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
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
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