It was on the afternoon of 24 August that some members from the Consular Corps were lucky to have permission for a special group visit to the aircraft hangar that houses some historic aircraft and restoration enthusiasts.
The facility at Wing 41, the Royal Thai Air force base located adjacent to Chiang Mai International airport, has been in operation for some 20 years but with little budget the aircraft that have been acquired are in need of major renovations. The site is operated by Thai volunteers and restoration enthusiasts under the guidance of the Royal Thai Airforce. Upon our entry to the base, armed with our invitation letter, we formed a convoy to be escorted airside at the airport to the hanger museum.
The tour was conducted by the Thai airforce supervisor of the facility where he explained the planes, their history and significance. We saw old aircraft that were used over the years by the RTAF and others of interest like the C47 that was Lord Mountbatten’s command aircraft when he was in SE Asia theatre, Cessna’s that were used for areal surveillance during he Thai communist insurgency period and along the Laos border during Vietnam war, and a modified US aircraft that resembled the Japanese zero planes that were used in the film Tora, Tora about the bombing of pearl harbour.
It was a most interesting afternoon topped off by refreshments in the hanger chatting about the facility and the aircraft memorabilia. The consular corp is interested to support this group in its work to preserve and restore old aircraft.