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Riga Aviation Technology Museum
The Museum developed over a period of 40 years. Officially it exists as a permanent musuem since 1997, without any support from the government. The Aviation Museum is the only one in the Baltic area, and is one of the largest in all of Europe. The Soviet aviation technology on view in the Museum is the most extensive outside the borders of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS)
The beginnings of the Museum are to be found in 1965 with the establishment of the F. Canders young pilots club. The burden of organizational difficulties at that time was borne by Viktor Talpas, a young aviation engineer, employee of the civil aviation administration of Latvia.
In due time the need arose at the club not only for standard educational materials as in the past, but also for instruction with aircraft to accomplish various education disciplines.
The Ministry of Defence supported the wishes of club management and provided the club with a de-commissioned aircraft, the MIG-21US, which was refurbished by the students themselves. With the strengthening of the club’s relations with the military, the amount of aviation technology available to the club expanded significantly, and relatively rare and unique samples of combat aircraft and helicopters were added to the inventory.
The financial suport to the club ended with the collapse of the USSR. Serious problems developed with regard to storage space for aviation technology. Between 1998 and 1999 the equipment was moved to a new territory and the museum was reestablished.
The developer and permanent Museum Director is Viktors Talpa. After graduating from the Irkutsk aviation school in 1962 he served in the naval aviation of the Black Sea fleet. After that he worked as an on-board engineer for Aeroflot, while at the same time being in charge of the young pilots club.