The State Aviation Museum of Ukraine (Zhuliany) is the youngest and, at the same time, the largest historical museum of the country's technical history. It was established in 2003, and its opening crowned the major date – 100th anniversary of world aviation. Museum is located at the territory of the former Educational Air Base of KIIGA (now NAU), and aircrafts assigned to Base became the core of its collection. However, started with only 30 machines, today Zhulyany owns the exposition of nearly 70 aircraft and helicopters. There are also samples of air weapons and UAVs, as well as an exposition of aircraft engines. The museum fund contains products of almost all leading aviation Design Bureaus of Soviet period – Tupolev, Yakovlev, Ilyushin, Antonov, Sukhoi, Mikoyan-Gurevich, Kamov, Mil, Beriev (in full-scale), as well as replicas from the early twentieth century. The collections are formed according to the aircraft purpose, and according to belonging to a certain Design Bureau (further DB). Tupolev DB is an exception, with a separate "Backfire Collection" that includes missile-bombers Tu-22M.
Our exhibition represents one of the most complete collections in the world of Mikoyan and Gurevich Design Bureaus aircrafts, as well as Mil Design Bureau helicopters. Rare MiG-15UTI and Mi-1M are also exhibited here. By the number of experimental and single-unit aircrafts the museum is the second in CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States); only Russian Monino has more. In Zhulyany you can see the first experimental sample of IL-86, the second experimental/first production IL-18, the first production Tu-104, pre-production Tu-134, as well as Tu-22M0 from the experimental series, and others. Each of these machines at the same time is also the oldest sample of its type that survived till our days. The sources of continuous replenishment of museum exhibition became airfields where written-off aircrafts – the historical evidence of the development of domestic aviation – were preserved. These machines were brought into the exposition state due to efforts of Ukrainian aviation industry enterprises, and then took their place at the site in Zhulyany. Basic systems of many aircrafts presented in the museum are still functional. In particular, all electronics of these machines is functioning properly, and moreover, their engine starts were made recently. Visitors always enjoy visiting the cockpit of the IL-62 aircraft and Mi-8 helicopter, because everyone is welcome to sit behind the steering wheel. The close vicinity of operating airport "Kiev" (Zhuliany), which runway is 100 meters behind the transparent fence, adds special flavor to visiting of the museum. From this place, watching taking off and landing is an unforgettable experience for the audience.
Since its foundation and till the present day, a lot of planes and helicopters changed each other at the territory of Educational Air Base of KIIGA (NAU). There were many unique machines among them, worthy to occupy the best places in the expositions of any aviation museum in the world. Ironically, they all perished here – in Zhulyany, – sent to the scrap metal yards in strict accordance with the requirements of USSR Gosplan of ferrous metals delivery. Once an aircraft became unsuitable for teaching students (for various reasons), it was to be cut. That was how rare examples of experimental aircrafts perished – Tu-110 USSR-5600, experimental Tu-104G (TU-16G) USSR-L5411, the second flying prototype of IL-62 USSR-06176 (003), prototype Tu-124 Soviet-45000 and others. In the beginning of the 1990s, KIIGA Educational Air Base was exposed by natural, and the most destructive process – influence of time. Within a decade, planes were losing their former appearance and fell into disrepair, and the airfield itself became covered with a wild grass. The territory of the future museum at this time was slowly turning into a jet cemetery.
The situation changed radically only in 2003, when according to the decision of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, The State Aviation Museum was established on the basis of KIIGA Educational Air Base. It’s astonishing, but in just three months before the opening of new museum its future exhibits were still not touched by hands of restorers. In a very short period of time, by organizing a broad co-operation with dozens of aviation companies across the country, we succeeded to prepare the museum for the opening, which took place in September 30, 2003. The grand ceremony was attended by then-President of Ukraine Leonid Kuchma, representatives of domestic and foreign aviation community, as well as guests and representatives of numerous mass media. Soon after the opening, the first expert opinions were spoken – by the quality of full-scale exposition, Ukrainian Aviation Museum is worthy of a place in the top ten European museums. Exhibitions of the State Aviation Museum are constantly evolving. The existing equipment is carefully preserved, new exhibits are discovered and delivered to the museum, where, after careful restoration, they occupy their deserving place in the collections. At the same time the archive is being formed and arranged, and cooperation with aviation organizations around the world is being established.