Raadi Airfield

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Tartu Air Base
Raadi Airfield 2009.jpg
Main runway in 2009
IATA: noneICAO: none
Airport type Military
Operator Soviet Air Force
Location Tartu
Elevation AMSL 223 ft / 68 m
Coordinates 58°24′18″N 026°46′36″E / 58.40500°N 26.77667°E / 58.40500; 26.77667Coordinates: 58°24′18″N 026°46′36″E / 58.40500°N 26.77667°E / 58.40500; 26.77667
Tartu Air Base is located in Estonia
Tartu Air Base
Tartu Air Base
Location within Estonia
Direction Length Surface
ft m
9,842 3,000 Concrete

Tartu Air Base (Raadi Airfield) is a former air base in Estonia located 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) northeast of Tartu. The land once belonged to Raadi Manor and is now designated as the new site of the Estonian National Museum.


In 1940 100 hectares (250 acres) were requisitioned from the Raadi Manor estates to create a Russian airport.[1] The airfield was fought over during the Second World War and the manor house was burnt during the Tartu Offensive.

The airport became a major Soviet bomber base for fifty years. The secrecy of the airfield meant that foreigners were not allowed to visit the city. Over 100 bombers were based here making it the largest Baltic airfield. This meant that the museum's collection had to be stored in places like the city's churches. The airfield is still seen as a reminder that Estonia was occupied by Soviet forces.[2]

It was a fairly extensive base with 24 large revetments and over 30 small ones. It was a Soviet base, home to 132 TBAP (132nd Heavy Bomber Aviation Regiment) which flew Tupolev Tu-16 and Tupolev Tu-22M aircraft.[3] It was also a transport base with the 192 and/or 196 VTAP (Military Transport Aviation Regiment) flying Ilyushin Il-76M cargo jets until 1990.[4] These jets were relocated to Tver.

On 15 January 1991, a Soviet Air Force Tupolev Tu-16K Badger crashed near Tartu Air Base, on landing when wheels locked up. Pilot and copilot ejected, but four other crew were killed.[5]


By 1993 it was listed as a designated emergency airfield on a Jeppesen chart for airline use although this is no longer possible as the runway has various used car lots preventing use by planes. On 16 January 2006 the winning works of the international architecture competition held to design the new Estonian National Museum building were revealed. [6] [7]



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