Report from visit to Royal Thai Air Force Museum 23 Aug 1993 If you are in Bangkok, and have the time, you really should visit this very good museum. It is located on the Phanonyothin raod near and just to the south of Wing 6 of the domestic terminal of the Don Muang airport. That's on the east side of the airport, the international terminal is on the west side by another large road. It's open 0830-1630 Monday-Friday and the first weekend of the month. Admission is free. My guide book gives only a short paragraph for it, and I was slightly doubful if it was going to be worth a whole day (taking a taxi the 25 km out from the city takes 1 hour, except when it's rush hour). I was not disappointed, there are 42 aircraft on display. About half well restored, but not to flyable condition, the rest in various states. Even the nice looking ones tend to have almost disintegrated tyres and frosted canopies. In some areas they have cheated, like painting a whole landing gear in aluminium paint, which hardly is what it looked like when the aircraft flew. There are very few people most of the time in the museum. I could only see one (possibly two) other visitors when I were there, and it could go 30 min withou any staff beeing visible. Those you see are helpful, but don't count on them speaking English. Most aircraft have a sign in English as well, but giving only sparse information (like the Thai signs) like make and name, speed, range, size and weight and time of RTAF service. Nowere is there any information on how many of a type they had. Displays of other things than full-size aircraft seldom have English text. The English spelling is often very erratic (Kaman is written as K-Band for example), most likely because there is no simple way of transcribing Thai into Latin letters, and the museum staff probably mostly have access to Thai source material (or can't read English). The museum seems to host other activites as well, R/C models were in clear evidence, and I'm pretty sure it was a regular squadron briefing room I saw in action on the top florr of Hangar 1. Hangar 2 houses lots of offices. As private aviation is not permitted in Thailand, I gather it's also the home of a state- sponsored flying club. Following is a list of the aircraft I found, with my notes: Hangar 1: Cessna O-1 Bird Dog Light grey, 6 roundels, flag on rudder, black anti-glare panel. Number 2604. Helio U-10-B 1963 U/s light grey, top sand/green/dark green. Tiny roundels on the fuselage side, no other markings. Propeller black on rear side, alu with yellow tips on front side. Briston Boripat 1927 Gloss dark green all over, except the area around the engine and the top side around the cockpits. 4 roundels on the wings, red/white/blue/white/red rudder. R/w/b/w/r diagonally striped shield with red disc with a white elephant with yellow trim. Grumman Widgeon-E 1952-56 Rescue Natural metal, underside of fuselage and floats black. Yellow nose and stripe around the rear fuselage outlined in black. 6 roundels, flag on the rudder. Piper L 4 1947-61 Natural metal, 6 roundels, flag on rudder. Stilson L-5 1951-59 Natural metal, 6 roundels, flag on rudder, green anti-glare panel. Beechcraft Bonanza 1951-54 White/blue/yellow/alu. Only a small flag beneath the canopy. Fairey Firefly 1951-55 Anti-submarine U/s and sides light blue, top black. 6? roundels and flag on rudder (couldn't see the top sides of the wings, as they were folded). Red spinner, propeller black with yellow tips. Fitted with external tanks. Armament stated as 4 x 20 mm + 2 x 250 kg and 2 x 100 kg bombs. Curtiss Helldiver S-B-2-C 1951-55 Black all over, 6 roundels, flag on rudder. Propeller black, rear tips yellow, front side outer tips yellow, then striped black/yellow/black/yellow as far as on the rear side. White band and white "4" on rear fuselage. The rudder may be dark blue. Armament given as 2 x 20 mm + 2 x 0.3 in. But it has large bomb bay doors open and provisions for four rockets beneath each wing. de Havilland Tiger Moth 1951-60 Yellow all over. 6 roundels and flag on rudder. Black prop with yellow tips on front side. de Havilland Canada Chipmunk 1949-52 White with dark brown trim. "Thai Flying Club" written on it. 4 roundels on wings, flag on rudder. North American A.T.6 (Type-G) 1948-51 Natural metal, 6 roundels and flag on rudder. Broad yellow bands on wings inside roundels and fuselage under roundel. Large flying school(?) shield on side of engine cowling. Prop black on rear side, alu with yellow tips front. Armament: 2 x 0.30 in MG type M-2, 2 x 100 lb bombs type M-1 or 5 x 30 lb type M-1 or 5 x AN-M41 bombs. North American A.T.6 1948-51 Natural metal, 6 roundels, flag on rudder. Red bull beneath the canopy. Black anti-glare panel. Prop alu with yellow tips on front side. White band around tail, bordered in black. Helicopters, all natural metal all over unless otherwise stated. Kaman Aircraft H-43-b 1963-72 Rescue Bell OH-13 1972-73 Black all over. Kawasaki KH-4 (Bell 43 G-3B) White underside, sand/olive top. Sikorsky H5A 1953-55 Westland (Sikorsky) S-51 1951-53 Hiller UH-12B 1952-60 Sikorsky S-55 1954-62 Engines, ejection seat trainer, firearms, models of buildings and aircraft, a small Tango Squadron gift shop. - - Hangar 2: Boeing P-12-E 1931 Alu all over, 4 roundels on wings, rudder r/w/b/w/r. Red headrest, prop black on rear, alu with yellow tips on front. Curtis Hawk 3 1935-49 Sign with "last one in the world" White underside, sand/olive top. 4 roundels on wings, rudder r/w/b/w/r, white band around rear fuselage. Picture of god/demon(?) on rear fuselage. Propeller alu. Armament: 2 x 8 mm MG + 2 x 474 lb bombs. But there are four smaller bombs under the wings.
