The "Museo del Aire" museum at Cuatros Vientos airfield in Madrid houses an impressive (mainly military) collection of aircraft. This airfield was Spain’s first military airfield and opened as long ago as 1911. Over 100 (!) aircraft are currently on display, however the impressive collection also comprises photos and paintings, squadron badges, engines, airfield equipment, weapons, and other memorabilia: too much to take in during a single visit !
Famous aircraft on show include a Vilanova-Bleriot XI built in 1911, a Breguet XIX (Jesus del Gran Poder) used on the flights to Asia and America in 1928-29, and the famous G-ACYR Dragon Rapide, which flew General Franco from the Canary Islands to Tetuan during the Spanish Civil War in 1936.
The photos here will reflect my interest (vintage transports) in aviation. It took a while to find out how to get here (I was surprised to find little useful hints on the Internet) and so I hope to provide not only an inventory report, but also some useful information for future visitors.
Immediately upon entering the museum, I was confronted with one of my favourite aircraft, the Stratocruiser ! Or Stratotanker would be more to the point here, variant of the Boeing 377 Stratocruiser. |
Boeing KC-97L TK.1-03 (c/n 16971) is preserved in the squadron markings of Escuadrón 123 (123-03) and it served to refuel the F-4 Phantoms of Ala 12: the badge near the cockpit is indicative for this task.
Note the jet pod under the wing, these were added to increase performance on take off.
Michel Lozares provided me with the following info in Feb.2006:
Michel Lozares wrote the following in Feb.2006:
In reply to this, Jon Pearson wrote me in Mar.2006: "I was a boomer on this particular airplane when it was stationed at Otis AFB as part of the 19th AREFS. I also was part of the crew that delivered it to the boneyard!
Ken Hinks wrote this in Oct.2007:
Click on the image for a larger study--|
History, even German history, is very much present here. The Germans and the Italians joined Franco's "Nationalists" in the Spanish Civil War against the Republicans (aided by France and Russia); Americans joined the fight for Spanish democracy too.
Another good page to learn of the Spanish Civil War, 1936 - 1939, can be read here
Quite a bit of restoration to do on this P-3A Orion, serial 22-26. While the Spanish Air Force has this Orion type-designated as P-3-7, the US Navy's designation would be P-3A (it's BuNo 150516 and this makes it airframe c/n 5042). After being delivered to the US Navy and operating for various Patrol Squadrons (VP-46, VP-28, VP-6, VP-4, VP-31, VP30, VP-62, VP-66, VP-99, VP92, VP-93) it was transferred to the Spanish Air Force in 1980
Most types which have served in the Spanish armed forces are represented in this museum, with some highlights being the Boeing KC-97L Stratotanker, Douglas DC-4 Skymaster, Consolidated PBY-5A Catalina and also this Lockheed P-3A Orion P.3-07 (22-26).
The Spanish aviation industry is represented here with the CASA 212 serial TR12A-3, code 403-01 (c/n B-1-1)|
The C.212 was a versatile light transport plane, over 400 airframes were produced (they were also produced by IPTN in Indonesia). Even the US Air Force operated these "Aviocars" ! In the Spanish Air Force it replaced the Douglas DC-3s and Junckers Ju-52/3m aircraft (CASA 352L).
The C.212 was developed in Spain during the late-1960s and the prototype first flew on 26 Mar71. Production of the Series 100 began the following year, powered by two Garrett TPE331-5 turboprops. The series -300 was first flown in Sep84. The series -400 was launched on the Paris Air Show in 1997.
The photo shows that aircraft are parked in a rather cramped style, making photography difficult sometimes. Also, the stewards patrol the area to guard against people walking on the grass among airplanes.
Another Spanish-produced transport: the Construcciones Aeronáuticas SA (CASA) C.207A Azor. Some 22 were operated by the Spanish Air Force.|
The tail shows serial T.7-6 and the fuselage code 405-15. The Spanish AF serials consist of a prefix (the aircraft's designation, e.g. T-7), followed by a type sequence number. Codes comprise the unit number and an individual number. T.7-6 is c/n 6.
This twin-engined commercial transport aircraft was developed for transporting 30-40 passengers (medium range and domestic use in Spain). It was modeled after the CASA C.202 "Alcotán". The "Azor" was developed as a low altitude plane and made entirely out of metal.
In 1951, the Spanish government ordered CASA to complete the construction of two prototypes in Getafe. The prototype first flew on 28Sep55. A total of 22 airframes were manufactured- aside from both prototypes, two series of ten aircrafts each. Equipped with powerful Bristol "Hercules" engine, the aerodynamically pleasing C.207 "Azor" could achieve a speed of 350 km/h. However, its performance fell short of the Douglas DC-4 with its top speed of 450 km/h. There is a good description of development and survivors on Paul Middleton's website, OldProps.
