India’s one and only Naval Aviation Museum is situated along the Vasco-Bogmalo road barely six kilometers from the port city of Vasco-da-Gama.
This Naval Aviation Museum established in Oct’1998 is the only one of its kind in the whole of Asia. May be perhaps, it has not received the publicity it rightly deserves and hence remained unvisited and unseen by many Goans.
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Situated atop a plateau overlooking the wide expanse of the Arabian Sea where from you can get to see the Bogmalo Beach, the Naval Aviation Museum is divided into two sections, one that is out-door in the open air and the other that is housed indoors.
As one enters the Main Gate, one is welcomed by the site of the huge ‘Super Constellation’ standing like a sentinel keeping a watch over the entire place. This Aircraft was first used by the Indian airlines for transporting passengers; later on it was passed on to the Air Force for use as a transport craft. Thereafter the Navy borrowed the same from the Air Force and till now lies in their custody, though de-commissioned.
As you walk into the outdoor section of the museum you are greeted on the left by the display of the various Aircraft engines like the Sea Hawk, Helicopter engine, Sealand Aircraft engine and an old Fire Engine too used by the Navy in the early 60’s. As you move a little further there are the seven different aircraft on display.
Types of aircraft are
- the Sea Harrier, a single sitter Jet Fighter used as a reconnaissance aircraft
- the Dove, a twin engine aircraft was used for light transportation and a variety of other roles the Sealand, plays a dual role of plying on land as well as on the sea
- the Seahawk, a single sitter single Engine Jet Fighter
- the Vampire, a small bodied side-by-side 2 sitter fighter trainer
- the Hughes, a two seater helicopter with side-by-side seating
- the Alize, a 3 seater carrier borne anti-submarine and reconnaissance aircraft
As you enter the indoor section of the museum one gets the feeling that you are entering the aircraft carrier INS Viraat itself. Since on either sides of the corridor are neat paintings of the interiors of the Viraat thereby creating a natural ambience as though one is at sea on board the Viraat. The other rooms too are planned with the ship in mind.
First on your left is the room where all armaments are on neat display. Here you come in close contact with torpedoes, bombs of varying sizes, rockets, war heads, missiles, depth chargers etc.
As you come out of the armament room you are faced with the ‘Sonobuoy Room’. Sonobuoys are Sensors that are used by Aircraft for detection of underwater enemy targets.
The Suraksha Room has on display the various gadgets and protection gear used by the naval personnel while at sea and in air in the event of any dangers and eventuality. Items on display here are the floating dingy, the parachute, Fighter Pilot’s Ejection Seat, Pilot’s outfit, etc.
A little further there is the Multimedia Room, which houses the simulator. Here the children and adults too can have a first hand experience of the Jet Fighter cockpit in a simulator.
While you walk along the corridor admiring the beauty of the place you notice “Shradhanjali” the granite slab adorning the wall paying tributes to all the men in uniform who laid down their lives while flying for their motherland from the year 1958 to 1997.
Adjacent to this is the heart of the museum, the “Hall of Silence”. This is the Meditation Room. The place is serene, cool and calm. Richly done up in granite, a beautiful painting in blue colour brightly lit adorns one wall.
The bigger hall has the photo gallery where old photos are on display profiling the Naval Aviation History from 1959 onwards in pictures and footnotes. Black and White Photos of “Operation Vijay” during the liberation of Goa are also on display.
On your visit to the Museum do not forget to step into the small Museum Souvenir Shop. It stocks various items from pens to key chains, leather wallets, and caps and T-Shirts too and pick up a memento or two to remind you of your visit to this beautiful landmark.
The Naval Aviation Museum is worth going miles to see for it’s a source of knowledge and inspiration to youngsters to instill in them the love to join the defense forces. It is best to plan the visit to the Museum in such a manner so as to wind it up with a picnic at the scenic picnic spot at ‘Hollant Beach’ just about two kilometers from this point.