The Junkers Ju 52 was the most popular European-made transport aircraft before World War II. This 18-seat plane was manufactured in Germany, France, Spain and Hungary; altogether 4,845 of them were made. The aircraft made its first flight in 1932 and became the most widely used freight aircraft in the Luftwaffe in World War II.
Tante Ju (´Auntie Ju´), as it was nicknamed by German pilots, was finally retired in 1981 in Switzerland. However, it is still a popular exhibit of aviation museums and air shows.
Characteristics of Junkers Ju 52/3m
The cargo aircraft was operated by a crew of 3: two pilots and a radio operator. The aircraft measured about 18 m in length, 5 m in height, with a wingspan of nearly 30 m. The wing area was 110.5 m². The most impressive data are related to its cargo capacity. While the empty weight was 6,510 kg, the maximum takeoff weight was 10,990 kg (including fuel), that is, it could carry nearly 4.5 tonnes of cargo. ´Tante Ju´ was powered by three BMW 132T radial engines. (A radial engine is a reciprocating type internal combustion engine in which the cylinders are arranged in a star-like configuration, pointing outwards from a central crankshaft.) Its maximum speed was 290 km/h, the service ceiling 6,300 m. Its service range (with optimal fuel consumption) is 1,200-1,300 km.