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Junkers Ju 52/3m

As with most of the famous German aircraft of World War 2 the Junkers Ju 52 was designed long before the war and was increasingly outdated as the conflict went on, but kept in production from a lack of a proper replacement. Professor Hugo Junkers was one of the pioneers of the cantilever monoplane and the idea of an all-metal airplane, a corrugated skin being a trademark of his designs. This made the designs robust and well suited to the military environment but did pay penalties in increased drag.

The Junkers Ju 52/3m (nicknamed Tante Ju (“Aunt Ju”) and Iron Annie) is a German transport aircraft manufactured from 1931 to 1952, initially designed with a single engine but subsequently produced as a trimotor. It had both civilian and military service during the 1930s and 1940s.

In a civilian role, it flew with over 12 airlines including Swissair and Deutsche Luft Hansa as both a passenger carrier and a freight hauler. In a military role, it flew with the Luftwaffe as a troop and cargo transport and briefly as a medium bomber.

The Junkers Ju 52 continued in postwar service with military and civilian air fleets well into the 1980s. The aircraft has continued to be used well beyond that date for purposes such as sightseeing.

In its original configuration, designated the Ju 52/1m, the Ju 52 was a single-engined aircraft, powered by either a BMW IV or Junkers liquid-cooled V-12 engine. However, the single-engined model was underpowered, and after seven prototypes had been completed, all subsequent Junkers Ju 52s were built with three radial engines as the Ju 52/3m (drei motoren—”three engines”). Originally powered by three Pratt & Whitney R-1690 Hornet radial engines, later production models mainly received 574 kW (770 hp) BMW 132 engines, a licence-built refinement of the Pratt & Whitney design.

In 1935 the Junkers Ju-52/3mg3e was adopted as a bomber/ transport with bomb bays, which could hold 3,300 lbs of bombs and two 7.92mm machine guns.

Ju 52/3m T2B.212
Junker 52/3m-mg2e Wk-Nr 5489
Junkers Ju 52-3mg4e

Junkers Ju 52/3m-mg2e Wk-Nr 5489

Specifications:
  • Mark: D-CDLH
  • Historical mark: D-AQUI
  • Year of construction: 1936
  • Crew: 4
  • Passengers: 16
  • Engine: 3 nine-cylinder radial engines Pratt & Whitney, PW 1340 S1 H1G Wasp
  • Model: Junkers Ju 52 / 3m
  • Starting speed: 120 km / h
  • Cruising speed: 190 km / h
  • Top speed: 250 km / h
  • Maximum range: approx. 825 km
  • Maximum flight duration: 4 hours 20 minutes
  • Length: 18.90 m
  • Height: 6.10 m
  • Wingspan: 29.25 m
  • Starting taxi route: approx. 500 m
  • Land taxi: approx. 350 m

View from the Junkers.

This Junkers Ju 52 had its maiden flight in 1936 after being manufactured in the Junkers factories in Dessau. Initially employed by Lufthansa, she then spent almost 20 years alternately in Germany and Norway. In 1955 it was to be decommissioned in Norway.

Too big for a museum in Oslo, it was sold to South America and flew in Ecuador from 1957 to 1963. Then it threatened to end. On the outskirts of Quito Airport, she was forgotten – exposed to wind and weather – until an American aviation enthusiast released her in 1969.

Later, “Aunt Ju” was admired as “Iron Annie” at air shows across the United States before Lufthansa bought it in 1984 and restored it with great effort.

Lufthansa is terminating passenger flights with its Junkers Ju 52 in an effort to reduce financial losses associated with operation of the historic trimotor.

The airline has subsidised its vintage aircraft foundation, Deutsche Lufthansa Berlin Stiftung, with a single-digit million euro sum every year. This allowed the 83-year-old aircraft to be used for seasonal sightseeing flights with fare-paying passengers in Germany and elsewhere in Europe.

Lufthansa says that it had no prospect of operating the Junkers Ju 52 in an economically viable manner and is thus evaluating “alternative” options.

While continuing to fly the 16-seat aircraft for flypasts at air shows and other public events is an option, the airline says “a decision has not yet been made”.

Originally built in 1936, the Junkers Ju 52 was acquired in the USA by Lufthansa in 1984 and restored over more than a year at the airline’s overhaul base in Hamburg.

It has been used for public flights during the summer months since 1986 and completed a US tour during the early 1990s, for which the aircraft was disassembled and transferred across the Atlantic on board an Antonov An-124.

The 2016 flight season was cancelled, however, because the aircraft required a complex wing-spar replacement due to material fatigue.

Junkers Ju 52/3mg4e

Specifications:
  • Type: Transport aircraft
  • Engines: 3 x 725 hp BMW 132A or T
  • Fixed Armor:1 – 3 x 7.9 mm MG 15 machine gun
  • Top speed: 275 km / h
  • Length: 18.9 m
  • Wing span: 29.25 m
  • Height: 4.50 m
  • Weight loaded: 10,500 kg
  • Range: 1000 km

This Junkers Ju 52/3mg4e has constructor’s number 6657 and call-sign CA+JY.

On the 13 April 1940 this aircraft was deployed along with 12 other Junkers Ju 53/3ms in th transportation of mountain troop to relive the exposed German forces near Narvik in Norway. The planes landed on the frozen lake Hartvigvann to the south of Narvik, where 12 of them remained until they sank when the ice broke in the spring. CA+JY was salvaged in 1983 by a group of Norwegian enthusiasts and service personnel.

It has later been restored, with no little help from German volunteers from the Lufthansa, who regularly have spent time at Gardermoen helping restore the aircraft to its original condition.