“A Living Museum” Vivid Experiences at the National Aviation Museum of Korea

“A place to learn about the 100-year history of Korean aviation”

“Experience hands-on jet aircraft cockpits and air sports in VR”

Did you hear? A museum will be opening soon where you can explore the history of Korean aviation and enjoy air sports!


Looking for a place to explore the history of Korean aviation as well as learn about aviation technologies and how they will impact our lives in the future? Look no further than the National Aviation Museum of Korea located near Gimpo International Airport!

Even before its opening, the museum is the talk of the town with its visitor-friendly interactive centers open to all—from children and students to families. Curious to see if Incheon Airport is also featured in this museum? Keep reading till the end to find out! 😊 Let’s get started on our tour of the National Aviation Museum of Korea.

How was the National Aviation Museum of Korea established?

A hundred years ago, Korea was a barren land for the aviation industry. Now, Korea has become a member of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) as a country with outstanding aviation infrastructure. However, despite its highly acknowledged status, Korea lacked facilities to systematically promote and exhibit the history and artifacts of its aviation industry.

This is why the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport (MOLIT) decided to establish an aviation museum in their enactment of the Second Framework Act on Aviation Policies (2015-2019) in December 2014. The construction began in November 2017 and the museum will soon open on July 5, 2020!

The National Aviation Museum of Korea is designed with symbolic images to increase its aesthetics and merit. The exterior resembles the engine of an aircraft, while the inner skylight the turbine.

Moreover, July 5 is also the 100th anniversary of the opening of the Willows Korean Aviation School, which was the first pilot training school in South Korea. The school was organized in Willows, California on July 5, 1920, by the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea and Korean-Americans to give opportunity to Korean youths willing to participate in the Korean independence movement.

The opening of the school made the headline of the Willows Daily Journal at that time—you can also check out the original copy of the newspaper at the museum! The pilot license of Lee Yong-keun, an independence activist who was designated the first flight officer by the Provisional Government, is also one of the major exhibits.

As you enter the museum, you will be greeted by Narae, a character from an animation on EBS. Don’t forget to take a photo with Narae to remember your visit! Let’s now explore the museum in depth.

The past, the present, and the future of South Korea at a glance—sites of attraction for each floor

Once you step inside, you will feel fresh and nice as the sunlight shines through the turbine-shaped skylights. The exhibition halls on each floor are thematically divided by the past, the present and the future of the aviation industry of Korea.

On the 1st floor, there is an aviation gallery where you can witness the top aircrafts in history and various historical materials. The 2nd floor lies an exhibition hall of the aviation industry and an interactive center; the 3rd floor, a special exhibition hall, an aviation library, and an interactive center for children; and the 4th floor an outdoor observatory and a cafe.

Let’s take a closer look at each floor!

1st Floor – Hall of Aviation History

On the 1st floor of the “Hall of Aviation History,” you can browse the history of the world aviation and the 100-year history of the Korean aviation.

At the “Republic of Korea section, there are a total of four themes: “National Salvation,” showing the remarkable activities of the pilot independence activists; “National Defense,” showing the foundation of the Korean Air Force and their activities during the Korean War; “National Prosperity,” showing the country’s economic growth despite the difficulties during early civil aviation; and “National Power,” showing several cases of the Korean aviation industry ruling over the world.

You can also find exhibits that show the proud history of Korean aviation. 13 life-size aircrafts that show the changes and development in the history include: Standard J-1, the training aircraft of the Korean aviation school of the Provisional Government; T-6, the aircraft that was purchased through contribution and committed in the Korean War; and KF-5, the first supersonic jet that was assembled and produced in Korea!

Taking photos is permitted, so be sure to snap some photos of the aircrafts on display!

2nd Floor – Hall of Aviation Industry

On the 2nd floor lies the “Hall of Aviation Industry” where you can learn the present of the Korean aviation industry.

Here, you will not only understand the present and the vision, but also the development of aircrafts and its scientific principles. Aircraft manias will love this place because you can learn the basic scientific principles on how aircrafts are manufactured, their components and how to pilot as well as fly the aircraft.

