Address : Jalan Taman Siswa , Yogyakarta
If you want to know more about the history of the Indonesian Air Force (TNI-AU), come to the Central Museum of Indonesian Air Force "Dirgantara Mandala", usually shortened Dirgantara Museum. In the museum, you can see the various remains from struggles and historical events the Air Force ever involved with nearly 10.000 collections, including photographic documents and inscriptions, statues of Air Force heroes, documentary photos, uniform models, and dioramas. Besides, there are also many kinds of defense system primary tools (alutsista), such as weaponry, aircrafts, and radio transmitter and radar. They are displayed in seven rooms, namely Primary Room, Chronology I Room, Chronology II Room, Alutsista Room, Paskhas Room, Diorama Room, and Minat Dirgantara Room.
Dirgantara Mandala is the biggest and most comprehensive Air Force Museum in Indonesia. It occupies an area of ± 5 acres with the building covering 7,600 m2. Before located at Wonocatur, Yogyakarta, the museum was placed in the Markas Komando Udara (Air Force Commando Headquarter) V on Tanah Abang Bukit Street, Jakarta. The Jakarta museum was inaugurated by the Air Force High Commander Roesmin Noerjadin on 4 April 1969.
Based on the consideration that in 1945—1949, Yogyakarta held a very important role in the founding and first struggles of the Indonesian Air Force while was at the same time being their training center for the Air Force Cadets, the museum was moved to where it is now. The Central Museum of Indonesian Air Force was later merged with the Ksatrian Museum of Air Force Academy, which had been in Yogyakarta before. The inauguration of the new museum was carried out by Air Marshal Ashadi Tjahjadi on 29 July 1978, coinciding with the commemoration of the Air Force Devotion Day. At the same event, the museum was officially named the Central Museum of the Indonesian Air Force “Dirgantara Mandala”.
However, the location was then no longer accommodative for keeping the many collections. Dirgantara Mandala Museum was then moved again to a new place, an ex-storehouse building for a sugar factory at Wonocatur, which is located within the complex of Adisutjipto Airport. In the times of Japanese occupation, the roomy building was used as an armory and hangar for airplane and so it would certainly fit its new function as a museum. After having some renovations, the new museum was inaugurated on 29 July 1984 (again, coinciding with the Air Force Devotion Day) by the Air Force Chief of Staff, Marshal Sukardi.
At the museum, you will be first greeted by fighter and transport planes in the yard. One of the museum collections is Skyhawk A4-E fighter. Until 2003, the Air Force had operated as much as 37 Skyhawk A4-E fighters, before they were replaced by Sukhoi Su-27SK and Su-30MK fighters.
In the building, there are four founders of the Indonesian Air Force, namely posthumously Air Vice Marshal Agustinus Adisutjipto, Air Vice Marshal Prof. Dr. Abdulrachman Saleh, Air Vice Marshal Abdul Halim Perdanakusuma, and Vice Marshal Iswahjudi. These people have been officially recognized as national heroes and commemorated as the names of some airports in the country.
In the next room, you will get knowledge of the early history of the Indonesian Air Force. There in Chronology I Room, photos and information about the founding of the Air Force are displayed. Some of them are about the first flight of Indonesian Airplane on 27 October 1945 which flew in the mission of attacking back the Dutch; the founding of the first Indonesian Air Force Academy in Maguwo, which was headed by A. Adisutjipto on 7 November 1945; the founding of the Air Force of Indonesian People’s Army on 9 April 1946; and many air battles against the Dutch. In this room, also displayed are radio equipments and photos of extermination operation of some rebellions in Indonesia, such as DI/TII rebellion, G30S/PKI revolt, and Seroja Operation. In the next room, you can see different kinds of uniforms usually worn by the Air Force staff, including fighting apparel, daily uniform, and duty uniform for flying order.
The room that will likely astound you is Alutsista Room, which is where the weaponry is kept. There are fighter and transport planes, various models of airplane machines, radar, and guided missiles. There are tens of planes in this room, covering the American-made, European-made, and domestic. One of the most renowned fighter aircrafts is P-51 North American Mustang. Its history tells that the plane was used on different anti-rebellion operations, especially in the extermination operations of DI/TII rebellion, Permesta, and G30S/PKI, as well as in Trikora and Dwikora operations. Another interesting aircraft is a British-made, called DH-115 Vampire. This plane is the first jet ever flown in Indonesia, which was in 1956 by First Air Lieutenant Leo Wattimena.
Another important collection is the replica of the C-47 Dakota plane with registration number VT-CLA which was shot down in Ngotho, Bantul, by the Dutch when it was about to land at Maguwo, Yogyakarta on 29 July 1947. The plane departed from Singapore on a humanitarian mission, which was carrying medicines. The flight was previously announced and permitted by both sides (Netherlands and Indonesia). However, the Dutch shot the plane down, killing the four Air Force soldiers, namely Junior Air Commodore Adisutjipto, Junior Air Commodore Prof. Dr. Abdulrahman Saleh, and First Junior Air Officer Adisumarmo Wirjokoesoemo.
As said by F. Djoko Poerwoko, to honor the heroes, their names were used for a number of airports in Java since 1952, such as Adisutjipto Airport in Yogyakarta, Abdulrahman Saleh Airport in Malang, Adisumarmo Airport in Solo. On 29 July, the day when the heroes passed away was commemorated as the Air Force Day of Mourning since 1955 and later became the Air Force Devotion Day since 1961.
Central Museum of the Indonesian Air Force “Dirgantara Mandala” is situated on Kol. Sugiono Street, Adisutjipto Airport Complex, Sleman Regency, Special Region of Yogyakarta, Indonesia.
The museum opens Sunday to Thursday from 08.00 to 13.00 West Indonesian Standard Time (WIST) and on Friday and Saturday from 08.00 to 12.00 WIST. It is closed on Monday and national holidays.
Dirgantara Museum is on the east side of East Ring Road of Yogyakarta, precisely on the east side of Janti Flyover. It is probably 10 kilometers away from the heart of Yogyakarta and 5 kilometers from Adisutjipto Airport. To visit this museum, you can taka a city bus of route 7 (bus fare is Rp 2,500 per passenger) and get off before Angkasa Elementary School. From there, the museum is ± 200 meters away and so can be reached on foot.
Using a Transjogja bus, take the route 1A or 1B (bus fare is Rp 3,000 per passenger), then stop at Janti stop under the flyover. The museum is 500 meters away so you can get to the museum on foot or take a pedicab.
At the museum, each visitor will have to pay Rp 3,000 for entrance ticket.
F. Accommodations and Other Facilities
Dirgantara Museum has been fitted out with facilities such as library, auditorium, small mosque, and public convenience. There is also a roomy parking lot with souvenir shops and food stalls around it.
Text: Khidir Marsanto
Photos: Collection of Jogjatrip.com
Translation: Reza Daffi
(Primary data and various sources)