A Consolidated Catalina marked as DR-1 (code 74-21) and a Douglas DC-3 T-3-36 (721-9) are preserved here, in very good condition.
The PBY-5A "Cat" formerly carried tailnumber EC-693 and has construction number 1960. The Douglas C-47 has c/n 20600; the first of 67 C-47s were supplied by the US in 1954-55, by end-1976 the last few were withdrawn from service.
Michel Lozares Sánchez (Asociacion de Amigos del Museo del Aire) wrote a book in 2007 on the PBY-5A Catalina in Spanish service.
While written in Spanish it offers a huge amount of photos and is a recommended addition to anyone interested in aviation history.
A DeHavilland C-7A Caribou, its tailnumber is T.9-25, code 37-05; it also carries "25" on the nose. This airframe is c/n 53. |
The Caribou was an excellent workhorse in many air forces.
Elsewhere on the Cuatro Vientos air base a number of Caribous are stored; Roger Soupart went there in Oct.2008 and sent me some photos.
Click on the photo for a larger image--|
This DC-4 is hard to photograph, parked in a very cramped place with wings and tails of other aircraft getting in the way for a good photograph.
This Douglas C-54 (c/n 10366) troop transport is former USAF 42-72261 (later civilian registered N88934) and carries identity T.4-10, "Grupo 91" is seen displayed on the nose. On the aft fuselage it has code 911-10.
This is not a Junckers Ju-52 but a license-built CASA 352L, registration T.2B-211 and coded 911-16. Its construction number is 102
The Ju-52 was also produced in France (400), Spain (170, by CASA) and Hungary; this was after World War 2.
This CASA 352L has registration T.2B-254, coded 721-14 (c/n 145). Note the curtains.
It has "Lufthansa" titles on the forward fuselage.
The Junkers Ju-52 was the mainstay of the Lufthansa before and during WW2, for a large variety of tasks but mainly as a trooptransport and paradropper. Compared to the DC-3 (against C-47 versions it may vary) it fell short on capacity for passengers (17 against 21-32), speed (290 km/h against 333 km/h) and range (1500 km against 3400 km). But it was just as durable. Some 4835 were produced, but only 50 survived WW2 in airworthy condition. The Swiss Air Force kept 3 active until the 1980s.
The Ju-52 was on-third larger than the similar looking Ford Tri-motor.
Grumman HU-16A Albatross has serial AD-1B-8 and shows its former US Navy serial 51-5304 (construction number G-187).|
It served the Spanish in the Search and Rescue role and was based in Son San Joan Airbase (Mallorca).
The SAR Albatrosses replaced the Dornier Do.24T-3 flying boats, one of which is shown below.
Another Search and Rescue aircraft is this impressive flying boat: Dornier Do.24T3 HD5-2 (code 58-2, c/n 5341), it is huge and has been fitted with 3 engines.|
The Dornier Do.24 flying boat was produced during the early 1930s, initially for the Netherlands, to replace their obsolete Wals flying boats. The Dutch planned to build 50 flying boats under license for service in the East Indies.
The Do.24 had many of the characteristics of the earlier Dornier flying boats, such as a broad-beamed, shallow hull, semi-cantilever high wing with sponsons. With the onset of World War II, the Germans occupying Holland took over the building of the Do.24 and pressed it into service in the role of air-sea rescue/transport flying boat in the Black Sea and Mediterranean campaigns. It was a rugged and sturdy aircraft, which equipped 15 Luftwaffe Seenotstafflen throughout the War. It later saw service with Sweden and Spain, too.
Do.24 dive site near the Islands of Port-Cros.
Click on these images for a larger photo--
More modern, but still equipped with radial engines, is this Canadair CL-215.|
It has registration UD.13-1 and code 43-01 (c/n 1010).
The first 2 CL-215s were ordered by Spain's Ministry of Agriculture and were delivered with civilian markings (EC-BXM and EC-BXN) in March 1971.
www.aerovintage.com/b25news.htm wrote:" I've enjoyed some correspondence with Michel Lozares Sanchez regarding the B-25J displayed at the Museo del Aire at Madrid, Spain. There were a number of questions about the B-25 displayed there.|
The displayed airplane is actually TB-25N 44-29121, once carrying the civil registration of N86427. The B-25 ended up with John Hawke's Visionaire Intl. Co. in 1978 for use in the filming of the dubious-at-best Hanover Street as Brenda's Boys. It was later used in Yanks and Cuba. During that filming, it apparently was making a low pass at Malaga,Spain, hit an obstruction and made an emergency landing. It was subsequently abandoned, obtained by the museum for display. It was restored for static display and marked as B-25D 41-30338, though this does not seem to be the case based on current photos of the airplane.
