Great range of (partially: quite unique) airplanes
Amazing effort to bring all the exhibits to Hermeskeil
Lovely Concorde Cafe
The next cities around are Trier, Sankt Wendel or Idar-Oberstein – the small city of Hermeskeil could be seen as the one of the hearts of German and European aviation collections – at least, it is home to the Europe’s largest privately owned collection of airplanes (and the world largest, Fantasy of Flight near Orlando is currently not fully available to public). On the last day of my Weird Al Yankovic and Grass Court Tennis trip, I made it to Hermeskeil from Luxembourg and visited the Flugausstellung Peter Junior – roughly translated as Peter Junior Airplane Exhibition (Peter Junior is the owner and son of the founder of the place). To make this place even more special: there is no major airport around.
You reach Hermeskeil likely by using the Autobahn 1. The town has an own highway exit. The museum is signposted and not too far away from the exit. The area is known as a recreational one. However, there are not too many attractions in close proximity. The most well-known one is the likely the memorial to the former Concentration Camp Hinzert.
The Peter Junior Airplane collection is opening from spring to fall, 1st April to 1st November. Adult admission is 10 Euro, there is no parking fee.
Peter Junior Airplanes – Some History & Facts
The beginning of the collection of airplanes in Hermeskeil dates back until 1973, when the exhibition first opened. The initial collection was a couple of technical items and one helicopter, the exhibition space, however, already was at the nowadays location. Apart from that there are hardly any major cities around, there was another problem with the location: there is no airport. If they were ready to fly, exhibits were typically brought to Frankfurt Hahn, Saarbruecken (SCN) or even Duesseldorf, disassembled and transported to Hermeskeil in pieces (where these were joined again). Only few helicopters got the exceptional permit to land directly at the grounds.
Nowadays, the total area of the exhibition space is 76,000 square meters, 3,600 of them are under the roof of one of the four halls. It is the largest privately owned collection of aircrafts in Europe.
Peter Junior Airplanes – Indoor Exhibits
The cashier and the museum shop (see below) is also the entrance to one of the exhibition halls – thus, you might typically begin your day in Hermeskeil with the indoor exhibits. You also see some major scale model planes in there, which were the in-fact beginning of Leo Junior’s aviation collection. The indoor exhibition also hosts a vast collection of airplane engine. The first eye-catcher regarding planes is likely the Junkers Ju-52. However, there are so many exhibits that I cannot name them all. On the pictures below, you also see a Bell UH 1 D helicopter, a Boeing PT-18 Kaydet or an F 100 F Super Sabre. There are also some special exhibits, including cockpit seats and minor scale model airplanes.
Peter Junior Airplanes – Outdoor Exhibits
The indoor areas are really packed with planes – but the massive grounds around them are also quite densely populated. One of the key exhibits you already spot from the parking lot is a Saturn V rocket. Other prominent exhibits (I am more focused on civil aviation, so I might miss some military highlights) are the BAC Vicker VC 10, previously serving as a government plane in Abu Dhabi or two planes formerly used by the GDR Interflug. The De Havilland DH-106 Comet formerly serving as cargo plane for the Jordanian airforce was another eye catcher to me. The gallery section will also show you the massive Mi 6 A Russian helicopter. Like many other exhibits, you are unfortunately not able to enter them. Unfortunately, some planes just do not allow that any more – another big factor is even more unfortunate: vandalism. The last pictures of the section below are taken from the Lufthansa Super Constellation, which allowed a spot inside.
Peter Junior Airplanes – Services & Cafe
Every aviation museum needs its museum shop. I have to say: the one in Hermeskeil was likely a bit of a disappointment, as the selection was rather limited. I guess how much they are able to sell there, but the space is very limited. Sanitary facilities are provided on several places around the grounds.
One very special part of the Peter Junior Air Collection, though, is its cafe: It is located within a Concorde with the registration F-WTSA, which is the fourth Concorde ever produced and the second pre-production one. However, the one in Hermeskeil is only a very detailed replica and thus fake (which is also clearly stated on their website). If you want to sit in an original Concorde, I highly recommend the Manchester one – however, you won’t have any coffee, cake or sandwiches at that place. The menu is limited, but it is just a nice atmosphere.
Peter Junior Airplanes – My View
Of course, I would love to enter more of the planes, see the cockpits, see and feel the interior – but you have to accept the (sad) reasons behind that it is not possible. Apart from that, the Peter Junior Airplane Collection is just massive and amazing. The admission price is also on a very nice level. Of course, getting into Hermeskeil is some sort of a challenge, but I feel it is absolutely worth it. Finally, it is an undoubted, well deserve Top Pick!
Peter Junior Airplanes – The Gallery
This posting is supported by a 193 pictures major size gallery: