Kunovice Air Museum – 2021 Update

A freshly restored MiG-21 fighter, new in the Kunovice museum collection in 2021.

Another Year of Smooth Flying

Long term followers of Pickled Wings will know I’m a big supporter of the Kunovice Air Museum in the south-east of the Czech Republic.

I try to visit it at least once a year and keep my existing article about it updated.

The turnaround the museum has made over the past decade or so from a languishing collection of faded aircraft to a very respectable facility has been nothing short of astounding and a true joy to witness.

Every year, they make new progress and there is always something new to see. I paid my 2021 visit to them on September 26. Here’s some of what was new:

A Yakovlev Yak-40 transport on loan from the Brno Technical Museum.

A Bridge to Brno

In 2020, the museum entered a partnership withthe Brno Technical museum.

The partnership allows for the loan of aircraft between the museums as well as access to restoration facilities between them.

In 2021, a late model MiG-21 fighter jet and a Yakovlev Yak-40 transport from the Brno Technical Museum were put on display in Kunovice in exchange for an early production model of a Let L-410 Turbolet from the Kunovice collection going on display in Brno.

Prior to the exchange, the MiG-21 and Let L-410 were cleaned up and restored. The Yak-40 was delivered directly from its retirement from the Czech air force to Kunovice.

A vintage airstairs vehicle donated to the museum by the airport in Pradubice.

A Stairway from Pardubice

A quite welcome addition to the Kunovice collection in 2021 was an airstairs vehicle donated by the airport in Pardubice, in the central part of the country.

The airstairs replace a rather shaky and less than aesthetic set of metal stairs that used to be in place to allow visitors to board the museum’s Avia Av-14 transport.

The new airstairs not only feel much more solid when climbing up and down, they also are exactly the sort of airstairs that would have been used with the Avia Av-14 when it was in service. As such, they improve the historic feel of the aircraft on display tremendously.

A selection of bombs, now secured to their display stand.

Little Things Mean a Lot

Not all changes are as visible as two full aircraft and an airport vehicle, sometimes you need to look to see some of the smaller changes.

Once such change is the museum’s move to secure a set of bombs used by aircraft of the Czechoslovak, and later Czech, air forces to their display stand with metal brackets and straps.

The museum has gone to much effort to restore the bombs over the years, so this move is certainly a prudent one in order to keep the bombs from being moved around, either accidentally or intentionally, by visitors.

A MiG-23 fighter that is planned to go on display in Kunovice in 2022. (photo: LOM Praha)

A Look to 2022

Even before the 2021 season is over for the museum, we are getting a hint of exciting developments.

In September of 2021, the museum signed and agreement with LOM Praha that will see a MiG-23 fighter currently on display at the LOM Praha offices in Prague loaned to the museum.

The plan is for museum personnel to dismantle the aircraft and transport it to Kunovice, where it will be repaired and restored in the off season and then put on display with the museum’s other MiG fighters in spring of 2022.

LOM Praha is an aircraft maintenance, overhaul and modernization company that also is involved in flight training.

Please follow this link to visit my existing article about the museum.

NATO Days, 2021

September 18 and 19 of 2021 saw the return of the annual NATO Days public exhibition at Ostrava, Czech Republic.

Due to COVID concerns, the 2020 edition of the event was not open to the public and was televised instead. While COVID concerns kept this year’s edition smaller than some in the past, it was great to be able to go out there again.

In the spirit of quality over quantity, the 2021 edition of the event saw some first time visitors in the form of a Lockheed F-35 Lightning II fighter, and Airbus A330 MRTT (Multi role Tanker Transport) and the DC-3 Dakota from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.

I attended on the Saturday. The weather was overcast most of the day and made photography a challenge. However, I got some decent images from the day. Here’s a look:

Oldtimer Weekend, 2021

The 2021 edition of the annual Oldtimer Weekend at Medlánky airport in Brno, Czech Republic took place on Saturday, September 11.

The Medlánky Aeroklub brought out some of their vintage gliders for a day of flying. Here’s a sample of the action: