Thursday, June 2, 2011

Visit Budapest Aviation Museum

Author: Jeff Halter

Never heard of the Budapest Aviation Museum? Maybe you\'re not an airplane nut, but we love taking time away from art museums and churches to have fun with our hobbies when we travel, so we\'ll tell you about it anyway.

When we went looking for the Budapest Aviation Museum, we headed straight for the Transportation Museum... that sort of seemed logical. The Aviation Museum is part of the Kozlekedsi Transportation Museum, but it\'s located in a separate building, Petofi Csarnok (Petofi Hall), a couple of hundred yards into the Varosliget Park where the Transportation Museum is located.

My hubby loves to see all types of historical aircraft, and he couldn\'t pass up a chance to see some planes that you just can\'t see at home. The Budapest Aviation Museum displays a lot of both Hungarian and foreign aircraft... from antique airplanes to gliders and helicopters... along with a display of engines and other aviation related equipment.

This permanent exhibition about the history of flight includes a Junkers F-13, the first airplane in the world with metal frame-work.... how\'s that for a vintage airplane! That was the signature plane that really sent us looking for the museum. There are mostly civilian planes on display, though you will see a Yak-18 and the space capsule of the first Hungarian cosmonaut.

Other planes of note are the Hansa-Brandenburg B.1. It was an unarmed military reconnaissance bi-plane of World War I; one of the earliest designs of Ernst Heinkel of World War II fame.

Another World War I vintage airplane is a Hungarian Lloyd Prototype 40.01 (1914). This clumsy looking biplane set altitude records on her first day of flight... 4,120 meters with two passengers. We\'re talking 4,120 meters here (13,517 feet)! And it reached 6,170 M (20,243) just a few days later. I don\'t know about you, but I find that impressive for 1914!

A Repulogepgyar Levente II (1942-43) on display was a Hungarian two seat trainer and liaison aircraft from World War II.

Varosliget or City Park is a fairly large public park. It is easily reached by a historic Metro subway from the city center. The tram ride itself is to partake in transportation history... It\'s the second oldest underground Metro system in the world, built between 1894 and 1896. The original purpose of this first metro line was to carry passengers from town to the Budapest City Park. How lucky for us!

That Metro Line 1 was itself declared a World Heritage Site in 2002! The station in town is reminiscent of the 1890s... including the floor, the benches, the lighting and wooden window frames in the station... and old pictures. A great way to start a journey to the Budapest Aviation Museum and the Transportation Museum.

In addition to the Transport Museum and the Aviation Museum, the Szechenyi Medicinal Baths are located in Varosliget Park... as well as the Millennium Monument, a couple of other museums, and the zoo.

The Aviation Museum is open Tuesday - Friday 1000-1700, Saturday and Sunday 1000-1800. Hours are shorter during the winter. The museums are closed on Mondays.

You might have to be a bit of an airplane buff to want to visit the Budapest Aviation Museum, but the City Park itself is worth a visit to see the Szechenyi Baths, and if you\'re lucky, as we were, you might even find a festival going on... you never know what you\'ll run into when you get a little off the beaten track following your hobbies.

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