Royal Thai Air Force Museum

Visited it during a vacation trip in 1993. This text is as written in 1993. I used a cheap camera and scanned the photos in 1999, so they're not very good.

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

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

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
        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

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
- -

Douglas DC-3
        White with blue trim. Number 76517. 6 roundels and flag
        on rudder.

        White underside, pale sand-yellow/pale grey-green/pale
        chocolate top. No markings except for
        AF 072
        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

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.

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