You can also see the aerial view of Korea’s representative airport—Incheon International Airport! 😊

Museums are boring, you say? No way! Unlike other museums with dull exhibitions, about 40% of the National Aviation Museum of Korea is organized with interactive centers!

“Can you see the runway?

If you set the indicator in the instrument to the rectangular box, the plane will automatically land on the runway.”

Get a chance to become the first officer of the Boeing 747-400 Flight Simulator which is found in the Pilot & Control Room. The instructor who will help you is a former pilot with more than 20 years of experience, so wouldn’t it be reliable? It would definitely be a vivid experience for you!

The instructor for the “aircraft experience,” which includes safety and emergency escape drill, is also a former flight attendant. Here you can have a thrilling experience of escaping from the aircraft using a slide that unfolds in case of an emergency!

3rd floor – Hall of Future

At the “Hall of Future” on the 3rd floor, you can take a glance at the development of aviation technology and its future.

Here would be a place for children to grow their dreams and hope. You’ll witness everything you have seen in sci-fi books; such as solar-powered unmanned aerial vehicles, autonomous aerial vehicles, and more with cutting-edge aviation technology.

Various interactive centers are available on this floor as well. You can enjoy vivid experiences using high-tech equipment such as VR and simulators from “air sports” like riding a light-sport aircraft, paragliding and hang gliding to taking part in drone racing! Don’t miss the “Black Eagle Riding” as well, where you can pilot the aircraft of the Black Eagles aerobatic team!

There are also interactive educational centers that offer easy explanations for children: the “Children’s Creativity Center” where even toddlers can experience the functions and roles of an airport, and the “Aviation Culture Class” where they can make and paint things. This museum should be the best venue to play and learn for children!

* Admission is free, but interactive centers are charged. Reservations are required for interactive centers. Please visit the National Aviation Museum of Korea for more details!

Operation Hours and Directions

  • Operation Hours: Tuesday – Sunday / 10:00 – 18:00 (last entrance at 17:00)

  • Closed on Mondays, New Year’s Day, Seollal, Chuseok

(If Monday is a holiday, the museum opens on the day and closed on the next day.)

  • Admission Fee: Free for exhibitions / Charged for interactive centers

We have browsed through the different exhibitions and interactive centers as well as the past, the present and the future of the aviation industry here at the National Aviation Museum of Korea. How about visiting the museum during your family trip this summer? Thank you for your interest and support of the National Aviation Museum of Korea!

BTS Suga’s Latest Song ‘Daechwita’ and Incheon Airport ‘Walk of the Royal Family’

“Daechwita, Daechwita, play it loud, Daechwita!”

Any K-pop or BTS fan will have heard of this! It is the lyrics of “Daechwita” released this last May by Suga, a member of BTS, under the name of August D. The song’s title “Daechwita” is originally traditional Korean music that was played during the Joseon period when the king would take a walk, and August D’s Daechwita is a pop song reinterpreted in modern hip hop to capture the hearts of fans in Korea and around the world with a catchy chorus.

▶ Watch Agust D’s Daechwita (Source: Big Hit Entertainment official YouTube channel)

As August D’s Daechwita music video hit 10 million views in just 8 hours after being released, many people started wondering about the Korean music Daechwita. Let’s talk about what kind of music Daechwita is and why it is appealing.

What kind of music is Daechwita?

Daechwita is music played for the king’s walk or official procession. It was also played for not only the king but also public officials when they came to their newly appointed jurisdiction and for generals when they appeared for their public duties.

▶ Watch original Daechwita (Source: National Gugak Center’s YouTube official channel)

There is a special line in the official marching song Daechwita, indicating its start and end.

“Now, one hit, Daechwita (鳴金一下大吹打)!”

It means “Let’s hit jing once and begin”, and is literally a line announcing Daechwita’s start. August D’s Daechwita also has this line before the song begins. The person who shouts this line serves as a conductor in Daechwita, and is called “jibsa”. In contrast, the jibsa shouts “heonhwageum” or “heolageum” when Daechwita ends.

As a song played for marching, Daechwita gives a grandiose, majestic, and cheerful mood. What kinds of instruments are used to give such a unique mood? You can find the answer in the word Daechwita.

