Looking for Yankee Mike – A retired Lufthansa B-747-200

28 Sep

In normal times this would have been a weekend trip to Switzerland to visit Portmann cigars – the usual VW annual vacation bus trip…

In normal times – nowadays it is hard to predict what is normal and where you can travel.

Switzerland won’t let Belgians in without a 14 day Quarantine, so it made no sense for Frank and Jos to drive there.

Instead they planned a 3 day trip to the village. Question was – what can we do and Frank came up with a visit to the Sinsheim Technikmuseum, a place we had passed on our way south many times and that Jos wanted to re-visit.

I checked the museum’s website and found a reason to visit it myself, as it has one of our B-747-200 Jumbo jets, D-ABYM or Yankee Mike.


Checking my flight log I found that I had 31 duty legs or flights on that aircraft plus one as a passenger on the successor B-747-8 … and 2 interesting ones : A Dead-Head flight from San Francisco back to FRA after Mount St. Helen erupted and our Tokyo flight diverted via SFO in 1986 and one of the fastest Trans-Atlantic flights from Newark to FRA in 6h05 mins due to extreme jet-stream winds westbound in 1999 …

Nice to see that the aircraft had not ended up in the boneyard and been converted into frying pans and other things….

After arriving Friday in the village we had a good lunch plus cigars in Worms at Kolb’s Biergarten  by the Rhine river ( pity the weather has turned cold, it was 35C just 3 days before they arrived ), picked up some wine, said Hi to Andreas at the pharmacy and then had a good dinner and cigars at the Mussel winemaker apartment where Frank and Jos were staying.

Nest day weather turned lousy, windy and rainy. And it was worse at Sinsheim.

We walked around the really impressive large halls full of all kinds of cars, planes, locomotives, bikes, cannons, tanks, you name it and I was really keen on visiting the 747 …

Turns out they only have the tail and cockpit of Yankee Mike at Sinsheim – the whole plane is at the sister Museum in Speyer, half an hour away …

Call it a disappointment. From the outside, from the Autobahn it looks like the whole plane is there, next to a dozen more like the Concorde or the Tupolev Concordski … but it is a tricky mirage and I failed to properly check up.

OK, we went into the other planes and I swallowed my disappointment.

Even though Speyer is on the way back to the village, the weather was too lousy to stop there – I will visit another time.

So it was back to the Rhine river and a late lunch – back to the village and an early dinner plus good cigars and a bottle of Jack Daniels to combat the cold.

Sunday, after a good breakfast and loading up the VW bus with a load of assembled souvenirs from my 35 years of flying that I had to clean out of the cellar, Frank and Jos drove back to Belgistan – vacation was over …






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