The uncommon planes and fascinating architecture of the Belgrade Aviation Museum

Yaks and MiGs and Mils, oh my. The many fascinating aircraft and unique building of the Belgrade Aviation Museum make it well worth a visit. Here's a full tour.


Geoffrey Morrison

See full bio

1 of 49 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Belgrade Aviation Museum

Just a short walk from the capital's airport, the Belgrade Aviation Museum is housed in a massively cool building designed by Bosnian architect Ivan Straus.

For the full story behind this tour, check out From Yaks to MiGs: The fascinating Belgrade Aviation Museum.

2 of 49 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

In the round

The main floor of the museum. Above, a shot-down Predator drone.

3 of 49 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET


One of the several Yugoslav-designed aircraft on display at the museum. This was the prototype Soko J-22 Orao, a type of aircraft still in use by the Serbian and Bosnian air forces.

4 of 49 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Second floor

The second floor of the museum was mostly exhibits on the history of flight in Serbia and Yugoslavia.

Normally I like to keep the photos going in a fairly linear fashion, but the unique design of this museum affords better views of the main planes, so I'll be bouncing back and forth a bit when the shot demands it.

5 of 49 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Early days

This is a Yugoslavian Zmaj Fizir FN, used as a trainer before WWII. Even though it was largely made of wood, it was used well into the '50s.

6 of 49 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET


The Messerschmitt Bf 109 G-2. Nearly every air museum has one of these. This one, however, is one of only two "G-2" variants left, and was used by the Yugoslav Air Force (YAF) until 1952.

7 of 49 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET


The Hawker Hurricane, but instead of being one of the famous heroes of the Battle of Britain, this one was flown by the YAF until 1952.

8 of 49 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET


Here's the Supermarine Spitfire, another staple of air museums. But yep, you guessed, this was also flown by the YAF.

Yep, you read that right: The YAF was flying Messerschmitts, Hurricanes, and Spitfires all at the same time.

9 of 49 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Hot rod

Small and light with a big engine, the Yak-3 was fast and maneuverable.

10 of 49 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET


This is the Ilyushin Il-2. Though it looks to be the same size as the previous fighters, this ground attack plane is a lot larger. This one was flown by the YAF until 1955.

11 of 49 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET


This was the M3 variant, which had a rear-firing gunner and swept-back wings.

12 of 49 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET


Along with aircraft from Britain, Germany and Russia, the Yugoslavs also had their own aircraft industry. This is an S-49C by the company Ikarus.

13 of 49 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET


Developed after WWII, the S-49C had a French-made V-12. They were in use until the early '60s.

14 of 49 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET


Another Yugoslav aircraft, the Soko 522, was a trainer and intended for light attack roles.

15 of 49 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET


The only surviving example of the Utva 213 Vihor, a Yugoslav trainer.

16 of 49 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET


Based on the F-80, this T-33 trainer was converted to a reconnaissance aircraft for use by the YAF.

17 of 49 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET


Here's a Republic F-84 "Thunderjet." These joined the YAF in the early '50s, replacing the WWII-era propeller aircraft. This one was later converted to a reconnaissance plane.

18 of 49 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Sabre Dog

A North American F-86D "Sabre Dog," which only shared some parts and pieces with the F-86 on which it was based. Like the F-84, this was one of the early jets flown by the YAF.

19 of 49 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET


No guns on the F-86D, just this retractable tray that shot 24 "Mighty Mouse" rockets.

20 of 49 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Sikorsky S-55

Though designed by Sikorsky (and called the H-19 by the USAF), this one and several others were built under licence by Soko in Yugoslavia.

21 of 49 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

That will buff out

A near miss (or near hit) of a Stinger missile on the rear of a Soko G-4. The pilot landed safely.

22 of 49 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET


The tiny, tiny, appropriately named Folland Gnat. Though sold in great numbers to other countries (including India), only two test examples came to Yugoslavia. One crashed. The YAF decided they were too expensive to manufacture and passed on a larger order.

23 of 49 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET


The remains of a Predator drone, shot down during the Yugoslav wars in the '90s.

24 of 49 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET


The canopy of "Something Wicked," an F-117 shot down over Serbia.

25 of 49 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET


Certainly one of the stranger aircraft I've ever seen, this is an Ikarus 451, part of a family of research aircraft. The pilot was in the prone position. This gave me a stiff neck just thinking about it.

26 of 49 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET


A further development of the previous 451, this ditched the weird pilot orientation and added small turbojets.