“Chwi” in Daechwita means blow, and “ta” means hit. Daechwita is played by wind instruments (blow) and percussion instruments (hit). Let’s find out what role each instrument plays to create a cheerful mood, shall we?

“Wind instruments” used in Daechwita – Nagak, nabal, and taepyeongso

Wind instruments such as nagak, nabal, and taepyeongso are used in Daechwita. Let me show what role each of them plays.

Doesn’t nagak look familiar? Nagak is an instrument made by taking out flesh from a large turban shell and grinding the sharp tip of the shell. It is characterized by powerful, low, soft tones like a foghorn. As it produces just one note without change in intervals, it gives a heavy mood.

Nabal is a 120-cm-long instrument. It is notable that the performer plays it with just the right hand. Nabal cannot play a melody, but it can produce a few notes as you can control its length.

Usually in Daechwita, nagak and nabal take turns producing single notes. There is an instrument that plays powerful sounds without change in tone, uses various notes, and boats a refreshing tone. This is taepyeongso, which boasts a high melody. It is the only instrument that plays a melody in Daechwita, and it is loved today due to its exciting tone. Taepyeongso gives cheerfulness amid a heavy atmosphere.

Percussion instruments used in Daechwita - Jing, yonggo, and jabara

Jing is a percussion instrument played by ringing its brass body. If you hit it once, its ringing is long and deep. Yonggo is a drum used for marching music including Daechwita. Its drum frame has a dragon painting. The performer hangs yonggo around the neck to hang down to the belly, holds two drumsticks with both hands, and hits it with the drumsticks from the top down. Jabara is a percussion instrument consisting of two bronze round plates. Let’s look at how these three percussion instruments are played in Daechwita.

“Now, one hit, Daechwita (鳴金一下大吹打)!” Jing is hit once after the above line, yonggo is hit three times, and Daechwita then starts. The percussion instruments signal the start of Daechwita.

Jing, yonggo, and jabara keep rhythm in the music. As jing’s sound is sustained for a long time, it broadly maintains the meter. Yonggo and jabara keep detailed meter in a song. Due to the percussion instruments, each of which plays its own role, Daechwita can be played more softly without losing its unique meter.

Daechwita spreading across Incheon Airport: ‘Walk of the Royal Family’

Daechwita—does it seem like you can only see it in a concert? You can also watch Daechwita in Incheon Airport, which takes care of the start and end of your travel in Korea.

Incheon Airport has performed the “Walk of the Royal Family”, an event which reenacts a walk of the royal family. In this event, you can see the king and queen walk with their people. Then, majestic and cheerful music is played as the king takes a walk in the airport. Majestic and cheerful music for the king’s walk? Can you guess what it is? That is Daechwita!

Since Daechwita was played when the king took a walk, Daechwita is also played during the Walk of the Royal Family in Incheon Airport. Isn’t it amazing that you can hear traditional Korean music, which has influenced K-pop, in Incheon Airport?

Simply watching it is not the end! This event has a photo time where you can take a photo with the performers wearing royal clothing and accessories. Although it is now suspended due to COVID-19, we hope to see a walk of the king again soon in the airport. Then you will be able to hear Daechwita once again.

  • Place: 3F, Duty-Free Zone, Terminal 1 (between West and East Halls of Korean Traditional Culture Experience Center)
  • Time: (1st) 11:20-12:00 / (2nd) 13:00-13:40 / (3rd) 15:00-15:40

* Performance times may be subject to change depending on the airport’s situation.

We have so far talked about Korea’s traditional music Daechwita. What is it like? Incheon Airport will be there with culture so that cheerful Daechwita can be played for your travel. J

How Do Airplanes Not Crash into Each Other in the Air?

This is a picture that captures airplanes while they are in the air. There are many airplanes flying in the air. Isn’t it amazing? That begs the question,

 “How on earth do airplanes not crash into each other in the air?”

There are no traffic lights and lanes, so how do airplanes not crash into each other? If you fly without traffic lights and lanes, doesn’t it seem as though you’ll get hit?

