Chronicles of the flying machine
The HAL Heritage Centre and Aerospace Museum in Bangalore is one of the few public museums on aviation in India.
ON SHOW: Preserving the romance of the air.
On Bangalore’s busy Airport Road is a 10-acre oasis of calm that children of all ages and their parents are sure to find interesting, educational and fun. Welcome to the HAL Heritage Centre and Aerospace Museum, one of India’s few public museums on aviation.
Opened six years ago on August 30, this unique museum was the brainchild of the then chairperson of HAL, Dr. Krishnadas Nair. Through its exhibits, it showcases the growth of the Indian aviation industry and of HAL in particular. The museum’s biggest attraction is its aircraft collection exhibited outdoors, where aircraft designed, developed and built by HAL are on display, as well as those produced under license for the Indian Air Force. Each aircraft has its own display zone, cordoned off by chains, with a plaque giving the details of the aircraft. Some of the romance and excitement of flying seems to come alive merely by peering into the cockpit of the Marut, India’s first transonic aircraft, used from the 1960s up until the early 1980s. Among the other planes displayed are the transport plane Devon, the NAL developed small plane Hansa, a mock-up of the Light Combat Aircraft and HAL’s trainer aircraft Pushpak and Kiran, both of which are still used by flying clubs and by the IAF.
There are also some exhibits on the aerospace industry, among them scaled down models of polar satellite launch vehicle (PSLV) and the geosynchronous satellite launch vehicle (GSLV). The most interesting space-related exhibit has to be the full-size model of the nosecone of the PSLV, the heat shield used to house the satellite and protect it on its journey through the Earth’s atmosphere.
The museum also chronicles some interesting HAL history. In Hall 1, a circular building with several rooms, each room depicts milestones in the HAL story over the last 65 years. Other photos include those on the production line of some of HAL’s planes and of some famous visitors to HAL, including Lord Mountbatten.
Hall 2 gives visitors an idea about the technologies involved in aircraft manufacture and the changes that have taken place over the years.
The upper levels of Hall 2 house two rudimentary flight simulators and the popular Air Traffic Control room. Although there is also some dummy ATC equipment, the real attraction here is the clear view that the ATC has of Bangalore airport’s runway, so that you can watch the planes taking off and landing.
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