Ju 52 owned and operated by the Commemorative Air
Force. Photo taken over Frederick, Maryland, USA in August 2000 by Gregory Witmer (Captain
Video Productions), from Larry Kelley's B-25 "Panchito."
History: By 1932, the German airline,
Lufthansa, had sufficiently recovered from the economic woes of the 1920s to put in
service a three-engine civil transport plane, the Junkers Ju 52/3m. Based on a short-lived
single engine model, the Ju 52 first flew in April 1931 and
quickly became the workhorse of both the airline and the reviving Luftwaffe, with a
standard passenger-carrying load of 17. During the Spanish Civil War, the Ju 52 ferried
more than 10,000 Moorish troops from Morocco to Spain, as well as dropping 6000 tons of
With three BMW engines of 725 horsepower each, the Ju 52 had
a maximum speed of 171 mph and a range of 800 miles. For air defense and tactical ground
support the bomber carried two 7.92 machineguns and could be fitted with a variety of bomb
racks as the need arose; the plane's trademark corrugated skin produced a very solid
By the beginning of World War Two over 1,000 Ju 52s
were in service; eventually a total of 5,000 planes would fly the Nazi colors performing
every imaginable mission from troop transport to mine-laying on all fronts. During the war
some thirteen variations on a theme saw improved radios, interchangeable
float/ski/wheel landing gear (indicating the wide range of Luftwaffe requirements), better
armor and engines, and heavier defensive armament.
In Spain, Casa built 170 Ju 52s for the Spanish air force,
under the designation Casa 352, and even France built the
airplane, under he designation AAC.1 Toucan.
Demonstrating the planes strength, three aircraft sold
to Swiss Air remained in service until 1981 and are still flying in private hands today.
Several others still fly charter and sightseeing flights throughout the
Nicknames: Iron Annie; Tante Ju
("Auntie Ju") (German nickname); Corrugated Coffin; Jupiter
(BEA Airlines designation of war-reparation Ju 52/3ms in 1947.
Specifications (Ju 52/3mg3e):
Engines: Three 725-hp BMW 132A-3 radial piston engines
Weight: Empty 12,610 lbs., Max
Takeoff 23,149 lbs.
Wing Span: 95ft. 11.5in.
Length: 62ft. 0in.
Height: 18ft. 2.5in.
Range: 800 miles
with auxiliary fuel tanks
Armament: Two 7.92 (0.31-inch) MG 15
machine guns, plus up to 1,100 pounds of bombs.
Number Built: ~4845
Number Still Airworthy:
Ju 52 Wikipedia article
Ju-Air -- Charter flights and
excursions in Dubendorf, Switzerland.
Historic Flight -- Offers Ju 52 flights!
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