Bengaluru Diaries: HAL Aerospace Museum

Ever since I arrived in Bengaluru I have stayed at my aunt’s. The level of fun I used to have escalated greatly when my cousin Vinayak joined us for a couple of weeks. I remember the fights we had for hours together as kids (The fights usually ended with me crying and him getting scolded for making me cry). We didn’t interact much for years after that. Now that we are both grown up, I realised what all I missed out on.

I have come to realize that having an older brother is really cool, once you grow up. Once you realize you share quite a lot of things and enjoy similar stuff, it’s like you have found a really good friend. One of the most memorable moments I have here is visiting the HAL Aerospace Museum here (HAL stands for Hindustan Aeronautics Limited). Although I had passed by quite a few times, I had never actually visited it. So when he offered to take me there, I was stoked.

The HAL Museum is India’s first Aerospace Museum. It essentially gives an insight into the progress and growth of HAL over the years. The company has an encouraging progress since 1940, and has played an instrumental role in modernization of the Indian Air Force.

Visiting the museum on a Monday afternoon was a pretty good idea, as there was hardly any crowd. We began with the Fighter Jet Simulator Ride. The simulator is the highlight of the place, and there is almost always a crowd there. Fortunately for us, my brother and I were the only people in queue that day, and it felt slightly special because they switched it on just for us. Although it was just 10 minutes, I enjoyed every bit of it.

After the Simulator we went on to see different displays of aircrafts. Seeing them filled me with a sense of wonder and pride. Maybe I feel a bit patriotic when I say this – I could feel the years of ideas, knowledge and effort culminate and take shape when I saw the displays. The feeling was indescribably fantastic. The breeze and the drizzle only added to the magic of the moment. My favourites there were DRDO Lakshya – a Pilotless Target Aircraft and HAL Ajeet – a Subsonic Trainer Jet and a Fighter Aircraft. The display of Sea King Mk. 42 looked just majestic. Looking at a smaller model of the PSLV with a scale of 1:10, I was amazed to see how huge the full size Heat Shield actually was.

We moved on to look at the engines models after that. The museum has a lot of engine models too on display. My interest was piqued looking at the Adour Mk-811 Engine, which is used in Jaguar Fighter Aircraft. Looking at the model (and thinking about the PSLV example), I couldn’t help but wonder how huge the engine would be in reality. We also visited the Heritage Museum, which captures the 70+ glorious years of HAL since its inception.

Needless to say I was really inspired by the experience and very thankful to my brother for making it the most memorable Monday ever.

For those of you who wish to visit the Aerospace Museum in the near future, here are a few tips –

  • The Museum premises are clean and neatly maintained
  • As the museum is not too big, it can be covered in a couple of hours, or 3 at max.
  • The museum is open to public from 9am to 5pm on all days.
  • Extra charges for still cameras are applicable.
  • The entry fee is really reasonable. It was about ₹10 per head.
  • The simulator experience was a lot more reasonable than I had imagined – ₹10 for 10 minutes.
  • Try visiting on a weekday (especially Monday) afternoon, as there is hardly any crowd.
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