Vought Corsair V-93S 1934-49 Sign with "last one in the world" White underside, sand/olive top. 4 roundels, rudder r/w/b/w/r, white band and god/demon(?) on rear fuselage. Prop alu. Armament: 5 x 8 mm MG. Four 125(?) bombs under wings. Vickers Armstrong Spitfire F.14 1950-54 Clipped wingtips. Camera(?) windows behind the cockpit. Aluminium all over, 6 roundel, small flag on the rudder. Red spinner and wingtips. Armament: Given as 2 x 20 mm + 4 MG and 1 x 500 lb + 2 x 250 lb bombs, but looked more like 4 x 20 mm and one bomb rack + 3 rocket mountings under each wing to me.
Grumman Bearcat F8F 1951-61 Dark blue all over, 6 roundels, god/demon(?) on fuselage. Red circle, small flagg on rudder, three red/white arrows on rudder and fin. Prop blue with yellow tips. Number 4312 on rear fuselage.
Breguet 14B 1918 White-yellow undersides, chocolate/dark green oversides, and one black field on rear fuselage. Area around engine and top area near cockpits aluminium. Thai numeral "1" on fin, rudder r/w/b/w/r, 4 roundel on wings. Prop unpainted wood. Thai text and numeral "1" on fuselage sides. (Conjecture: The first aircraft of the Royal Thai Air Force. Displays in Hangar 1 proclaims both this and a monoplane Nieuport to be the first biplanes in RTAF service.) Curtis Hawk 75 1939-49 White underside, sand/olive top. 4 roundels, rudder r/w/b/w/r. White band and god/demon(?) on rear fuselage. 2 circles can be seen as having been removed from the sides of the fuselage. Two simple (unidentified) gliders hanging from the roof - - Outdoors Douglas DC-3 White with blue trim. Number 76517. 6 roundels and flag on rudder.
Skyraider White underside, pale sand-yellow/pale grey-green/pale chocolate top. No markings except for FR AF 072 14 on the fin implies it's a previous USAF aircraft Beechcraft A-18 (C-45) 1947-71 Bare metal, windows beeing masked in preparation for painting when I was there.
Fairchild C-123 White underside, sand/green/dark green top. Very small roundels on fuselage side and tiny flag on rudder.
Nieuport (I'm not completely sure of model) Strangely enough, this fuselage is beeing stored outdoors. I could not see any wing, but the rest of the fuselage was painted green, rudder r/w/b/w/r. Undercarriage in its place. Could be one from 1918. - - Hangar 3 Fairchild 24J 1938-40 Natural metal all over, 6 roundels, flag on rudder, light green anti-glare panel. Wooden propeller with tips red/white/red/blue from the outside.
Tachikawa Ki 36 1940-49 Only identified as "Tachikawa trainer". Yellow all over, 6 roundels, flag on rudder. North American Rockwell T-28D 1962-84 White underside, sand/olive top (possibly one more green colour). 2 small roundels on fuselage, tiny flag on rudder. North American F-86 L 1963 Natural metal, green anti-glare, black nose. Number 1215 on fuselage, number 30681 on tail, 6 roundels and flag on _fin_. Tiger on the side of the nose, dark and light blue trim with white stars on the fin. North American F-86F 1960 Natural metal, black anti-glare, wingtips, tip of nose and cobra on side of nose green. Number 4322 on fuselage, 5060 on tail. Armament: 6 x 0.5 in, 4 pods of 7 x 2.75 in FFAR, 2 x 500 lb, 2 x 260 lb, 1000 lb, napalm and guided missiles. Republic F-84G Thunderjet 1952-63 Natural metal, 6 roundels, flag on fin. Green anti-glare panel stretching all the way to the base of the fin. Blue nose, tip of fin and decor on the tanks. Number 1231 on fuselage, 878 on tail. Blue diagonal stripe with white stars on nose. Red head of ferret(?) on side of nose. Bomb racks under the wing roots. Unidentified general aviation aircraft Unidentified genaral aviation aircraft with nose gear
TO.5, indigenous abandoned project, similar to a Bronco, but with a single pushing 3-bladed prop. White with blue trim, yellow bands on the fins. Intended to replace the O-1 Bird Dog and OV-10 Bronco. Lots of parts to make a Spitfire, probably the PM 630 PR.XIX (or maybe the PM 836) which were "found" when the Swedish AF museum were looking for a Mk XIX, and then promptly confiscated by the Thai Air Force. - - Hangar 4 Lots of models, uniforms, equipment and so on. Many dioramas depicting specific episodes, but unfortunately no English text.