27 of 49 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET


And a still further development, this is the 451MM, with more powerful engines, weapons, and a different landing-gear design. Intended to be the production version, only this prototype was built.

28 of 49 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET


A Yugoslav designed and built Soko J-20. Though a prop plane, it entered service in 1962 and flew until the '80s.

29 of 49 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Not a T-80

Though it looks like a T-80, this is actually a Soko G-2 "Galeb." This specific plane was in service for 20 years and had nearly 10,000 flights.

30 of 49 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET


A Sikorsky-designed, Westland-built WS-51 helicopter, used by the YAF until 1974.

31 of 49 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET


A MiG-21 used by the YAF from 1964 to 1981.

32 of 49 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

That nose

This is the "F" variant. I love how so many jets of this era had massive air intakes in front. Gaping maws.

33 of 49 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET


This shot and the previous one give you a better sense of how incredible the building is.

34 of 49

Lonely Yak

As if flying German and British planes wasn't enough, the YAF also flew Russian aircraft. This is the only complete original Yak-3 left in the world.

35 of 49 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET


This side of the grounds isn't the musuem's at all. It's storage for the Serbian Air Force.

36 of 49 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET


While the far side of the museum is Serbian Air Force storage, the area behind is for the museum.

This looks to me like a wood-frame, full-size mock-up of a MiG-29, does it not?

37 of 49 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET


This was unexpected. A Short Sealand, one of only three remaining in the world.

The Solent Sky museum has its big brother, the Sandringham.

38 of 49 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET


The MiG-21R "Fishbed." There wasn't any info with this one, but I believe it was one of the ones from the Yugoslav (and later Serbian) Air Force.

39 of 49 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Basement access

Part of the museum's basement is under the main entranceway. Wish I'd been able to explore more.

40 of 49 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET


A Mil Mi-4 "Hound" used by the YAF in the '60s but retired in 1977.

41 of 49 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET


Coaxial rotor helicopter! I've never seen one of these in person -- fascinating. Kamov is one of the only companies to make this type of helicopter in large numbers. The rotor hub needs be super-complex in order to ditch the tail rotor of "traditional" helicopters. This is a Ka-25.

42 of 49 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET


This JAT Airline Ju 52/3m was built in France, and after the BMW engines died, they got American Pratt and Whitney R 1340s.

43 of 49 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET


An Ilyushin Il-14, but not just any Il-14. This plane was presented to Yugoslav President Tito by Nikita Khrushchev after the two countries patched up relations following Stalin's death.

44 of 49 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET


The other Kamov, this time the export version of the later Ka-27, the 28PL.

45 of 49 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Mini torpedo

Small, but rocket powered!

46 of 49 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET


A look through dirt-caked windows at the cockpit of the Ka-28PL.

47 of 49 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Mil Mi-8

This Mi-8 served in the Yugoslav Air Force and flew itself here, landing at this spot to stay.

48 of 49 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Window washer

I'd thought the stairs and scaffolding was part of building, but when I looked closer I saw it was on rails. It's a window washer!

Also, a cameo by yours truely in the reflection.

49 of 49 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET


We end this tour with this well-worn C-47. There's a sad grace in the decay.

(It's another from my Instagram if you're curious).

For the full story behind this tour, check out From Yaks to Migs: The fascinating aircraft of the Belgrade Aviation Museum.

More Galleries

2022's Best TV Shows You Can't Miss on Netflix, HBO, Disney Plus and More

More Galleries

2022's Best TV Shows You Can't Miss on Netflix, HBO, Disney Plus and More

93 Photos
The 40 Best Games on Nintendo Switch

More Galleries

The 40 Best Games on Nintendo Switch

41 Photos
'Stranger Things' Stars Now and Then: Wow, They've Really Grown Up

More Galleries

'Stranger Things' Stars Now and Then: Wow, They've Really Grown Up

40 Photos
2023 Genesis GV60 Is a Futuristic EV

More Galleries

2023 Genesis GV60 Is a Futuristic EV

53 Photos
2023 Toyota Camry Nightshade is a Bronzeworthy Family Sedan

More Galleries

2023 Toyota Camry Nightshade is a Bronzeworthy Family Sedan

13 Photos
Movies Coming in 2022 From Marvel, Netflix, DC and More

More Galleries

Movies Coming in 2022 From Marvel, Netflix, DC and More

80 Photos
2022 Acura MDX Type S Blends Sharp Style and Strong Power

More Galleries

2022 Acura MDX Type S Blends Sharp Style and Strong Power

34 Photos