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Day 2 - Turkish Airforce Museum

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I started the day with Borek for brekkie, a kind of pastry shaped like a womans hips which you received chopped up like little miniature sausage rolls. There was always a lot more pastry than meat but along with chay it sure beat lentil soup for the umpteenth time. The jovial boy at the tourist office had kindly written a wee note to the bus driver to let me off at the right spot for the Turkish Airforce Museum, well out of the centre by an unspecified airbase. The gate guardian aircraft on a nearby army base served to confuse me and later when the museum became obvious I waited for the stop which never came. With no turnoff apparent I prompted the boy and he let me off a K or so past the base smacking his forehead, he'd forgotten all about me. It was no big deal but I still had to walk back then risk my life crossing the busy highway, deja vu bigtime.

On the way there I spotted a flight of F-5s in the sky and wondered if it was the Turkish Stars, the Airforce aerobatic team practising for the Sunday parade. The museum turned out to be nigh on a carbon copy of the one in Istanbul, with the same aircraft on display, the same exhibits inside and the same rip off photography levy. And the same crafty dodge to avoid paying it. There were more interesting quotes from Bishop Wilkins of Chester regarding early flight: "If there really is a Rukh bird as big as the one Marco Polo of Venice saw in Madagascar Island with wing feathers of 12ft long, it can lift a horse or an elephant like cats that lift mice. And one of these birds can be trained to carry a man". What a guy, full of bright ideas. If only Marco had mentioned that the Great Auk was flightless! He continues: "In case the above mentioned procedures are of no use, I claim with the belief in reliable information, that a flying cart could be manufactured and the man sitting inside could take off the ground by certain movements. Maybe this cart could be so big that it can carry several people with voyage equipment". Man, dont you just wish you could dig the guy up and show him a 747 on take off! What a spirited soul.

There was a record of the Balkan Wars in which the Greeks used aircraft, the Turks capturing a seaplane after a forced landing on the Dardanelles. The Bulgarians used balloons. There was also the first incident of airborne friendly fire, a recce flight searching for the Russian fleet which had been bombarding the Bosphorus was shot down by the Turkish Jandarma, the 2 crew killed. Another important note was that upon the World War I armistice the resident Germans had decided to leave many surplus aircraft behind in Turkey. These were quickly appropriated by the as yet unratified Republican movement and made a decisive difference during the War of Independence. They founded their first unit in Konya in 1920.

I got to play like a wee boy in the cockpits of a T-33 and F-5, the soul surprise in the aircraft park being another Delta Dagger, but this time the TF-102A trainer version. Unusually for a fighter conversion trainer they had put the 2 seats side by side and it looked snub nosed, as threatening as a puppy dog. It must be a very rare aeroplane though.

I stuck my hand out at the first rampaging minibus that came by and miraculously it was going to the very street where my bed was, result. With the daylight I had left to spare I decided to locate the museums I would hopefully catch the next day, I also saw a pillar dedicated to Emperor Justinianus from the 4th century AD and the remains of the Augustine Chapel. Although only one wall remains it is historically important as providing the best source of the records of Emperor Augustus' reign, written upon it in both Greek and Latin.

I continued what had been a very successful day by having a very cheap dinner in a respectable restaurant near my hotel. Half chicken, rice, side salad, soda water, tea and as much bread as I wanted, it cost about 1 pound 90. I completed the day with my nightly ritual of 2 tins of Efes and stayed up to listen to some Turkish pop music on the radio. Some excellent stuff with a Middle Eastern lilt transposed in place of the usual dance music boom boom boom.

Posted by andyhay 00:00 Archived in Turkey

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