Nepal’s first aircraft museum is set to open in Dhangadhi on September 17 with an aim at providing visitors with a chance to learn about aviation.
The operator claims it will be the world’s first miniature aircraft museum in a jet aircraft.
An 11-day aircraft museum expo has also been announced from Sept 17 that will showcase photos of 30 famous tourist destinations across the world, including items of historic and archaeological importance collected from the Far-west region of Nepal.
The operator said at a programme here on Saturday the expo will also provide visitors a chance to observe how communication is made between the pilot and air traffic controller inside the cockpit.
Unlike open space aviation museums that display numerous aircraft, this museum is inside a 100-seater Fokker aircraft that once belonged to now-defunct Cosmic Air. The jet is 35.53m long and 8.50m tall. Its cabin is 3.10m wide and 2.01m tall. “The museum will display 200 miniature aircraft models or designs of aircraft, including Wright brothers’ aeroplane of 1903 and modern aircraft,” said Captain Bed Upreti, promoter of the museum. A 60-inch TV inside the aircraft will showcase documentaries on the aircraft museum. Upreti, who served as a commercial pilot for Necon Air and India’s Kingfisher Airlines, said the project was completed at a cost of Rs 12.5 million and it took almost six months to complete. “The museum will provide information on flying and the world’s aviation history, which we expect will attract students as well as tourists,” said Upreti, who is currently a senior instructor pilot with Indonesia-based Lion Air.
He said the initiative to “change the trash into cash” came into his mind after he saw a notice of the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (Caan) that had put the aircraft under the hammer.
Last year, Caan decided to open an aviation museum and exhibit aircraft like Fokker, Dornier, Avro and others that have lain abandoned after failing to sell them for scrap. Caan had planned to set up the museum at its Radar Training Centre located in Sano Thimi, Bhaktapur, with an aim to attract students and researchers, but the plan failed after the Finance Ministry’s reluctance to allocate funds. The proposed museum was estimated to cost around Rs 4 million.
“The money collected will be donated for the treatment of cancer patients and offer scholarships to students in the Far-west, Upreti said. According to Upreti, the dumped aircraft cost Rs 7 million and it took five days to take it to Dhangadhi at a cost of Rs 500,000. The entrance fee for the expo has been set Rs 100 for general visitors and Rs 50 for students.