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Hellenic Air Force Museum

Mission

The museum’s mission is the concentration, preservation and presentation of HAF’s heirlooms, the study and documentation of history, the presentation of the nation’s battles and the Spirit of Flight throughout the centuries.

HAF’s museum is by nature both an aviation, military and technological museum. According to the ICOM classification, HAF’s museum belongs to the category of historic-technological museums that study and present a specific human activity in all its forms. In this case, the museum presents the Hellenic Air Force and its history.

Special mention should be made to the fact that in Greece there had been no previous experience in the fields of rebuilding historic aircraft and organizing a technologic museum. During the early days of the museum only few of the staff could imagine the vast variety of the projects that an aviation museum has to undertake and the difficulties that arose, as many of the museum’s activities were carried out for the first time in Greece.

The museum’s target is to attract a great number of visitors, who will also be able to actively participate in the museum’s activities, as is the case in many modern museums of its kind abroad.

The HAF museum encourages visits to its premises, especially for our younger friends, who could experience an astonishing first contact with the field of aviation technology. Regardless of their age, all our visitors can observe the impressive restoration works carried out on the museum’s exhibits, which require a phenomenal combination of both knowledge and technical skills.

History

In 1986 HAF founded the HAF Museum Organisation Bureau. In 1988 this was incorporated into the newly formed HAF History Service, whose mission was the gradual concentration of material in order to establish an Aviation Museum in the future.

In 1990 the Museum Establishment Bureau was founded as part of the HAF Public Relations Directorate, in order to continue the concentration of material and find the best possible way for the realization of the Museum. Among various solutions and after evaluating the organisation charts of many other museums, both Greek and international, it was decided that it should have the form of a military unit.

On July 1992 the HAF Museum was formally established by the Supreme Air Council, positioned within the Dekeleia Air Base and administratively subsumed under the HAFGS.

Since October 2006 the museum is administratively under the Hellenic Air Force Air Training Command.

Fields of Interest

The foundations have been layed for the establishment of a department of research and factual evidence collection. All the available aviation-related bibliography in Greek has already been obtained, as well as various sources in foreign languages.

One of the many fields where the museum’s activities have been unique is the recovery of 2nd World War aircraft wreckage. This activity, internationally described under the term “Aviation Archeology”, is conducted both by the museum and the private sector.

On May 1993 a mixed team composed of personnel from the museum and the HAF’s special team of frogmen, hauled up the remains of a British Blenheim Mk.I bomber from Lake Prespa. However, the most complete similar task organized by the same units in July 1996 was the spectacular hauling up of a British Blenheim Mk.IV F, which was shot down during the battle of Crete near the city of Rethymno.

Another initiative worth to be mentioned is the creation of a collection of vehicles of historic value. The most interesting piece of this collection is a rare Dodge ambulance of the 2nd World War, which was restored to the form of HAF’s vehicles during the 50’s.

Also included in the collection are a Willys Jeep, a Norton bicycle previously used by the HAF Police, a Dodge bomber-carrier vehicle and a Dodge vehicle used for the transportation of personnel. Moreover, an armoured M8, a Scout used for staff transportations, a Unimog fire-fighting vehicle and a French-built tractor have also been obtained.

Future Perspectives

The museum’s targets for the foreseeable future include:

  • Enriching the collection with all the aircraft types that served the Hellenic Air Force. Creating a stock of certain types with historic value is also under consideration, in order for them to be used for exchanges and, thus, obtaining aircraft types that have not been preserved in Greece.
  • Including aircraft that have never been used by the HAF, but have played an important role in the History of Aviation on an international level.
  • Enriching the Aviation Archeology collection with more exhibits, able to attract the visitors’ interest, thus making a visit to the museum desirable for a wider audience.
  • Collecting more photographic material of all kinds, manuals, aviation memorabilia, staff uniforms etc
  • Extending the museums’ premises and including buildings and hangars of the Dekeleia Air Base which have a historical value, dating back to the pre-war era.
  • Creating different spaces for the presentation of different categories of museum items, such as aircraft avionics, armament, uniforms, aircraft engines etc.

It is also desirable that with the co-operation of the Ministry of Culture a great part of the Dekeleia Air Base be transformed into a technological and aviation park. The realization of this proposal according to the modern principles of museology, will create a huge space open to visitors, unique in Europe in the sense that it will combine both a museum and active aviation facilities.