One of the less known museums in Bangkok is the Royal Thai Air Force Museum. It can be found on Phahon Yothin Road which is on the eastern side of Don Muang Airport. I was in the area at the weekend visiting Rangsit Floating Market and so took the opportunity to drop in on this museum. It is a great place to come for anyone with an interest in aviation. Not all of the air planes are Thai made and they have some surviving aircraft from all around the world.
The history of aviation in Thailand dates back to 6th February 1911 when Mr. Charles Van Den Born, a Belgian pilot, made the first demonstration flight in Bangkok. Three Thai officers were then selected to receive training in France. While they were there, the Thai Government ordered eight aircraft. After their graduation, the airmen and aircraft returned to Thailand in late 1913. On 29th December the first public test flight took place with Thai pilots. The aircraft in this picture dates back to the 1930’s and is a Curtiss Hawk III, believed to be the only surviving one in the world.
The Royal Thai Air Force museum was set up in 1952 with the purpose of collecting and restoring defense articles of different periods including equipment and aircraft in use during the early period of Thai aviation history up to the present. The RTAF museum was first located at a hangar west of Don Muang airfield and was not opened to the public until 27th March 1959. The present museum was constructed in 1968 at a total cost of 6,635,000 Baht. The museum was officially opened to the public on 24th January 1969.
The exhibits at the Royal Thai Air Force museum feature many types of aircraft rarely found anywhere else in the world. Many of them were in service during the war and played a vital role in the safeguarding of Thailand’s independence. The numerous victory Medals awarded to the RTAF pilots attest to the bravery of the Thai pilots. The Royal Thai Air Force has tried to develop the museum to ensure that it has a complete historical record of the Royal Thai Air Force. In addition to the aircraft on display, there are also armaments and various uniforms.
The Royal Thai Air Force museum is open every day from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. except on national holidays. Entrance is free. On the premises there is also a shop selling souvenirs to do with aviation. The following is a map showing the location of the Royal Thai Air Force Museum in Bangkok:
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How to get there:
Buses no. 34, 39, 114, 356
Air Conditioned Buses no. 3, 21, 22, 25, 34, 39, 114, 356