Aviation Museum: Turkish Air Force Museum (Istanbul, Turkey)

Aviation Museum: Turkish Air Force Museum (Istanbul, Turkey)

Next in my series introducing aviation museums is the Turkish Air Force Museum (a.k.a. Istanbul Aviation Museum) in Istanbul. I had a chance to visit it during my long layover there last month. While vast majority of the aircraft displayed are military, there is still plenty to see even for an airliner fan.

Getting There, Opening Hours & Entrance Fees

The museum is located in Yesilkoy, about 6 km away from the Istanbul Ataturk airport terminal. As such, the easiest way to get there from the airport is by taxi. Alternatively, you could take a train to Yesilkoy station from where it is just a short walk.

As I was plane spotting at Florya Park before, I took a taxi from there (about 5 minutes), and on my way back I walked to the famous Fly Inn Mall (about 1 hour).

Istanbul Aviation Museum Entrance

Entrance to Istanbul Aviation Museum.

The Turkish Air Force Museum is open from 10AM to 6PM on weekends and 9AM to 4:30PM on weekdays. The entrance fee is 7.5 TRY (a little more than 2 USD) for adults and free of charge for students. A permission to take photos costs another 15 TRY and to take videos another 30 TRY on top of the entrance fee. After paying, visitors are handed a ticket imitating a boarding pass.

Istanbul Aviation Museum Opening Hours

Opening hours & entrance fees.
Istanbul Aviation Museum Ticket

“Boarding pass.”

Gate Guard & Entrance Area

After getting my ticket, the entrance led me to a spacey outdoor area. Along the road, there was an F-104 serving as a gate guard.

Istanbul Aviation Museum Gate Guard F-104

Lockheed F-104 gate guard.

There were also busts of notable Turkish Air Force members and a couple of aircraft including a DC-3 scattered around this area.

Turkish Air Force Bust

One of the many busts.
Dornier Do-28

Dornier Do 28 D-1.
Douglas C-47A

A statue and a Douglas C-47A Skytrain.
Robinson R-22

Robinson R-22.
Bell UH-1

Bell UH-1H.

Finally, there was a museum shop.

Turkish Air Force Museum Shop

Museum shop.
Inside the Museum Shop

Inside the shop.

From this area, the two other – main – areas of the museum were accessible.

Indoor Exhibition Area

First, let’s take a look at the indoors area.

Indoor Exhibit Entrance

Entrance hall of the indoor exhibit area.

Right after entering it, there was a large hall followed by another couple of rooms – all containing various exhibits about the history of Turkish Air Force.

Indoor Exhibit

One of the many exhibits about the history of Turkish Air Force.
Indoor Exhibit

One of the exhibit rooms.
Turkish Air Force Museum Indoor Exhibit

Another exhibit room – full of busts of Turkish Air Force Commanders.

Following those rooms was a hallway that led to a hangar. The hallway featured a couple of aircraft engine exhibits.

Engine Exhibit

General Electric J79 engine.
Engine Exhibit

Rolls-Royce Derwent engine.

Finally, there was the hangar which housed about a dozen or so aircraft. The highlight of the indoor exhibition was, at least for me, a de Havilland Dragon Rapide.

Istanbul Aviation Museum Hangar

Part of the indoor aircraft exhibit.
PZL P.24

PZL P.24.
de Havilland Caribou

De Havilland Dragon Rapide.

The exit route out of the hangar features a couple more exhibit rooms with mostly aircraft models and uniforms.

Turkish Air Force Museum Model Collection

Part of the museum’s model collection.
Turkish Air Force Museum Uniforms Collection

Part of the museum’s uniform collection.

Main Outdoor Exhibit Area

Now, let’s go to the most interesting area of the Istanbul Aviation Museum – the main outdoor exhibit!

First, here is a Google Maps overview of the museum to give you a better image of the layout.

Starting from the bottom, there were two fighter jets – an General Dynamics F-16 and a Northrop F-5.

General Dynamics F-16

General Dynamics F-16.
Northrop F-5

Northrop F-5.

Then, there were two rows of fighter jets and trainer aircraft.

Outdoor Exhibit

The two rows of smaller aircraft.
Lockheed RT-33

Lockheed RT-33 – each exhibit had a brief data sheet next to it.
North American F-100

North American F-100.
Cessna T-37

Cessna T-37.
Beechcraft T-34

Beechcraft T-34.
Republic F-84

Republic F-84.
Canadair F-86

Canadair F-86.

Past those rows, there was a large open area featuring some of the larger aircraft in the museum, the two notable ones being military versions of the DC-3 and the DC-6.

Open Area

“Open space” exhibit area with larger aircraft.
Douglas C-54

Douglas C-54.
Douglas C-47

Douglas C-47.

At the time of my visit, the open space was being used by the museum staff that was working on a Phantom exhibit.

McDonnell Douglas RF-4E Phantom II

McDonnell Douglas RF-4E Phantom II being worked on.

Around this space, there were two more areas.

The first one of those featured, besides a kids’ playground, a Transall C-160, a Beechcraft Model 18, a Vickers Viscount and a helicopter.


Playground and the Transall C-160.
Transall C-160

Transall C-160.
Beechcraft Model 18

Beechcraft Model 18.
Vickers Viscount

Vickers Viscount.

The other one was a home to a number of light prop aircraft, and the main civil aviation exhibit of the museum – a Istanbul Airlines Sud Caravelle.

Dornier Do 27

Dornier Do 27.
Sud Caravelle

Sud Caravelle.
Mavi Isik G and Sud Caravelle

Mavi Isik G and Sud Caravelle.

Now that the aircraft are covered, I will mention that there were also some other exhibits including missiles and military ground equipment.


Ground Vehicle

Military ground equipment.

Bombs and missiles.

Turkish Air Force Museum (a.k.a. Istanbul Aviation Museum) Summary

Overall, the Istanbul Aviation Museum is a great place to visit regardless of whether you are a military or civil aviation fan. As such, I definitely recommend visiting this museum if you have several hours of transfer time at Istanbul airport or if you happen to be in the city.

2 thoughts on “Aviation Museum: Turkish Air Force Museum (Istanbul, Turkey)”

  1. Very nice article on the museum. Museum seems well stocked with a wide variety of aircrafts from different generations.

    Last year i was in Belgrade and visited the aeronautical museum next to Nikola Testla airport. Although the exhibits were not as many as the one in Istanbul, it was perhaps the only place where you could see all WW2 planes (both allied and axis) under one roof. The wreckage of the downed F117 during the NATO campaign of 1990 is also proudly displayed.

    They also have a lot of memorabilia from the early days on JAT and a timeline of how different slavic airlines formed and merged to become JAT.

    1. Thanks – glad you enjoyed the article! The museum was certainly a great place to hang out at even though my main interest lies in airliners, it was also interesting to see the large variety of military aircraft.

      Also, thank you for the heads up about the Belgrade museum – will put it on my “to visit” list!

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