet and turboprop engines. Taking in the evolutionary stages of the various engine types is quite fascinating.

Most of the engines are presented in cut away format to show their inner workings. Also on display is a damaged Rolls Royce Merlin engine which was recovered from a post war crash site of a Czechoslovak air force Spitfire fighter.

Outside of the main engine exhibit, on the stairs between the first and second floors, you’ll find a Walter Minor piston engine. This famous domestically designed and produced engine serves as the power source for many members of the Zlín Tréner series of aircraft, exemplified by the Z-526 suspended from the museum’s ceiling.

A display of ejection seats from different eras.
A display of ejection seats from different eras.

Bits and Pieces

A trip up to the second floor of the museum will bring you up close to a preserved Aero HC-102, a domestically produced helicopter of the 1950s, suspended from the ceiling.

Also on the second floor, you will find a display of ejections seats which have been used in various training and fighter aircraft of the Czech military through the years. The collection includes seats taken from Mikoyan-Gurevich and Sukhoi combat aircraft as well as Czech produced Aero L-29 and L-39 training jets.

Opposite the ejection seats is a glass memorial wall with the names of Czech airmen who served in the Second World War etched on it. It is most certainly worth spending a few moment moments to take in the names, and often very young ages, of the men inscribed on the wall.

This Aero S-105, the Czechoslovak license built version of the MiG-19, is one of the aircraft in the outdoor display.

A Trip Outside 

Exiting the museum through the back door on the main floor will give you access to a small group of preserved aircraft with important ties to the civilian and military aviation history of the Czech lands.

I do recommend exercising a bit of care if you choose to take a close look under the aircraft. While there is nothing to keep you from exploring the aircraft so closely, there are few if any warning signs in regards to sharp surfaces like landing gear door edges and so forth.

All the aircraft do show greater and lesser degrees of wear for being kept unprotected outdoors year round. I do hope that the museum will, at some point in the future, put some sort of at least semi-permanent shelter over them.

Happily, in 2020, the Brno Technical Museum entered a partnership with the Kunovice Air Museum that allows for the loaning of aircraft and access of restoration facilities between the museums that will work to the benefit of both.

Much More than Aircraft

There is a great deal more to see at the Brno Technical Museum than just the aircraft exhibits. Czech contributions to science and technology through the ages have been diverse and significant and are deserving of appreciation; this museum is a very good place to learn something of those contributions.

The museum is easily accessible by Brno public transportation and should not be missed if you are at all technically inclined and visiting the city.

Please follow this link to my fuller write up of the museum on my other blog and a link to the museum’s web page.

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