Tucked away in a corner, near Bogmalo beach at Vasco, is this unique museum dedicated to flying machines of the naval forces. I am not an army / military / war person. I often skip the armory galleries in museums, but this one promised to be more of a display of technology and more importantly an introduction to a subject I knew nothing about.
We landed at the museum as soon as it opened in the morning around 10:00 AM and met many small helicopter and planes sitting in the lawns as if they are having a conference. A small plaque in front of each of them told about their make, year of manufacture, height, weight and carrying capacity. To my untrained eyes and mind they looked like over sized toys, specially when there were these young boys who were all over them painting them and doing minor repairs. However I did notice the indigenous planes made by HAL, Bangalore among mostly imported ones. Some engines were resting in their engine bays. For more details refer to Goa Tourism page on the museum.
A model named Chetak looked liked an auto of the aviation world, with a capacity to seat 5 and a condition that quite resembled our yellow black autos.
A Hughes machine with its bulbous front made me feel it is the Nano of Naval Aviation.
Inside the museum, there is a large exhibit model of INS Viraat. This was the best part of the museum, as I would have never guessed how it holds the number of aviation machines on its platform and within its belly. Real life pictures of the same actually made me believe what the model was trying to tell me. A quote on the wall said ‘In the business of Aviation, Best is ‘Just Enough’’ and how you wish every profession took it that way. From the top floor you get a glimpse of outside display with the backdrop of sea and that brings in a whole new perspective to the museum.
Other displays included – safety equipment like ejection seats and parachutes, war equipment like torpedoes, bombs, radars & rockets, parts of the machine like the black box, Insignias of various units of Indian Navy. There is a picture gallery that covers the major operations done by Indian Navy including the Goa liberation. A set of pictures takes you through the various uniforms of Naval officers and I liked the navy blue Sari for women officers with an elegant golden border. A short film is screened at 11:30 AM if there is power – unfortunately the day we went, there was no power so we could not see the film.
A time capsule is planted right outside the museum – on the day when museum was inaugurated in 1998. We were told it contains pictures of the place as it existed then and an instruction on the capsule says that it would be opened in 1948 to compare the two times, and may be another capsule would be put in place. Interesting concept, I do not remember anything like this elsewhere.
There is a small cafeteria that sells basic foodstuff, souvenirs and a bit out of place things like Hyderabadi pearls.
Open 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM. Mondays closed.