The original B-25, callsign 74-17, was another B-25 which served in the Spanish Airforce and landed in Nador (North Africa) on August 4th 1944. It was military license no. 41-30338. It was interned in the Morocco Air Armory; some years later (in 1948) it was decided to put into flying condition and between 1950-1953 served in the airforce. Unfortunately without spare parts, it was scrapped in 1956."
History of c/n 108-32396
Cockpit section, T.4-5 C-54D (c/n 10824), ex Spanish Air Force.
It was delivered to the USAAF on 13Jul45 and was transferred to the Spanish Air Force in 1959, initailly serialled "90-9", later "901-5" and operating for Gruppo EM as "911-05". It reached the end of its service life in 1976
The Ejército del Aire received 6 C-54D's (designated T.4) from the USAF in 1959 and a further 11 were purchased through other sources (models including C-54, C-54A, C-54B, C-54G, C-54E and R5D-3). The last were withdrawn from active service in 1976 or 1977.
|Click on image to enlarge--|
This is the Spanish version of the famous Heinkel He.111H-16. It was first built with German JUMO 211-F engines and then, since 1953, with British Roll Royce engines. CASA obtained the rights to manufacture 200 He.111H-16's as CASA 2111's with British Rolls Royce Merlin engines. They played a major part in the Ifni-Sahara events of 1957-58. This particular aircraft belonged to 46th Wing of Gando (Canary Islands). Final flight was made 27Feb74, while it was delivered to this museum.|
These details were taken from the information board in the museum. The CASA 2111 operated (in the reconnaissance role) until the mid-1970s. They were replaced by TR.12A Aviocars.
Heinkel He.111E-1 "Pedro". Assigned to the Conder Legion in Spain in 1937, this German aircraft was so fast it could operate without fighter escort. A total number of 7.500 airframes were manufactured in Germany, France, Romania and Spain.|
This particular aircraft is the oldest surviving example and was operational until 1956. The museum received it in 1967.
The Condor Legion's nickname was "Pedro".
Click on these images for a larger view--
CASA 207C T-7B "AZOR" T.7-17 (code 405-17, c/n 17) seems like a good Spanish transport to end this walk around; below are images of other aircraft to complete the inventory as displayed outside. To really appreciate all the information available here, I think a 2nd and 3rd visit would be appropriate.
|Here are the military jets and various other planes, mostly outside and one of many others displayed inside|
How to get there ("3" is the museum):I was told to ask for a badge that would allow me to take photos, but apparently there was no need for one for me.
Scramble website has directions (click on the map for a link to their website):
There is no access from the airport to the museum and, as the map shows, one has to find the gate to the museum quite different from the access to the airport. The museum is surrounded by a confusing number of roads.
My travelguide offered the following adress: Carretera de Extremadura (km 10.5). Tel. 9 1509 1690.
As I had no car I had to find my way by public transport. Madrid has an excellent subway system but the stop 'Cuatro Vientos" falls considerably short of the museum. The bus is the answer. So I took the subway to Estación Principe Pio (Norte) and the bus to Cuatro Vientos (any service to Alcorcòn or Móstoles), asked the driver for "Museo del Aire" (euro 1,20); after only 10 mins we were dropped on the highway: the driver pointed to the large watertower and we crossed the highway by roadbridge; there is a military gate, but people for the museum can continue without fuss. The return is no problem either, busses pass here frequently.
From the highway the museum cannot be seen, but the watertower is a good landmark.
The entrance was free (I later read that this was only on Wednesdays). There was a small cafetaria for coffee and soft drinks, but no restaurant.
Opening hours would be Tuesday-Sunday 10:00 - 14:00. Certain holidays will close this museum, too.
The official website seems only available in Spanish: www.ejercitodelaire.mde.es
This website offers the lay out of the museum
Here are 2 files in Acrobat Reader: info and map from a brochure I received upon my visit (06Oct04).
Arjen Burghart wrote me in June 2006: "I recently visited the museum and as a result of this visit I found the link below. The website is in Spanish; it reports the DH89 coded 40-1 as EC-AKO with c/n 6345."
Log report Oct. 2009 by 'Phil' as published on Scramble.nl forum in Acrobat Reader (.pdf) format
"Spanish and Portugese Aviation", by John M. Andrade (Midland Counties Publications, 1977)
"DC-4" by John and Maureen Woods (Airline Publications, 1980)
Preserved Junkers Ju-52.
Spanish Military Aviation by Hans Rolink
World Air Forces - Spain
Surviving F-86 Super Sabres
Photos by Wouter