Urban explorers and photographers are often excited when they come across an abandoned aircraft that they can explore.
No wonder then that a small plot of land near the village of Nagygyimót, Hungary, has become popular due to the fact that it boasts an aircraft graveyard with over 30 abandoned planes.
The site is only 600 meters (656 yards) east of the southern end of the runway of the Papa military airbase, one of the three operational military airports in the country. The graveyard is situated on an abandoned auxiliary runway next to it.
The airbase was built in the 1930s and taken over by the Soviets in April 1945. In the 1960s, the 47th Fighter Regiment was stationed there with 80 MiG fighters.
In 1997, the planes at the air base were removed from service. Such aircraft were outdated and were decommissioned as part of plans to transform the country’s armed forces. There were more than 70 planes on-site at this time. Some of these planes were sold to museums or collectors, but others were simply abandoned in nearby hangars and surrounding fields.
Those left on the Papa Airbase had their engines filled with concrete to make them unusable. The regiment stationed there was disbanded in 2001, the same year that Hungary became a reserve base of NATO.
Visitors can find five Su-22 and 29 MiG-21 fighters. All planes from the Soviet era and are currently owned by the Hungarian Air Force (Magyar Légierő).
The MiG-21 is a second-generation supersonic jet fighter, reconnaissance aircraft, and interceptor, developed by a Soviet company called Mikoyan-Gurevich in the early 1960s. By the 1980s, there were about 70 MiGs at this airbase. They are distinguishable by their traditional camouflage paint.
The MiG-21 was a popular combat aircraft in the Eastern bloc state’s armies due to its high engine performance, low fuel consumption, and a substantial range of weapons. The Hungarian Air Force alone had over 250 of these in operation.
Those on display at the Papa airbase include the MiG21MF, the MiG-21bis, and the MiG-21UM (a two-seater version, used for training). In addition to the MiG-21, several Su-22 fighter-bombers can be seen in this graveyard. These can be identified by the cartoon bumblebees painted on their noses.
Most of the aircraft are in a pretty poor state as scavengers take them apart a piece at a time. Due to the weight of the concrete engines, the planes are slowly sinking into the mud and will never reach the skies again.
The amazing images of forgotten MiGs in Hungary belong to the Broken Window Theory crew, namely Till and Marco. They manage to find beauty in decay while exploring abandoned places.
Till and Marco are sure that every forgotten location has got its own unique story, and they are always eager to find out why a place was abandoned. They share their experience on Flickr. Broken Window Theory is full of gorgeous work. You should definitely check them.
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