Located at the
cradle of aviation in the Netherlands, Soesterberg, is the
Military Aviation Museum. A wide range of aeroplanes,
helicopters and artefacts are on display. This ranges from
documents, photographs to Spitfire and F-16. Of interested to
the collector of flight gear is the clothing and equipment
shown. From the early days until the modern day fighter pilot.
The exhibitions are located in two large halls, one showing
equipment from 1900 until 1945, and the other one the post-war
The clothing on display is also divided in to the two halls. The
gear starts with the leather (Roold) hard hat and long leather
(biker type) coats. The Second World War display shows us that
the Netherlands depended on the RAF for their equipment. During
the first days of the War it became clear that the Netherlands
Airforce could not make a fist to the invaders. While flying
their Fokker D-21 and Fokker G-1 aircraft, the pilots were
wearing the same steel helmets as the ground forces. After the
outbreak of the War, a lot of pilots escaped to the UK and
formed Spitfire squadrons under RAF supervision. This is seen on
the Spitfire pilot, wearing the C-type leather helmet and G or H
type oxygen mask. Also the famous leather-flying jacket was worn
together with the grey/blue battle dress.
The gear from post-war to present is displayed in a separate
exhibition area. The mannequins are fitted out with gear
representing most of the changes. In between are the matching
ejection seats. Missing is the Thunderstreak/Thunderjet flight
gear (P series helmet with A-13A mask and B-5 life preserver)
which were on display several years ago.
After the War the Netherlands Airforce received their first
Meteor jet planes. Still wearing the C-type helmet and G-type
oxygen mask, the gear on display also has the RAF style coverall
with woolen cuffs. A typical Mae West life preserver finishes
Next on the line
up is the Hunter pilot. Wearing a Mk-1A helmet and G inner
helmet the mask is of the A-13A type with bracket. The visor is
modified to fit the mask. The coverall is probably of RAF origin
as is the life preserver. (Also used during this time were the H
type mask and the Frankenstein type life preserver).
Then a big gap is
present, as the next one is an F-104 pilot in EFA high altitude
(For more information on this set see our separate article on
this web site)
also has a cockpit section of an F-84F with a pilot with Gueneau
316 helmet (this helmet was not flown in the Netherlands, only
used for the hypo baric chamber). A mannequin with EFA parachute
harness and HGU-26/P is hanging from the ceiling like an ejected
NF-5 pilot. On the other side is a display with a pilot between
his survival items, dingy and parachute. This mannequin is
dressed in present day flight gear. HGU-55/P helmet, MBU-12/P
mask and CSU-13B/P-NL.
Of the flying equipment from 1913-1920 (LVA, Aviation
Department) the museum has 6 sets in their collection. (Leather
coat, pants and helmet). From the 1920-1940 period, 8 sets are
available (jacket, pants, helmet/cap, boots). The WW II RAF gear
consists of 5 sets (battle dress, C-cap, oxygen mask, Mae West,
boots, Irving-jack). Besides these items the MLM has also the
following special items, an Irving-jack with yellow hood
(Coastal Command) and a Flak-vest as worn by 320 Squadron
The after war gear is fairly complete. Two Meteor sets and
coveralls, helmets, boots, G-pants, immersion suits all from the
1950's until the late 1980's. Two sets of EFA high altitude gear
are present. Missing is the most recent flight gear. Specific
Naval Aviation items are rare, only a few post war orange
"Carrot Suits" some helmets and survival items. The
ML-KNIL (Military Aviation-Royal Netherlands Indies Army)
collection is very small, only a few pre war items. One coverall
(1939-1941) and some items from the 1942-1950 period (coveralls,
flying caps, life preservers and boots). Most of these items are
not on display.
The museum has a technical library and a unique photo-archive.
Visits only by appointment. Guided tours are also possible, as
are children parties.
The museum can be reached by national highway A-28 Utrecht-Zwolle,
exit number 4 "Soesterberg/Soest". Follow the signs
that read "Militaire Luchtvaart Museum". Or from
Utrecht Railway Station, using regular bus service number 53
(bus stop "Kampweg" or Amersfoort Railway Station,
using regular bus service number 56 (also bus stop "Kampweg").
Tuesday to Friday 10.00h-16.30h. Sunday 12.00h-16.30. On Easter
monday, Ascension Day and Whit-Monday, 11.00h-16.30h.
The Internet URL of the Museum is: