This is just a short post to bring your attention to a news article that recently appeared in the English language section of the Radio Prague news website.
The article contains an interview with Tom Doležal, the founder of the Free Czechoslovak Air Force website and expert on matters of Czech and Slovak participation in the Royal Air Force during WWII.
In the interview, Mr. Doležal recounts how his father and a number of other former Czechoslovak RAF pilots carried out the world’s first triple hijacking in order to defect from post 1948 Communist Czechoslovakia.
The Communist government was very fearful of the former RAF men, as they had been exposed to western influences, and went to great lengths to marginalize them from society and erase them from the history books:
In early October of 2017, I posted an update about a generous expansion of land granted to the Kunovice Air Museum by the local town council in order to help them accomodate the Tupolev Tu-154 they had taken on in 2016.
Very recently, I received an email from the museum outlining further assistance that the local council has given them and progress they are making in preparing to move the Tu-154 to its reserved place in the museum collection.
As the October update is still on the main page of this blog, you can scroll down to compare it to this update.
Here is the content of the most recent email to me from the museum translated into English:
A short flight or a final transfer to the museum
Dear Friends of the Great Flight,
We are pleased to let you and your readers know that we have fulfilled another
commitment with money given to the project by Great Flight Starters through Startovac.cz. That was the building of reinforced concrete platforms for TU-154M (OK-BYZ) “Nagano Express”. A distinctive change from the original plan is the final placement of the “Nagano Express”.
Kunovice town council proposed and approved a larger extension of the area of the museum than we originally announced and is also involved in the ongoing repair and extension of fencing.
Head of the Kunovice Aviation Museum, Martin Hrabec, praises cooperation with the municipality:
“This will make ‘Nagano Express’ stand in a much more spacious and dignified place, and allow us to reposition other exhibits. We greatly thank Kunovice town council for this decision.”
The first phase of the “Nagano Express” assembly is in its final stages and at the same time preparations are culminating for the final move to an honorable place in the museum.
Martin Hrabec continues:
“So far, we have been waiting in vain for the ground at the museum to freeze hard enough to bear the weight of a 40-tonne airplane. Even though the weather is not cooperating, we set the deadline for the first attempt to move on the weekend of 25. 2. 2018. ”
The final transfer will again be carried out by the Universal Transport team from Prague, under the direction of Martin Ludvík, who carried out the transport of the airplane from Prague – Kbely to Kunovice in autumn of 2016.
So keep your fingers crossed for at least a week of bigger frosts ;-). We will keep you informed of further developments.
Thank you very much for all your support and help so far. We will be happy when you share this information with your readers.
Great Flight Crew
Other Museum Developments
While the museum’s expansion and great support from the local council are indeed very exciting and heartening news, they are certainly not the only things going on at the museum in the off season.
The museum, in conjunction with the Slovácký Aeroklub, are giving a much needed facelift to one of the museum’s three Aero L-29 Delfín trainer aircraft.
When finished, the aircraft will be presented in the colours of the former Czechoslovak air force’s 2 Flying School Regiment that flew from Košice in eastern Slovakia.
If you wish to see what the new look of the L-29 will be, keep apprised of developments in the moving of the Tu-154 or see what the museum does with their expanded land, the following links to the museum’s website and Facebook pages are the places to go:
I very recently received an email from the Kunovice Air Museum with some very exciting news to see out the 2017 season and give good reason to eagerly anticipate the start of the 2018 season.
As regular followers of Pickled Wings will know, the museum took on a former Czech air force Tupolev Tu-154 in 2016 for restoration and eventual display. Not only did the museum set a national record for the most successful crowd funding project in the country to date in order to achieve the goal of moving the aircraft by road from Prague to Kunovice, they also received some very generous help from the Kunovice town council.
The help from the town council includes the expansion of the museum land in order to accomodate the Tu-154 in close proximity to the rest of the museum’s collection.
Here, I provide for you an English translation of the content of the email I received from the museum:
The Kunovice town council has prepared and approved the extension of the land of the Kunovice Air Museum.
We are pleased to inform you and your readers about the fact that the Kunovice town council, headed by Mayor Ivana Majíčková, has prepared and approved the extension of the museum’s land. This will not only save us a lot of work, but it will also allow for a more appropriate exposure of our new eagerly awaited exhibit, the Tupolev TU-154M, and free up space for other exhibits.
Image: Proposed design of the presumed location of the TU-154M in the extended area of the museum. (image credit: Kunovice Air Museum)
Apart from the extension of the land, the town of Kunovice also offered help with the preparation of the area for the Nagano Express. Thanks to this, the aircraft will have a dignified place in the Kunovice Aircraft Museum.
Museum Head, Martin Hrabec, said:
“This unexpected and generous offer was a very pleasant surprise for our team and we are very happy about it. Immediately we started to prepare everything needed to build a paved spot at a new location so we did not incur a significant time deficit and have been able to prepare a place for the airplane before it starts to freeze. The primary goal is to keep to the planned airplane movement which is scheduled for the beginning of next year, when we assume that the soil will be sufficiently frozen.”
Moving the Tupolev will be followed by the finishing work on the airplane and its surroundings, so that it can be publically unveiled and made available for viewing in the 2018 season.
For all the latest updates of museum activities, you can visit the museum’s web page: