The aviation museum at Plovdiv is a branch of the National Military and Historical Museum and is located near to an active military base and to Plovdiv’s airport. The collection consists of more than sixty aircraft, chiefly military types made in the former USSR and used by the Bulgarian air force, and airliners once flown by the ‘Balkan’ Bulgarian airline. There are also helicopters, missiles and sports aircraft. A particularly notable example is a German Arado Av196 floatplane, known as a Shark. This type first appeared in 1938 and this example was sent to Bulgaria in 1943. Displays also include the space suit of Georgi Ivanov, the first Bulgarian cosmonaut, and the landing capsule from the SOYUX 33 mission of 1979.
Displays in the indoor section of the museum describe the history of aviation in Bulgaria, and, in particularly, the career of Asen Hristov Yordanov (1896-1967), who built a working glider while still in his teens, and went to France to meet Louis Blériot (1872-1936). After the First World War he went to the United States with the intention of competing in a round-the-world competitive flight. When it was cancelled he decided to stay in America and subsequently worked for several major air corporations.