Malta Aviation Museum

Malta has a very historic connection with military aircraft. The island’s geographical location in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, situated between Italy and the North African coast meant that it has always been an important place throughout history.

The military significance of Malta became readily apparent during the Second World War, as both the Allied and Axis forces realised that the island held a vital strategic position that could affect the outcome of the war.

Aviation-wise, Malta has a vast history, especially for an island of this size. Many Squadrons were formed here during the Second World War, both Royal Air Force and Fleet Air Arm, as well as South African Air Force, and many of these squadrons have badges that contain the Maltese Cross and/or the Red/White checks from Count Roger I of Sicily, that also forms the basis of the Maltese National Flag.

During the Second World War there were airfields located at RAF Hal Far, RAF TakaliAS1429 is the newest AW139 delivery to the Armed Forces of Malta (known locally as Ta’Qali), RAF Kalafrana, RAF Luqa, plus a dispersal at Safi.

Currently, the only airport remaining on Malta is the main International Airport at Luqa, also the home of the Armed Forces of Malta.

The old RAF airfield of Ta’Qali was located in the centre of Malta, and was used by the RAF until the 1950’s. Ta’Qali itself (pronounced Ta’Ali, because the “Q” in Maltese is usually silent) is now the location of the National Stadium, and also is home the Malta Aviation Museum. A visit was arranged here in March 2015, and our host was the affable and knowledgeable Ray Polidano who had agreed to show us round. The museum is located just to the south of the National Stadium, and is extremely well signposted and easy to find by car. Public transport (buses) is a very popular way round on the island, and there is a nearby bus stop.

Today’s Malta Aviation Museum is housed in a number of buildings. There a  couple of Nissen huts, which include the museum entrance, many displays of aircraft, models, artefacts and Vampire T11 WZ550pictures etc, as well as some storage and restoration areas. Between the two Nissen huts is an outside storage area containing a number of aircraft and other items. There is a large central hangar that contains the majority of the aircraft on display, and an additional “Air Battle of Malta Memorial Hangar” has been constructed next to this. After going through the visitor’s entrance, the first aircraft on display is a de Havilland Vampire T11 (WZ550) in the markings of Hal Far based 750 NAS, representing a Fleet Air Arm Sea Vampire T22. Behind this is a Hawker Sea HawkSea Hawk WV826 FGA6 (WV826), with Suez stripes, wearing the markings of 804 NAS. Behind this display area is a small restoration workshop, where a couple of Westland Sioux helicopters were stored. The rear area of the adjacent Nissen hut contains a storage area where many of the recovered aircraft parts are kept. Ju-87, Ju-88, Swordfish, Martinet, SM-79, He-115 to name but a few. Also here is the disassembled de Havilland Sea Venom FAW22 (XG691), which operated from Hal Far with 750 NAS. The rest of this Nissen hut is a substantial storage and workshop area which houses, amongst other things, a DC-3, Meteor, Bell 204, Beech 45 and Westland Dragonfly, all waiting their turn in the restoration process. In addition, a recovered and valued Spitfire Frame 19 with identity is also stored here, just in case!

Sioux XT175Sioux XT550Sea Venom XG691

C-47 43-15762C-45 52-10958AB.204 MM80303

Meteor WL345Dragonfly VZ962Restoration and storage area

The main display hangar is quite a substantial building, with plenty of space in to house even very large aircraft. At the centre is a Douglas DC-3, and spread throughout the hangar are aircraft with various historic associations with Malta.

Ex USArmy UH-1 66-0749Bird Dog 9H-ACBBell 47 AS7201

Dakota KN462Italian T-6 MM53679Italian G.91 composite, MM6387 forward fuselage, MM6393 wings, MM6377 rear fuselage

Meteor WK914Meteor WS774Lightning nose XN769

The outside storage area near the Nissen huts holds some larger artefacts that don’t fit inside the workshops, including two HP Hastings nose sections, recovered from a Maltese scrap yard.

Hastings nose WJ324Hastings nose WJ328

The final exhibition area is the recently constructed Air Battle of Malta Memorial Hangar which proudly houses their fantastically refurbished Spitfire and Hurricane, as well as the recently restored Tiger Moth. Also in here is a recovered Fairey Swordfish, as well as a Piper Grasshopper that is being restored.

Spitfire EN199Hurricane Z3055

Tiger Moth DE730Swordfish HS491Piper Grasshopper

Our thanks to Ray Polidano for taking the time to answer our questions and guide us through the museum.

An up-to-date list of Museum residents is available on EuroDemobbed

Museum contact e-mail address is

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