The Helicopter Museum in Bückeburg
In the German town of Bückeburg, located south-west of Hanover, there is the Helicopter museum (Hubschraubermuseum), one of Europe's leading museums entirely dedicated to the vertical flight. On an area of around 2,600 square metres, more than 50 aircraft and hundreds of models are exhibited, which together with photos and various technical papers retrace the history of the helicopter from its origins to the present day.
In Bückeburg for over fifty years visitors discover the fascinating world of the rotary-wing and the incredible progress made by this aircraft.
The museum was founded by Werner Noltemeyer who, in 1957-1958, during his training as a military helicopter pilot at the US Army Aviation school at Fort Rucker in Alabama, had the opportunity to visit a retrospective exhibition on the helicopter. It was on that occasion that the then young pilot and future museum curator developed a deep interest in the history of the rotary-wing. Back in Germany, with the agreement of the military base commander, he began to collect technical and historical material. Within a few years in the barracks of the Heeresfliegerschule, at the Achum airfield (today's army airfield in Bückeburg), a collection of historical and technical material started to grew. The foundations were thus laid for the creation of the museum. The latter was initially located in the area reserved for military personnel and could only be visited by soldiers, guests and school classes from the region.
Various builders became aware of the existence of the small museum during the helicopter forum organised at Achum Airport for the first time in 1961.
The collection expanded considerably with the display of various decommissioned helicopters. To these were also added various prototypes built mostly in Germany.
In 1970 the municipality of Bückeburg decided to make available the former Burgmannshof, a feudal castle of the Counts of Schaumburg first mentioned in 1463. It was at this time in history that Leonardo da Vinci designed the famous 'aerial screw', the symbol of the museum and the helicopter centre (Hubschrauberzentrum).
On 18 September 1970, the Hubschrauberzentrum e. V. Bückeburg' (helicopter centre) was officially founded.
1971 - Inauguration of the museum
The Hubschraubermuseum Bückeburg was officially inaugurated on June 9, 1971 on the eve of the 9th International Helicopter Forum. The inauguration ceremony was attended by Professor Heinrich Focke, the famous pioneer of the rotary-wing who in the 1930s designed the FW-61, an experimental helicopter that set several records and inspired other builders throughout the world.
In the following decade the models exposed to the elements began to deteriorate. For these reasons and to allow the exhibition to expand, new spaces were added to the original building.
The town of Bückeburg, which had always been an important partner for the museum's activities, provided additional space and subsidised the construction.
On May 5, 1980, during the International Helicopter Forum, the new exhibition hall was officially opened.
2011 - New spaces
In 2011, the museum's area was again expanded in order to display new helicopters. The exhibition was restructured and redesigned following a new concept and narrative line.
In the museum, as mentioned, around fifty helicopters are on display. Among them are some replicas of the first helicopters, such as the one built by Paul Cornu in 1906 or the Focke-Wulf 61 both exhibited in the new exhibition along with a BO-105. The collection includes: Vertol H-21C, Kamov KA-26, Kaman HH-43 Husky, SA 330 Puma, Bell 47G2, Bell UH-1D, Bristol 171 Sycamore, Eurocopter EC-665 Tiger, Hiller UH-12C, Hughes TH-55, MBB BO-108, MBB BK-117, Mil Mi-1 Hare, Mil Mi-2 Hoplite, SARO Skeeter, Sikorsky H-34, SE 3130 Alouette 2, SE 3160 Alouette 3, SO 1221 Djinn, SM-67 Merckle, SA 360 Dauphin as well as various prototypes built by Bölkow and other German manufacturers. In the showcases dedicated to the main pioneers of the rotary-wing, there are exposed dozens of beautiful models. The construction of these detailed reproductions required a great deal of research on the part of the modellers. This was also possible thanks to the vast documentation stored in the museum's archive. Here historians, journalists and modellers can find much historical and technical material. Museum and archive are constantly growing as new material is acquired from manufacturers, pilots and historians.
If you are curious about how the helicopter was born and evolved, the Hubschraubermuseum in Bückeburg is one of the places you should definitely visit!
Visit the museum's website, where you will find, among other things, various fact sheets on people who contributed in various ways to the development of the rotary wing.
Sablé-Platz 6 D-31675 Bückeburg