Wednesday, March 31, 2021
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Latvian Aircraft Museum Threatened to Close – Our Lives – Parties

The threat of closure threatens a private museum in Latvia owned by a former aeronautical engineer, in which dozens of Soviet-era aircraft are displayed, which he collected over half a century.

The museum, which was attracting thousands of visitors a month before the pandemic, will have to move from its current location at the end of this month to make way for the expansion of Riga airport, as its owner Victor Talbas told «AFP».

“I must move my museum or I will face its destruction,” added Talbas, a Ukrainian-born who served in the Black Sea Fleet during the Soviet era before moving to Latvia.

The 82-year-old, looking at the rusted aircraft that were among the Soviet Union’s military and civilian fleets, explained that he had taken the initiative to gather this group “for the benefit of society” and not for his own benefit. “I have no other place to go,” he said.

The aeronautical engineer, who also worked for years at Aeroflot, expanded his group after his retirement, through donations, purchases and exchanges.

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Most of the aircraft date back to the Cold War era, including, for example, a MiG-21 fighter plane, a Mi-6 combat helicopter, and a Tupolev Tu-22M1 training plane.

Also, the group contains deactivated Russian anti-aircraft missiles, Polish, Czech and Ukrainian civilian aircraft, as well as remnants of WWII aircraft.

The planes are sitting on land belonging to the airport that has been allocated by the expansion project to create a new hangar and control tower. From the wall of the museum, contemporary passenger and cargo planes of the Latvian airline, Air Baltic, can be seen. The museum has suffered a decrease in the number of visitors due to the epidemic, but Talbas noticed that people are returning because measures to contain the pandemic now allow visits to existing facilities in the open air.

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