The Exhibition Hangar at the Malta Aviation Museum
July 15, 2021 3 min read
Malta has a long and chequered history with aviation. Being a British colony from 1800 to 1964 meant that the Island had its first taste of aviation already during the very early days of flight. With the United Kingdom being an early leader in the sector, the Maltese quickly became accustomed to high-tech aircraft from both the Royal Air Force as well as the Fleet Air Arm of the Royal Navy.
Aviation plays an important role in the island’s development with several key episodes dotting some of the most remarkable dates in its history books. These include important milestones such as the construction of the first seaplane base at Kalafrana during World War I to the sights of terror during World War Two. Air crashes and hijacks remain among the worst memories of recent history.
Such a history has ingrained a deep-routed interest in aviation both among locals as well as among the many visitors and enthusiasts to the island. In this context, the Malta Aviation Museum is the must-see location for historical jets, helicopters, general aircraft and engines on display.
Due to lack of space, for decades a number of aircraft exhibits were stored in a dismantled form due to lack of roofed exhibition space. EU funding facilitated the construction of a new Main Exhibition Hangar large enough to house most of the museum's collection of aircraft and historic aviation artefacts.
Based on a floor display area of 1,400 square metres, the hangar built on an ex-RAF airfield in Ta' Qali, cost some €345,000 to build, with 80 per cent of the funds coming from the European Regional Development Fund.
The new hangar, built opposite the Air Battle of Malta hangar, shelters some historical aircraft such as the DC-3 Dakota, a Bell 47G helicopter, the first aircraft of the AFM, a Bird Dog, which was the AFM's first fixed wing aircraft, two British Meteor jet fighters from the 1950s, and an Italian Fiat G91, the front section of a Lightning, one of the earliest supersonic fighters, and the cockpit section of a BAC 1-11 jetliner.
The construction of a new hangar also allowed the Museum to focus on its aircraft restoration projects, which in the past few years included the completion of the Hurricane and a much-needed boost to the restoration of the DC-3 which features the colours of Eagle Aviation, which was used on air services to Malta in 1952.
While the Museum might be a living testament to history, the construction of its new hangar was future-looking, being one of the first of its kind to seek to improve its sustainability. The project features not only an eco-friendly modern lighting system that sought to improve energy efficiency, but also the creation of a new covered reservoir adjacent to the hangar collect run off water from the hangar and nearby areas.
With this important upgrade, the Museum today continues to contribute to the memory of our forefathers and the battles they had fought to safeguard our freedom and prosperity.
This article is part of the OurEU.mt campaign, which is being managed by CiConsulta's ComuniqEU, with the financial support of the European Union. Its contents are the sole responsibility of CiConsulta and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.
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