However, there is no need to worry. There are invisible routes in the air. In fact, airplanes are flying safely along airways, also known as “air routes.”

What is an air route, and how are they created? Today, we will delve into air routes, the secret routes of the air!

Roads and Air Routes have a Few Similarities!

Roads refer to the paths along which cars travel, and air routes are paths along which airplanes fly. But did you know that they have some similarities?

1) Like roads, air routes have unique identifiers, as well as two-way and one-way routes.

2) Like vehicles must drive on the road, airplanes must fly along designated air routes.

3) Like vehicles must pay tolls to drive on the highway, airplanes must pay “overflight fees” in the air.

Air routes don’t look much different from roads, right? But they have some differences as well! The biggest difference is that there are no physical signs in the air.

If that’s the case, how can airplanes fly along air routes without any signs?

"Waypoint," a Sign in the Air

Although invisible, air routes have their own signs! This is because they have waypoints, or virtual points on the map. Waypoints have an important presence, even though they are not visible! In the end, air routes are paths that connect these waypoints.

source: Airportal

Waypoints are coordinates consisting of latitude and longitude designated by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). There is a large number of waypoints on the earth, and air routes are the lines that connect these points. And airplanes fly safely along their designated air routes.

The ICAO divides the earth into 8 regions: Pacific, North American, Caribbean, South American, North Atlantic, European, Africa-Indian Ocean, Middle East, and Asia. Considering the territory and flight capabilities of member states, the ICAO further divides each region into flight information regions (FIR).

Korea designates air routes for civil aircrafts in the Incheon FIR of the Middle East and Asia Regions and provides necessary flight information. In Incheon FIR, there are 11 international air routes indicated by A, B, G, and R, and 5 Korean air routes indicated by V and W. Incheon Air Traffic Control Regional Office is in charge of traffic control for all civil aircrafts!

Most waypoints are named by the country that has jurisdiction over it. There are also some funny names that are unique to a few countries. For instance, Korea has waypoints named GUKSU, DOKDO, and JADOO. Aren’t the air routes made by these unique waypoints quite cool? 

▲Waypoint “DOKDO” and nearby waypoints (source: https://opennav.com/)

Leaving Along One Route and Returning Along Another Why Air Routes are Different When Leaving and Returning

Let’s talk about driving to a destination. There are many routes you can take, and the route you take will be different depending on the road conditions or travel purpose, right? Airplanes also have different air routes between origins and destinations.

There are many reasons why there are different air routes for leaving and arriving. Here are the main factors!

1) Use of a one-way air route

I told you that air routes are categorized into one-way and two-way routes. If the air route you take when leaving is designated as a one-way for safety, you have to use a different air route when returning, right?

2) Need for safety precautions

If there is a problem with the airplane, there must be an airport close by at which it can land. For this reason, airplanes cannot go straight to its destination, and instead fly along a route where there are various airports.

3) Different relationships between countries

Air routes may vary depending on the relationship between countries. You cannot fly over a country without obtaining permission. If you fly over a country after obtaining permission, you have to pay the country “overflight fees.” Isn’t it surprising that there are also tolls in the air?

4) Use of a “wind stream”

Like currents in the sea, there are also wind flows in the air. These are also known as “jet streams.” If you fly along the jet stream, you can get to your destination more quickly. It is difficult to fly against a jet stream it as the wind power is colossal.

Furthermore, keep in mind that air routes vary depending on the season or type and performance of the aircraft!

Why is there a time gap when you travel between the same places? Routes between Incheon and LA are not the same when leaving and returning. Many airplanes use jet stream air routes when they go to the US and great circle or Arctic air routes when they come back. When they come back, they go around the jet stream, which inevitably takes more time!

How Do Airplanes Not Crash into Each Other on the Same Air Route?

I know there are air routes, but what if multiple airplanes are flying along the same air route? “Distancing” is a way to safely fly along the same air route. This is the secret to how airplanes can fly safely without crashing into each other!

