Riga Airport Latvia Soviet Aviation Museum
Many people go on a City Break to the attractive capital city of Riga in Latvia because of the cheap tickets available on budget airlines. Before you get on the bus or in a taxi to head into town go and visit the Riga Aviation Museum. It is next to the Airport building. As you come out of the main doors turn left and keep walking for about 250 yards. There is nothing like this in western Europe. This aviation museum is a unique collection of old cold war Soviet aircraft.
These were the planes feared by NATO. You just cannot see these aircraft in the west. The place is amazing. The idea behind the collection was to enable young pilots to familiarise themselves with the cockpits of different aircraft to compliment their flying lessons. It became a private museum in 1997 without any support from the Latvian state. It is normally open from 9 am to 6 pm. As the gate you have to ring the bell and wait as the staff are normally working on the aircraft so be patient. An entrance fee is charge and it goes towards looking after the exhibits and staff costs. The highlights of the museum include looking inside the biggest helicopter in the world the massive, the MI-6 Hook Soviet heavy transport helicopter. It even has small wings to help the giant jet engines whilst cruising. I enjoyed seeing the early jet fighters like the Korean and Vietnam War Mig-15 and Mig-21. Their basic design contrasted drastically with the more modern looking Mig-23, Mig-25 and Mig-29 flying Fulcrum. Another highlight was getting a glimpse of the once secret Soviet Union Tupolev Tu-22M Backfire supersonic, swing-wing, long-range strategic nuclear bomber.