Normandie 1944 Home (2006)

Italien 1943 Home (2005)

* * * * *

Our Mission
Meindl Visit
Ramcke Visit
Kriegsberichter der Luftwaffe
Meals Menu
Uniforms and Authenticity
Appell and Awards Info
Participating Units
Registered FJ Reenactors
Participating Vendors
Pre-Registration and Raffle Information
Other Travel Info
Event Items Sought
Contact Us

Normandie 1944

Ju-52 Plane Flight

Here's some details of the Ju-52 we'll be flying in, the only one operational in this hemisphere. It belongs to the Great Lakes Wing of the Commemerative Air Force (CAF), and is stationed at the Gary (Indiana) International Airport with a C-47 in D-Day colors.

Besides the flight of a lifetime for FJ reenactors, we see the event as an opportunity preserve this Ju-52. Let's face it, these vintage planes are expensive to maintain and fly, and as FJ reenactors we should all have an interest in keeping this plane in the air.

As part of the your flight cost, you will also receive a 2006 Associate Membership to the CAF, which allows you to fly in CAF aircraft at reduced cost, along with other features. You will also have the opportunity to become a full member (Colonel) of the CAF at the event if you wish.

More about this Ju-52....

This Ju-52 was built by CASA at its plant in Getafe, Spain, and was one of approximately 170 Spanish built aircraft. It was assigned serial # T2B 176. The actual date of construction is unknown because of several different dates on data plates. One is 1950, and another is 1954. It was overhauled in 1971-1972. Flying in the Spanish Air Force, it had accumulated only 1500 hours.

On 21 November 1976 the CAF had an ad in the DISPATCH magazine that the Spanish Air Force had a CASA 352L for sale for $16,500. Colonel Dick Rauch, of the Chicago based SoLaMich Wing spearheaded the fundraiser to obtain the aircraft.

In 1979 the aircraft left Spain and was ferried to Biggin Hill, England, where the CAF Eagle Squadron installed the auxiliary fuel tanks, oil tank, and the LF radios. Winter weather had set in over the North Atlantic, so the flight was postponed. On 9 July 1980 the 8000 mile flight to Harlingen, TX was begun with ferry pilots Rob Diver and Simon Massey at the controls. The route was to Prestwick, Scotland; Reykjavick, Iceland; Sonderstrom, Greenland; Frobisher Bay, Baffin Island (Fined $50 for dripping excessive oil on the ramp); Baie-Comeau, Quebec; Bangor, ME (landed during an airshow); Hartford, CN; Bowling Green, OH; Chicago, IL, (Midway Airport); Offut AFB, NE; Denver, CO; Amarillo, San Antonio, and then Harlingen, TX.

Initially, the Colorado Wing and the SoLaMich Wing carried out restoration, maintenance, and flying. In 1982 the aircraft was assigned to the SoLaMich Wing. The aircraft was then stripped and repainted. With permission of the General Staff the aircraft was repainted as a Ju 52 of the 7th Staffel KGzbV1. (1st Bomber Wing of Special Operations.) After further research the identifier 1Z+AR and the markings for the invasion of Crete on 21 May 1941 were added. Lieutenant Franz Lankenau, who had flown the aircraft in these markings on approximately 250 missions, including Poland, Norway, Netherlands, France, Greece, Crete, and Russia. Lankenau gave the Wing livery information and pictures of the coats of arms on the nose nacelle, for the city of Brandenburg, where the Staffel was first based, and Hapsburg for their commanding officer. In 1990 at an airshow in Geneseo, New York, Franz Lankenau was visiting his son in the USA and showed up at the airshow. At this time he was 81 years old and was still flying small aircraft in Germany. Words cannot describe the emotions of all present when he was again in the cockpit of the Ju-52 in his markings.

In 1982 the Wing located two engines and two props in the Western Canadian Aircraft Museum, and purchased them. Using these engines and the three existing ones, the best parts were used to overhaul all three engines on the aircraft. Brass valve guides were replaced with phosphor bronze, all cylinders were nitrided, bearings replaced, and magnetos replaced with American Bosch. All props were also overhauled and a new avionics package with dual Navcoms, ADF, DME, HS/CDI Loran and Audio panel were installed.

"Alte Tante Ju" became well known throughout the country making approximately 20 airshows per year. There were normal maintenance problems until the last tour on the Northeast coast in 1990 when the Ju-52 returned home to Gary, IN and the aircraft was grounded due to engine problems. During this period of time, the SoLaMich and Great Lakes Wing merged.

It flew again on 30 May 1998 after a restoration that included converting to geared P&W 1340 engines, 3 blade constant speed props, complete rewiring and circuit breaker panels, and new control and instrument panel.

There are seven Ju 52’s flying in the world, and the CAF's is the only one on this continent.

Lufthansa - 1

Swiss Air Museum - 4

A.J.B.S. la Ferte Alais, Cerny, France - 1

Great Lakes Wing, CAF - 1

© Commemorative Air Force, Incorporated; All rights reserved