Deli Mike or Deli Mayk (English: Crazy Mike) is a given nickname to an Airbus A340-300 operated by Turkish Airlines with civil registration TC-JDM. Joining the Turkish Airlines fleet in 1996, the aircraft was used to operate long-haul flights out of Turkey and had a record of having strange technical failures. This unreliability gave the aircraft its nickname, which is a wordplay on the ICAO spelling alphabet.
|Deli Mike in 2013|
|Other name(s)||Deli Mayk |
|Owners and operators||Turkish Airlines|
The aircraft was re-configured in 2016 to only have economy class seats and was used to carry passengers to Hajj. Deli Mike was removed from the Turkish Airlines fleet in early 2019 and was flown to O. R. Tambo International Airport later that year and re-registered as 2-AVRA.
In late 1980s, Turkish Airlines wanted to expand to North America and East Asia. The Douglas DC-10s operated by the airline during that time were in the process of being phased-out, leaving the Airbus A310 as the only option for these routes. However, the Airbus A310 did not have the range to fly to these destinations and would've had to make a stopover to refuel. In January 1990, after examining two possible aircraft types, the Airbus A340 and McDonnell Douglas MD-11, an internal commission unanimously voted to opt for the Airbus A340 due to its technical advantages and cost benefits. On 27 March 1990, Turkish Airlines ordered five Airbus A340-300 aircraft, which included an option for further five. TC-JDM joined the fleet of Turkish Airlines in April 1996 and became the fourth A340 to do so. The aircraft was given the name "İzmir".
Technical failures and nicknameEdit
Shortly after delivery, the aircraft started to have "random" technical issues and failures. Sometimes, the aircraft turned its lights on by itself and turned them back off as someone was trying to intervene. Occasionally, the lights of the emergency exits were turned on one by one from front to back "like a Mexican wave", not all at the same time, which according to the cabin crew meant that Deli Mike "was in a good mood." The aircraft also made "small jokes" to passengers and crew. On one occasion, the aircraft started sounding the master caution alarm in the cockpit, causing one of the inexperienced cabin crew members to panic. Frequent problems with the aircraft include the reading light of a completely different passenger turning on when the button is pressed and the same issue also exists with the button used to call a crew member. One popular story among technical staff states that an employer fixed the faulty flight instruments of the aircraft simply by talking to it.
In the ICAO spelling alphabet used in aviation, the spelling of D and M, the final two letters of the civil registration of the aircraft, is "Delta Mike". Following the technical problems surrounding the aircraft, technicians of Turkish Airlines have swapped "Delta" to "Deli", which means "crazy" in Turkish, to reflect the characteristics of the aircraft, which gave the nickname "Deli Mike".
Turkish Airlines pulled its Airbus A340 aircraft from scheduled flights in May 2016. From July 2016 onwards, TC-JDM and other A340 aircraft in the Turkish Airlines fleet were used on charter flights to carry passengers to Hajj. The aircraft was re-configured to have an all economy class lay-out, without any business class seats. During the winter period of 2016, a heavy downfall in traffic caused the airline to temporarily ground dozens of aircraft, including Deli Mike. In August 2017, Hürriyet reported that Turkish Airlines expected to maintain its Airbus A340 aircraft and use them for the Hajj flights until 2021. Deli Mike was the oldest aircraft of the Turkish Airlines fleet as of September 2017.
On 22 October 2018, Turkish Airlines grounded TC-JDM alongside her sister aircraft TC-JDN at Istanbul Atatürk Airport. The aircraft was retired from the fleet of Turkish Airlines in early January 2019.  The livery of the airline was removed from the aircraft later that month. There were initial speculations about the plane being turned into a restaurant, as it happened to a few sisterships prior. On 12 March 2019, the aircraft was ferried to O. R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, South Africa. Subsequently, the aircraft was transferred to Avro Global, re-registered as 2-AVRA, and stored in Johannesburg.
According to technicians of Turkish Technic, the aircraft maintenance subsidiary of Turkish Airlines, "Deli Mike can fly to the other side of the world without any problems if she wants to. If she doesn't feel like it, she won't move even one metre on the ground." The technicians also removed and re-installed all systems, and reset the software of the aircraft in an attempt to solve the issues, without any success.
While criticizing Turkish Airlines in February 2018 for ordering new aircraft when many others are grounded in the meantime, Bora Erdin of pro-opposition newspaper Sözcü also added that the airline made "no clarification as to why the problematic plane [Deli Mike] was used persistently while unproblematic ones were on the ground", and pointed out to the frequent issue of the landing gear not retracting after take-off, causing the aircraft to return to the origin airport.
- Ayas 1990, p. 70.
- Kozlu 2007, p. 81–85.
- Kozlu 2007, p. 104–105.
- Uğur Cebeci (23 August 2017). "'Deli Mayk' 21 yaşında". Hürriyet (in Turkish). Archived from the original on 9 January 2020. Retrieved 7 January 2022.
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- "THY hangi uçakları yere indirdi?". AirportHaber (in Turkish). 3 November 2016. Archived from the original on 4 December 2020. Retrieved 30 July 2022.
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- "THY iki A340 uçağını yere indirdi". AirportHaber (in Turkish). 22 October 2018. Archived from the original on 26 October 2018. Retrieved 7 January 2022.
- "'Deli Mike'ın boyaları söküldü". AirportHaber (in Turkish). 28 January 2022. Archived from the original on 22 April 2021. Retrieved 7 January 2022.
- Ferhat Açıl (13 March 2019). "Deli Mayk Johannesburg'a taşındı". HavaHaber (in Turkish). Archived from the original on 8 June 2022. Retrieved 7 June 2022.
- "Dəli Mayk". Milli.az (in Azerbaijani). 6 June 2022. Archived from the original on 23 February 2022. Retrieved 7 June 2022.
- Bora Erdin (28 February 2018). "Uçakları hangarda bekleyen THY yeni siparişler veriyor". Sözcü (in Turkish). Archived from the original on 5 June 2018. Retrieved 31 January 2022.
- Ayas, İnanç; et al. (May 1990). VI. Beş Yıllık Kalkınma Planı Havayolu Ulaştırması (PDF) (in Turkish). State Planning Organization. ISBN 9751902436. Archived (PDF) from the original on 9 July 2022. Retrieved 9 July 2022.
- Kozlu, Cem (2007). Bulutların üstüne tırmanırken: THY, bir dönüşüm öyküsü (in Turkish). Remzi Kitabevi. ISBN 9789751411983.