For any plane enthusiast, this is paradise.
This aviation museum on the outskirts of Riga holds one of the world’s largest collections
of old Soviet aircraft. The collection was put together by former
aircraft engineer Viktor Talpas. –SOUNDBITE (RUSSIAN with English subtitles)—
Viktor Talpas, Owner, Riga Aviation Museum) “In the beginning, we were given scrap metal
and later received the first plane. Which is over in the corner.” —VOICEOVER— For Viktor, who worked for Russian aviation
company Aeroflot, this has been a 46-year labour of love.
During the Soviet era, the museum was home to a young pilots club, for those who wanted
to learn about aeroplanes, and Victor was their instructor. –SOUNDBITE (RUSSIAN with English subtitles)—
(Viktor Talpas, Owner, Riga Aviation Museum) “It was for children starting from 8th grade.
We were preparing them for the future. So we gave them the aviation bug, and once you
have that, you have it forever.” –VOICEOVER–
After Latvia gained independence in 1991, the pilots club closed. But Viktor continued
to add to his aviation collection, from Mig25 jets to Mi6 helicopters… –SOUNDBITE (RUSSIAN with English subtitles)—
(Viktor Talpas, Owner, Riga Aviation Museum) “This plane was a breakthrough in its time.
In the 70s when it was released, it was the first of its kind. In the 60s, this was the largest aviation
helicopter in the world.” —VOICEOVER— The museum is privately funded, though planes
can come cheap. This one was bought in Moscow for just three euros. And while transportation
costs are obviously much higher, Victor says his collection is about more than money. –SOUNDBITE (RUSSIAN with English subtitles)—
Viktor Talpas, Owner, Riga Aviation Museum) “I’ve worked practically all my life in
aviation – from 1959 until today. This was my hobby and you can see the results today.” –VOICEOVER— Most of these aircraft will never fly again
but in their heyday they were a testament to a golden age in aviation. And as for Viktor, well he may be 76, but
he’s not planning on retiring anytime soon. This is Miks Uzans from Riga, for NATO Channel.