The history of RKIIGA dates back to 24 May 1919, when a mechanical engineers’ school was established in Kiev, Ukraine to train aircraft maintenance specialists. In the same year, the school was transferred to Moscow and later, in 1921, to Petrograd.
The first graduation of mechanical engineers was in January 1921, while the first graduates of a four-year programme completed their studies in August 1923. The school was virtually the only educational establishment of its type in the country.
With the rapid development of aviation and the increasing demand for aviation specialists, in 1934 the school started offering a course in the development of Air Force technical staff, and in 1938 the school, along with the course, was renamed the First Leningrad Military Aviation Engineering School for Aircraft Maintenance Engineers.
In 1945, the First and the Second Leningrad Military Aviation Engineering Schools were moved to Riga. The First School was located in the Moscow Suburb at No. 2 Lomonosova Street (Campus 2) and the Second School in the former prison and citadel near the city’s garrison headquarters (Campus 8).
In late 1946, they were transformed into higher military aviation education establishments and were named, respectively, the First Leningrad Red Banner Higher Aviation Engineering Military School of Voroshilov with two faculties: engineering (mechanical) and electrical/instruments (electrical technology), and the Second Leningrad Red Banner Higher Aviation Engineering Military School of Lenin Komsomol, which also had two faculties: radio engineering and aircraft armament.
Obviously, the names of the schools did not correspond to their actual location and in 1949 they were merged into one, which was named Riga Red Banner Higher Military Engineering Aviation School of Voroshilov (РКВИАВУ) with four faculties. Later, the school was renamed after Lenin Komsomol.
In June 1960, the Council of Ministers of the USSR issued a decree to reorganise the school into a civil university – Riga Civil Air Fleet Engineers Institute with three faculties: mechanical, electrical engineering and radio engineering. These were later joined by the engineering-economy faculty and the automation and computer engineering faculty, formed on the basis of the electrical engineering faculty.
The institute was in dynamic development. The laboratories and training facilities were equipped with the latest technology, the students completed their internships at aircraft manufacturing, aviation engine manufacturing and aircraft repair enterprises of the USSR. From 1960 to 1992, RKIIGA prepared approximately 20 thousand civil aviation specialists, including hundreds from 80 countries of Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America.
On 25 February 1992, RKIIGA changed its status, came under the jurisdiction of the Republic of Latvia and became Riga Aviation University (RAU).
After RAU was closed in August 1999, the Aviation Institute and the Transport Machinery Technology Institute, both formed from RAU, were incorporated into Riga Technical University. Some members of the staff went on to work at the University of Latvia and the Information Systems Management Institute. The majority of the staff became employees of the new Transport and Telecommunications Institute established on 6 September 1999.
Learn more about the history of RKIIGA-RAU on the site of the RKIIGA-RAU museum.