Airplanes fly at a “safe distance” between each other. Like vehicles driving keeping a distance from other vehicles, airplanes keep a distance from other airplanes both horizontally and vertically. The flight altitude applies differently depending on the airplane’s flying direction. Usually, airplanes flying east maintain odd-numbered altitudes and airplanes flying west maintain even-numbered altitudes.

There are some other methods that supplement safe distancing and help airplanes fly safely. These are called “instrument flight rules” and “TCAS!” Let’s talk about instrument flight rules first, shall we?

There are “visual flight rules,” by which a pilot flies an airplane based on the horizon in weather conditions clear enough to allow the pilot to see where the aircraft is going and “instrument flight rules,” which rely on the instrument panel regardless of weather conditions. Instrument flight rules must be followed in air routes, and communication between pilots and air traffic controllers is extremely important. When the air traffic controller informs the pilot of the airplane’s speed or distance and altitude from nearby airplanes, the pilot changes its altitude or direction to avoid any obstacles or crashes with other airplanes!

Traffic collision avoidance system (TCAS) also helps airplanes fly safely. TCAS is a system that uses a radar to inform the pilot of the airplane’s location. With TCAS, the pilot can know the locations of and distances between nearby airplanes without the air traffic controller. So, you don’t have to worry about the safety of airplanes, right?

Today, we have looked at air routes, the invisible routes of the air. Isn’t it amazing that there are also routes in the air that allow airplanes to fly safely? But this is not the end! Right now, many efforts are being made around the world to find new air routes.


Incheon Airport will pave its own routes so that it can become a safer and more convenient airport.

Introducing the “Airport Economic Zone”

“What is the Airport Economic Zone?”

This is a question you may have if you have never heard of this term. It includes the word “economic,” which makes it sound difficult to understand. However, it is actually not difficult to understand at all!

This term captures Incheon Airport’s great potential and possibility. It is a fact that understanding this term will broaden your insight into the airport industry.

In this post, we will take a look at what the Airport Economic Zone is and how Airport Economic Zone is related to Incheon Airport!

What is the Airport Economic Zone?

Numerous things are needed to run an airport well, and these things should all interact with each other and be constantly moving.

To begin with, we need airlines to transport passengers and cargo. But what about the airplanes that are owned by airlines? They require strict maintenance to ensure safety for every flight. We also need a variety of commercial stores that passengers can enjoy while waiting for their flight, and employees to run these stores. As many as 70,000 people work in Incheon Airport. To transport cargo well, we need a logistics park in which hundreds of companies are located.

Everything we mentioned above is only what is required for an airport – not to mention needs for various means of transportation to allow people visiting the airport to travel around the country easily. We need accommodations like hotels where visitors can stay and relax and infrastructure for meetings, incentives, conferencing, exhibitions (MICE). Tourist attractions that visitors can check out during their spare time would be icing on the cake.

Now, can you see the necessary facilities, services, and businesses expanding one by one from the airport like an ecosystem? This economic ecosystem surrounding the airport with the addition of infrastructure, related economic activities, and global business environments is referred to as the “Airport Economic Zone.”

You can understand it as the “economic zone around the airport.” It refers to a very large economic zone in which various industries related to the airport are integrated and combined such as aviation, logistics, and maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO), tourism.

It is an economic zone with synergy, which includes hinterland in which an ecosystem of complementary industries is established and related economic activities are conducted, through the establishment of an ecosystem for various economic activities with network connections and accessibility to the airport.

Scene in the Airport Economic Zone

For those of you who still can’t fully wrap your head around it, let us show you a scene to demonstrate how the Airport Economic Zone works in practice. This is the schedule of Tom, an American who comes to Korea for business.

[DAY 1]

Tom unpacks in a five-star hotel that is located 10 minutes from Incheon Airport and heads out to a meeting place. He goes to a MRO company in Global Airport Town north of Terminal 1 to sign a contract for the purchase of aircraft maintenance parts. After successfully signing the contract, he comes back to his room and buys gifts for his family in a shopping mall located 5 minutes away by foot.


