In September 2013, I travelled to the Auto & Technik Museum at Sinsheim Germany to review the Warbird collection on display. Sinsheim is a town in southwestern Germany, in the Rhine Neckar Area of the state Baden-Württemberg about 22 kilometers southeast of Heidelberg and about 28 kilometers northwest of Heilbronn in the district Rhein-Neckar.
This is the largest transportation and Warbird aviation museum in Germany. It has a great aviation collection including the only collection in the world to have both SST supersonic jetliners the Tupolev Tu-144 and the Aerospatiale-BAC Concorde.
I don’t necessarily agree with having an external display of most of the larger aircraft, as exposure to the elements will eventually destroy these priceless aircraft. Perhaps there is a longer term plan to bring them all down off the roof and inside? However in the current display you can enter these aircraft via extensive ramps and stairways built out from and over the exhibition halls.
It does, however make for an impressive display and I was particularly interested in the German WW11 aircraft including Messerschmitt Bf 109, Junkers Ju 87, Ju88 Ju52 and Heinkel He 111 to name a few. The quality of the Warbird restorations are a little rough but they are fine for most Warbird enthusiasts and at least they are displayed inside. The Focke-Wulf Fw 190 is apparently a replica, but looks the part.
The WW11 vehicle display is very impressive with many rare German tanks and other vehicles on display. Some are operational with the press off a button after depositing of a euro of course, including a Leopard tank. I am a bit of a German Tank junkie and I was very impressed with the tank collection which includes a tank that was recovered in its authentic state showing the damage caused by an armour piercing shell.
The Museum displays a Junkers Ju 87 Stuka wreck which is very rare and interesting as there are only 3 remaining aircraft of this type left anywhere in the world. It has been decided to preserve this aircraft in its authentic “wrecked and sea water recovered state” rather than restore it. It is quite dramatic and perhaps one day it will be rebuilt, but for now it is impressive as displayed.
The Junkers Ju 88 almost as rare but is restored and looks great. The cockpit and nose are reconstructions but the balance of the aircraft is authentic. The Heinkel He 111 is actually a Merlin engined post war Spanish example, but still conveys the image of the most numerous of WW11 German bombers.
Aside from the Warbird displays there are numerous items of World War 11 memorabilia, uniforms and military transport vehicles. This includes both static and diorama displays which are most impressive. You can really imagine what it was like in the North African desert campaigns.
The Sinsheim Auto & Technik Museum is a great museum and you will be entertained all day with plenty to see and do. It is not a purist Aviation Museum, but a great experience for a family day out. There are two excellent bistro style restaurants where the food is quite reasonably priced and a large gift shop.
The Sinsheim Museum is laid out as theme halls, with a large hall dedicated to the cars of all types and also includes large train and locomotives. If you are car enthusiast there is plenty on show, especially the F1 collection which is the largest in Europe. There is a huge collection of Mercedes Benz of all eras and the condition the entire car collection is stunning.
Attached to the museum is a factory producing Grob gliders and an airfield which features frequent take off and landings of gliders using cable drum towing which I had not seen for many years. I was fascinated watching the men working the winch in typical efficient Germanic fashion, being able to launch gliders about every 5 minutes.
Most visitors will likely travel to the museum via Heidelberg and this is in itself a beautiful little city with many historical sites including a huge castle on the mountain above the city and well worth the trip in its own right. I would also recommend visitors travel a little further to the Speyer Museum collection which also hosts a huge collection of aircraft. The Speyer Museum is about 20 minutes further on by road or train.
The website for the Auto & Technik Museum Sinsheim is most comprehensive. I thoroughly recommend it to all Warbird enthusiasts.
© John Parker 2013