The Emigration to the USA of One of the Biggest Biplanes in the World

Richard Franklin Bishop

© Copyright 2018 by Richard Franklin  Bishop

Photo of a Michael Manousakis with th Antonov AN-2.

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.

Since this event was first shown on European Television in 2016, it’s not really World NEWS any longer. The only reason I’m recording it in this archive for posterity is because I never heard a word about this from the Media back then — not even American TV. Maybe they considered it as just another aerial stunt almost as spectacular as those of the famed Evil Knievel and his Son Robbie.

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:

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.

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.


U-tube can fill-in you in with background if you want more information about the aircraft. There are scores of Google “blurbs” about it and its unique low stall- speed capabilities (does it actually have a stall-speed ?). For instance, in a 56 km (35 mph) headwind, it can fly under complete control and drift steadily backwards (in relation to the ground) at 8 km (5 mph) per hour ! That’s pretty good for a 3.63 ton aircraft.


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:

1. What’s the big deal ? Beginning with World War II, many, many thousands of aircraft have been shuttled across “the pond” in both directions.
Answer: I daresay that only a handful were so-called “War Surplus”. That engenders a hundredfold greater risk than ferrying a brand-new or professionally well-maintained airframe over the same routes.

2. What’s so special about the trip ? Military pilots have been moving Prop and Jet Aircraft in new overseas deployments for years and years.

Answer: The cited engine is an “Avgas Guzzler.” Fuel management must be really tricky @ 43 Gallons per hour and a normal range of only 528 miles (he had installed extra gas tanks to cover the longest legs). For this reason, way-stations had to be very carefully picked in advance – even for a modified aircraft fitted with extra fuel tanks for this longer “land-locked” route. Most such Military operations use aerial re-fueling techniques to eliminate the logistics of geographical fuel supply problems.

3. What’s so IRON MAN about his flying this aircraft ? 18,000 + were built. Say, if only two or three pilots were “checked-out” to fly each bird, that’s up to 54,000 human-beings over the years who were intelligent enough and muscular enough to make the aircraft “mind-its-manners” and obey them. If so many could do it, what about it is so special for one man to have the endurance do it ?

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.

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