The Emigration to the USA of One of the Biggest Biplanes in the World
Richard Franklin Bishop
© Copyright 2018 by Richard Franklin Bishop
Here I will record a modern aerial flight that mirrored Charles Lindberg's trip (but in reverse). It was performed by Michael Manousakis of Germany - a 21st Century Hero. It documents the courage of an Iron Man of the Airways and his Antonov AN-2 Flight from Germany to the USA in the largest biplane in the World. It is also written to keep the Reader “in the know” about what has been going on in the Aviation World, in case he hadn’t heard about it before.
Well now, since Manousakis did all the Piloting himself (with no stand-ins), I would not call “man-handling” a 7,260 lb. single-engined colossus through the air over the thousands of miles separating Europe from the USA “a circus trick”. Imagine Continent-hopping in any aircraft where all the instructions or technical data for repairs are in Russian or Polish and not even available at the nearest Airport or the Internet ! I doubt that the general public in America has ever heard anything about all this. And if they did, I doubt if they would realize the difficulties that were overcome in succeeding with such an odyssey.The lumbering aircraft he flew had once been owned by the POLISH AIR FORCE. There were 18,000 + of them built over the 54 years between 1947 and 2001; over 70% were manufactured outside of Russia in Poland:
“The Antonov An-2 is a Soviet mass-produced single-engine biplane utility/agricultural aircraft designed and manufactured by the Oleg Antonov Design Bureau beginning in 1946. Top speed: 258 km/h (161 mph), Cruise speed: 190 km/h (119 mph), Range: 845 km (528 miles), Weight: 3,300 kg (7,260 lbs.),Wingspan: 18 m (59 ft.), Payload: 4,720 lbs. (could carry 12 Passengers), Engine type: Powered by the Shvetsov ASh-62, a 1,010 hp nine-cylinder radial engine, which was developed from the Wright R-1820 that powered the Boeing B-17, Flying Fortress, Fuel Requirements: 43 Gallons per hour or 258 lbs. of 87 Octane Avgas. This type aircraft is now prized by collectors of classic aircraft, making it an increasingly common sight at American airshows, sometimes selling as cheaply as $ 30,000.00 before refurbishing. Many were really “plushed-up” into handsome airframes (sequential quotes from Wikipedia).
This trip took along: (1) a ferrying "Guide" named Tony Eyre who was brought along for a safe ride (he has been accompanying ferrying flights as “an Advisor for hire” for all of 50 years now) and: (2) a TV Cameraman for the documentation as two episodes of a TV Program.
It was all part of a German Serial Television Program entitled "STEEL BUDDIES" and it is still on the air weekly; broadcast by a German TV Station called D-Max.
This season it has appeared in “Prime Time” at 20:15 hours; the two TV episodes showing the amazing trip featured in this article were re-broadcast on Tuesday, 3 April, 2018 (Preparations for the trip) and then again on Saturday, 7 April, 2018 (The actual trip).
The German TV guide BILD + FUNK says:
“D-2016, Flight over the Atlantic (1/ 2) – Michael Manousakis flies an Antonov AN-2 from Mendig (a town) in Rheinland-Pfalz (a State in Germany) in the direction of the USA”.The Itinerary as shown in U-Tube is displayed below. At 190 km (119 mph) Cruising Speed, that’s about 55 hours flying time for the 6,519 miles spread over four days !
The land-hugging circular route:
Miles (as the Crow flies)
Mendig, Germany Start Accumulative
Wick, Scotland 1,119 1,119
Reykjavik, Iceland 1,184 2,303
Narsarsuaq, Greenland 1,238 3,541
Sept-Îles, Quebec 1,778 5,319
Westchester, New York 1,200 6,519
This gutsy trip in an ancient 41 year old aircraft and his other salvage adventures are also featured in the USA on U-Tube (in the German language).The aircraft type Antonov AN-2 is also featured on U-Tube many, many times. The Nine (9)-cylinder “startup” is especially dramatic; noisy and smoky.
Our modern Hero, Michael Manousakis, is a hobby pilot who also owns a giant salvage yard named MORLOCK MOTORS located in Westerwald, Germany. He successfully buys and sells old and new Military vehicles (also School Buses) - no matter what the size or condition. He now has over a thousand vehicles parked there. He imports a large percentage of these from the USA.
Our German hobby pilot had learned to fly in Europe. He rehearsed for the long one-way Germany to USA over-water flights by making an AN-2 flight from Germany to the Island of Mallorca and back. Early-on, he made a special trip to Florida via Commercial Airlines to study and practice for a multi-engine rating for an eventual twin-engined aircraft return- to-Europe flight.
The Pilot used the AN-2 for several months after arriving in America by flying around and arranging the transportation of many School Buses and Military Vehicles from several points on the USA East Coast (ranging as far away as Oklahoma City, Oklahoma) to his European Salvage Company in Germany. He then sold the AN-2; bought an Amphibious twin-engined aircraft and ferried it to Germany.
LETS HEAR IT FOR MICHAEL MANOUSAKIS !
SO, LETS HEAR IT FOR THE ANTONOV AN-2 !
For pictures, call up Google Images with this LINK:
Then type: “michael manousakis antonov” into the address box and sit back and watch the hundreds of images.As an aside, one snapshot of the emigrating Antonov AN-2 aircraft over New York City (scroll on down to the tenth row of pictures) puts one in mind of the words on the base of the Statue of Liberty:
"Give me your tired, your poor
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
Here’s another LINK for the trip, itself (video duration: 44 minutes and 30 seconds):
What some Military and/or Professional Pilots or any detractors might say:
Answer: Simply put, it’s just a great short-range aircraft — perfect for crop-dusting (among other things) ! In the long distance rehearsal flight, if you could just see the TV film of Mr. Manousakis and how “beat” & wilted he was from flying the 8.4 hours from Mendig, Germany to the Island of Mallorca (about 1,600 km or 1,000 miles due south to the Mediterranean Sea – located off the east coast of Spain), then you would not proceed further along these lines to detract from or to minimize his accomplishment.