In Poland there are two air museums with a large collection of aircraft. The Air Force Museum in Dęblin and the Polish Aviation Museum in Cracow. Museum in the capital of Malopolska is the most famous and most important on the aerial map of Poland.
The Krakow Museum was established in 1964 as the Aviation Equipment Exposition Center at the Cracow Aero Club. In subsequent years, the facility located in the former Kraków-Rakowice-Czyżyny Airport changed its name and status, but in 1971 it was renamed the Polish Aviation Museum.
A very large museum collects various aircraft for years, both those related to the history of Poland and those obtained from other museums for example from Sweden. Today the museum has over 200 different airplanes, helicopters and other aircraft, dozens of aircraft engines and a huge number of other exhibits.
Most important exhibits are undoubtedly the only survived PZL P.11 (with fully working engine – unfortunately during my visit machine was unavailable), PWS-26, MD-12F (during the visit undergoing repairs), DFW CV, EM-10 Bielik Grigorowicz M-15, RWD-13, JK-1 Bumblebee and many machines from the beginning of aviation. As well as the Polish museum, there were also machines used during the Cold War – many MiGs, Lim and Su, which together literally creates “MiG Alley”. In the collection there are many prototypes and atypical machines that have been created in Poland over the years.
The exhibition is divided into sections located in several hangars and the main building, as well as outdoor exhibitions. As far as the first one is in very good condition, outdoor exhibitions unfortunately clearly badly tolerates Cracow’s air. Some of the machines are undergoing repairs, but practically everything that stands outide is asking for better security. Some of the planes and helicopters are in very poor condition, as evidenced by the condition of their chassis or bent fragments of wings and tails (Belphegor obviously had to hit something with a tail). Some of the machines, although they look average on the outside, are well preserved inside and if you are lucky, you can visit them.
The main museum building, presented in 2010, is very impressive and interesting. There is a library, offices, cinema and conference rooms, as well as workshop and exhibition facilities. The remaining exhibitions are located in several hangars and former technical buildings, some of which clearly stand out from the main building.
Undoubtedly, the museum in Krakow is a must-see for any aviation fan. In the middle of the week, especially not in the holiday season, the traffic in the museum is very small, so you can easily read and photograph the whole exposition. For a good museum visit, it is worth spending 3-4 hours (or more, it depends on how thoroughly we get familiar with all descriptions, signs and collections).