A museum piece – in the truest sense of the word
Not scrap but a rarity: Brig. Gen. Burkhard Pototzky (2nd from right), Commander E-3A Component, hands over the instrument panel of a Boeing 707 to Dr. Ludwig Dorn (2nd from left), curator for aviation of the Deutsches Museum Munich, and Mr Harald Scholpp (1st from right), aircraft restoration specialist in the museum’s workshop. The handover was initiated by Lt.Col. Gero Ronneberger (1st from left), Chief of Flight Simulator Operations at the E-3A Component. Also present, Training Wing Commander, Col. Marco Francesco D’Asta (centre), who is responsible for crew training at NATO Air Base Geilenkirchen. He is pleased that parts of a former flight simulator will get a place of honour in the museum.
NATO E-3A Component hands over aircraft components to the Deutsches Museum in Munich
NATO Air Base Geilenkirchen. In February 2012, the Commander of the NATO E-3A Component, Brigadier General Burkhard Pototzky, handed over aircraft parts to the Deutsches Museum in Munich. At NATO Air Base Geilenkirchen, he symbolically handed over an instrument panel to a representative from the world-famous museum of science and technology. Later on, further cockpit parts will be selected and handed over to the Deutsches Museum.
In December 2011, the NATO E-3A Component decommissioned its last remaining Trainer Cargo Aircraft (TCA). The TCAs, which had served NATO for many years, were modified Boeing 707-320C aircraft. Boeing 707 type aircraft were not only used by the military, but had also been purchased by civil airlines. Civil and military aircrews were therefore able to use the same simulators for training. In fact, the flight simulator that was in use at the air base in Geilenkirchen for so long had once belonged to Lufthansa.
It was possible to reuse some aircraft components of the former Lufthansa simulator in a new flight simulator, and other parts were definitely “museum pieces”. “We did not just want to scrap these parts from our good old Lufthansa cockpit”, explained General Pototzky. It would be a shame, because the old original instruments have become a rarity."
It cannot be denied that in the course of five decades the once much sought-after “flying lady” has become an elderly lady. When the Boeing 707 came onto the market at the end of the 1950s, is was an object of prestige for civil airlines. In many countries the Boeing 707 was also used as a government aircraft. Two of the TCAs that were stationed in Geilenkirchen had formerly been used as “chancellor’s aircraft” in the Federal Republic of Germany and operated by the Special Air Mission Wing of the Federal Ministry of Defence.
For the Deutsches Museum in Munich, the decommissioning of the TCA and, more importantly, the dismantling of the old simulator can be considered a stroke of luck. The museum’s exhibits include the cockpit of a Boeing 707 built in 1959, and some of the original instruments are still missing from this cockpit, as these instruments have not been manufactured for many years. The museum will now be able to use parts of the old Lufthansa simulator to make the historic Boeing 707 cockpit complete – and hopefully aviation enthusiasts from all over the world will soon be able to admire a complete original Boeing 707 cockpit in the Bavarian capital. General Pototzky is convinced that “for aviation enthusiasts, this museum piece will certainly be one of the highlights in the museum by the river Isar.”