Museo del Aire, Madrid, Spain

Photos and Narrative by John Martin


This museum is just outside Madrid on the historic airfield of Cuatro Vientos. One of the earliest airfields in Spain, Cuatro Vientos was the base for Juan de Cierva when he was developing the autogiro concept. It is also a Spanish Air Force base and is the home the wonderful Fundacion Infante de Orleans, which operates a fleet of around 40 vintage aircraft, flying a selection of them on the first Sunday of every month, except January and August. See for more details of the Fundacion.

The Museo del Aire is a run by the Spanish Air Force and admission is free. See for more details. The collection of aircraft is truly amazing. There is a fine selection of aircraft outdoors many of which can also be seen at other museums, with the notable exception of a Dornier Do-24 flying boat. However, the real gems are in the 7 hangars arranged around the edge of the external display. They contain collections of unique and historical aircraft, mainly with a Spanish connection. Examples of aircraft used for early pioneering long distance flights as well as examples of Juan de Cierva’s designs are on display.

Inside Hangar 2 is a collection of aero engines, mainly from aircraft which have served with the Spanish Air Force. Exceptions are the Jumo 210 and 211 engines from "real" Heinkel He-111 bombers, rather than the locally built, Merlin engined CASA 2111 version. There is also a Daimler Benz DB 601 engine from a "real" Messerschmitt Bf-109, rather than the Merlin engined Hispano HA-1112 Buchon. For reasons that are not obvious, the engine is displayed upside down. Another example is sectioned and correctly displayed. In Hangar 3 are examples of the "real" Bf-109, a Merlin engined Buchon and a very rare Hispano engined Buchon, displayed side by side.

Also on display in Hangar 2 is an example of that favourite of most AEHS members, apparently, the P&W 4360 from a Boeing KC-97, an example of which is in the outdoor display.

Early jets are represented by examples of the Goblin, Nene, in the form of a J33, a J47 from a Sabre and a SNECMA Atar from a Mirage. A CJ-805 from a Convair CV-990 Coronado presumably came from the days when Spantax operated a substantial fleet of this fast but unsuccessful rival to the Boeing 707 and Douglas DC-8.

The Garrett TPE-331 comes from the locally produced CASA 212 light transport.