The Junkers Ju 52 is a German airliner that first flew on 13 October 1930. During testing and refinement, seven aircraft were produced with a single engine, before settling on its final tri-motor configuration.

Designated the Ju 52/3m (for “3 motoren” or three engines), the plane typically seated 17 passengers and can fly as far as 998km (620 miles). Maximum speed is 246km/h (153mph or 133 knots), though it is more commonly operated at a more economical cruising speed of 209km/h (130mph or 113 knots).

Junkers Ju 52 Video

Following on from the last video about the unique Airbus A340-8000, this time we stay in Europe for a look at the Junkers Ju 52. First up is a short two minute clip of one in action in 2016 and you get to hear what the plane sounds likes.

Early customers for the aircraft included Aero O/Y (which today is known as Finnair), AB Aerotransport (one of the forerunners of Scandinavian Airlines System or SAS), and Syndicato Condor (which was eventually merged into Varig). Of course, Deutsche Luft Hansa of Germany operated many aircraft as well.

The skin of the plane is corrugated duralumin metal, which strengthened the generally rectangular fuselage. Passenger seating is arranged with a single seat on each side of the aisle, with large windows and a rear port-side door.

World War II

During the war, the Ju 52 was used as a transport aircraft. Enemy fighters were much faster, so the Junkers generally needed to be escorted to avoid being shot down. The short video below is from 7 July 1944 and comes from the gun camera of a US P-47 Thunderbolt.

While this sequence clearly shows aircraft being shot down, the entire film has an ethereal grace to it. After the war, the German transports continued to be produced as the Amiot AAC 1 Toucan in France and the CASA 352 in Spain.

Overall Thoughts

There were 4,845 Junkers Ju 52 aircraft produced between 1931 and 1952. Remarkably, they continued in service with the Swiss Air Force through to as late as 1982. Today there are around 30 scattered around the world in museums, plus some that are still flying.

Three aircraft remain airworthy, one each in France, South Africa and the United States. Ju-Air of Switzerland operated four on sightseeing flights, until one was lost in an accident in 2018. They are now upgrading the three remaining aircraft and hope to return them to service in 2023.

Have you ever flown aboard a Junkers Ju 52? How was that? Did you enjoy the videos? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.

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Featured image by Markus Kress via Wikimedia Commons.
Aero O/Y cabin by Aarne Pietinen Oy / Suomen Ilmailumuseo via Wikimedia Commons.