time to explore with esplora
aircraft enthusiast heaven
Malta was introduced to the world of aviation from a very early start. Having been a British colony for 164 years, and having served as a base for the Britain’s Armed Forces for another 15, Malta’s history of aviation extends for many years.
The Malta Aviation Museum is a vast exhibition space, documenting the country’s rich history of aviation, where aircraft and aviation relics can be seen on display.
We were honoured to be guided around the museum by the director himself, Ray Polidano, who is extremely enthusiastic and informative about the museum and its exhibits as he strives to preserve the island’s aviation history. His passion, pride and dedication immediately shone through.
Located in the former Royal Air Force Station in Ta’ Qali, the museum consists of three large hangars, in which visitors can expect to see a variety of post-war memorabilia and mementos of all types that tell the history of aviation and the people who lived and shaped it. You can also find a small cafe, chapel, memorial garden and the Air Raid Warden Hut.
The Main Exhibition Hangar includes pistons and jet aircraft, helicopters and aircraft engines as well as ground equipment. There are also Navy Jets, a Link Trainer, a scale model display, uniforms and other memorabilia in the Romney Exhibition Hangar that includes a souvenir shop.
The start of the museum was marked in the early 1900s with the restoration of one of the stars of The Air Battle of Malta Memorial Hangar, which the Malta Aviation Museum staff would refer to as the Supermarine Spitfire Mk. IX., a British single-seat fighter aircraft.
The aircraft had been restored to ‘display’ condition by Polidano himself, with the help of other volunteers, and was given the name of ‘Mary Rose’, in honour of his wife.
The same hangar also houses the Hawker Hurricane, a British single-seat fighter aircraft of the 1940s, that played a large part in Malta’s defense during the World War II, and has now been beautifully restored by the museum volunteers after its recovery from the seabed off Malta in 1995, where it had been submerged for around 60 years.
Among these show-stoppers are De Havilland Tigermoth and Douglas DC3, as well as the Beechcraft 18, a De Havilland Vampire T11, a Hawker Seahawk, a Fiat G91R, a Pou Du Ciel, a Cessna Birddog, a Fairey Swordfish and more.
A trip to the museum can be rather shocking and emotional as it tells the stirring story of Malta’s defence. Polidano explains how many of the pilots’ relatives have been travelling to Malta to visit these planes since being brought back to their former glory, after having been worked on for many years.
The exhibits on display are excellent and there’s an ongoing restoration programme for old planes and aircraft awaiting restoration. Kids an adults are guaranteed a wonderful time witnessing true relics of aviation history.