[DAY 2]

The next day, Tom has a meeting with a sales manager from a global firm based in the Global Shipment Center, Phase 3 Logis Park. After wrapping up his morning meeting, Tom wants to spend the afternoon a little differently. He visits the Water Leisure Park near Terminal 1 with the manager. He enjoys the beautiful waterside park and has a great time in the water leisure sports experience space. In the evening, he enjoys a traditional Korean course dinner at the Traditional Culture Park, relaxes at the spa, and calls it a day.

[DAY 3]

3 days have flown by. Tom has 5 hours left before boarding. It would be a shame to waste such time. Tom goes to the multipurpose performance theater Arena Hall in the Landmark Complex, which is located 10 minutes away from the terminal, because he heard that his favorite Korean and British bands would be performing together here. After doing everything with a minimal travel time during his stay in Korea, he boards the perfectly maintained aircraft.

Does Tom in this scene help you imagine the significance of the Airport Economic Zone? If the Airport Economic Zone is properly implemented around Incheon Airport, any activity or business can be fit into your itinerary. You can understand that as Airport Economic Zone has a greater impact as Tom’s schedule is more filled, satisfactory, and broader in scope!

Incheon Airport, Changing the Airport's Paradigm

Incheon Airport is expanding its presence in the center of the Airport Economic Zone. It is never fully satisfied with its global standing, constantly reinventing itself to make new history. The changes in Incheon Airport can be largely divided into 3 paradigms. Let’s take a look at how Incheon Airport has evolved from the 1st generation to the 3rd generation.

1st Generation Airport

Incheon Airport focuses on building infrastructure for aircraft takeoff and landing and establishes convenience and commercial facilities in the passenger terminal.

2nd Generation Airport

Incheon Airport develops into a cultural space with leisure and entertainment (Airport City) by combining shipping, shopping, and business.

3rd Generation Airport

Various economic activities occur centered around Incheon Airport, investment environments are established, and new value is created. The airport serves as an industrial hub based on global accessibility as well as a hub of economic activities that have expanded to hinterland.

Incheon Airport is evolving into a 3rd generation airport! Incheon Airport is currently trying to become the center of the airport industry ecosystem as a 3rd generation airport. What makes this possible? The Airport Economic Zone!

Incheon Airport’s Scale Compared to Other Airports Abroad

There are so many airports around the world. You may be wondering what other airports have been up to. Below are some recent trends in other airports in the Netherlands, the US, France, and China.

Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, the Netherlands

Amsterdam Airport Schiphol established an airport economic zone after the Municipality of Haarlemmermeer, the City of Amsterdam, the Province of Noord-Holland, and Schiphol Group contributed 25% of the funds each to establish Schiphol Area Development Company (SADC).

Memphis International Airport, the US

Memphis International Airport used FedEx World Hub as an anchor to establish FedEx Cold Chain Center, cargo processing facilities, and logistic park hinterland. 130 global companies from 22 countries are located here, creating jobs. This case is regarded as one of the most successful airport economic zones.

Paris-Charles De Gaulle, France & Zhengzhou Xinzheng International Airport, China

Paris-Charles De Gaulle in France and Zhengzhou Xinzheng International Airport in China also built industrial parks and complex facilities and produced significant results under the names of “Airport City Project” and “Airport Economic Zone,” respectively.

“How is Incheon Airport’s economic zone different from that of other foreign airports?”

Its scale!

“Incheon Airport is the world’s first airport to approach the concept as an economic zone.”

Many other airports developed logistics pubs, headquarters of global firms, R&D clusters related to aviation, and education and training parks in the areas surrounding airport functions.

What differentiates Incheon Airport from others is that it does not simply develop its surrounding areas, but aims for a larger economic project, which encompasses not just Yeongjongdo and Incheon as a hinterland economic zone spatially but also, ultimately, all of Korea. That is to say, its scale is different.

Its scale is massive, so it will have a huge impact on the country’s economy. Right? Collaboration between stakeholders such as the central government, local governments, businesses, and institutions will be more sophisticated and delicate for the project. As the airport is preparing for this huge project, we look forward to the future it will create!

Today, we have looked at the basic concept of the Airport Economic Zone, and Incheon Airport located in the center of this zone. In the next post, we will examine in more detail the specific vision that Incheon Airport is picturing and implementing for Airport Economic Zone!