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Christmas Gift Guide

Belgrade Aviation Museum

In the round

Orao

Second floor

Early days

109

Hurricane

Spitfire

Hot rod

Il-2

M3

Ikarus

S-49C

522

Vihor

F-80/T-33

Thunderjet

Sabre Dog

Rockets

Sikorsky S-55

That will buff out

Gnat

Drone

Stealth

451

451M

451MM

J-20

Not a T-80

Sikorsky-Westland

MiG!

That nose

Curvy

Lonely Yak

Graveyard

MiG?

Short!

Fishbed

Basement access

Hound

Kamov

Junkers

Il-14

Ka-28PL

Mini torpedo

Cockpit

Mil Mi-8

Window washer

C-47

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.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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

Caption by / Photo by 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.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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.

Caption by / Photo by 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.

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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.

Caption by / Photo by 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.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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

Caption by / Photo by 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.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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

Caption by / Photo by 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.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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

Caption by / Photo by 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.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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

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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.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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

Caption by / Photo by 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.

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

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

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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.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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

Caption by / Photo by 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.

Caption by / Photo by 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.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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

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

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

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

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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.

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

Caption by / Photo by 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?

Caption by / Photo by 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.

Caption by / Photo by 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.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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

Caption by / Photo by 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.

Caption by / Photo by 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.

Caption by / Photo by 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.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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

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Small, but rocket powered!

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

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

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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.

Caption by / Photo by 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.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET
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