There are not many history enthusiasts who can prove their love of history in practice. This website attempts to illuminate an unknown side of a well-known Greek entrepreneur. What most people do not know is that Mr. Minos Kyriakou loves aviation and he has a passion for historic airplanes
Minos Kyriakou was always collecting objects of historical significance, from small historical relics to big airplanes, and always dreamt of creating a collection he could be proud of.
About 20 years ago, his dream was starting to become true with the crucial help of Stelios Loumakis, who cultivated his love for historic objects and especially for historic aircrafts. Stelios Loumakis was Mr. Kyriakou's chief pilot. Essentially, he was the spark that gave rise to the love of Minos Kyriakou for historic aircrafts.
These two men were not only linked by their shared love of aviation, but were also bound in a long-time relationship of respect and love.
Stelios began his career as a pilot flying cropdusters (PZL-Mielec M-18 Dromader) for 359-MAEDY. However this was not just a work he did for a living as he had a great passion for airplanes. On the first date with his wife, he took her to the old “Ellinikon airport” to show her his favourite airplanes. In order to get his degree, he moved to England in 1976 and studied while working in a fish and chips shop to pay tuition.
Unlike many pilots these days, Stelios was fascinated by old aircrafts with all their peculiarities and difficulties and loved flying them. He wanted to feel confident with the planes he was flying and he was spending endless hours reading books, manuals, or even chatting online in the early days of the Internet to learn the secrets of each plane. Together with the engineers, he was always contributing to any maintenance work needed on the planes. As a result, he had no trouble obtaining the type ratings needed to fly these planes.
The creation and maintenance of such a collection of historic aircrafts would have been impossible, if it wasn't for the love for airplanes of Minos Kyriakou and the passion of Stelios Loumakis.
This private collection was born in 1994. Minos Kyriakou asked Stelios about amphibious aircrafts and the Catalina and Stelios described the plane and its historical value with big enthusiasm. This is when Minos decided to buy the first airplane of his collection, a PBY-Catalina.
The driving force behind this purchase was Stelios, as he was the one who did the research around the world to find the appropriate aircraft.
Minos Kyriakou always had a passion for historic aircrafts, and Stelios helped him cultivate it as he was always ready to follow every idea Minos had. A classic example of this relationship was the purchase of the second airplane of the collection in 1995. While on a business trip to Florida, they noticed an A-26 Invader parked in an airport. Minos wondered if the plane was for sale and Stelios quickly went on and made an enquiry. Very soon, he started the necessary procedures to complete this purchase.
The collection evolved with the purchase of three light German aircrafts, the Bucker 131, the Bucker-133 and the Fieseler Storch. These were part of a private collection in the U.S.A. which was sold in 1996.
Repairing and maintenance
The truth is that if one wants to have a collection of airworthy historic aircrafts, this passion is necessary. Unlike a static aircrafts collection, which does not need as much devotion, any historic aircraft which needs to be ready to fly on any day requires constant maintenance, a lot of studying, and of course lots of love. Certainly, the dedication of Minos Kyriakou on historical accuracy and technical integrity of the collection is essential, posing no budgetary constraints when it comes to maintenance.
The thing that all aircrafts in the collection have in common, beyond the thorough maintenance, is the absolute commitment to historical accuracy since the closer a plane is to its original form, the more accurate it is from historic point of view.
For the maintenance and repairing, this means that each airplane had to revert to its original form, no matter what changes it has undertaken during its life. Today, most museums have static airplanes, and what people see is essentially only the outer shell of the aircraft. In contrast, the aircrafts of the Athenian Aviators Collection participate in most air shows that take place in Greece and abroad so that aviation enthusiasts have the chance to hear the roar of their piston engines and to see them fly in the air.