Some time ago the Dutch Aviodrome Museum at Lelystad Holland advertised Junkers Ju-52 pleasure flights on there website. I checked out the flying program and decided to book a flight.
The Aviodrome managed to bring a Swiss Ju-Air (VFL) Junker-52 to Holland, for a couple of flights from the Aviodrome. The a/c HB-HOY was scheduled to fly from Paris (Pontoise) airport and would stay overnight at the Aviodrome museum. The a/c arrived late Friday afternoon the 24th June. Our flight was scheduled for the next day with an afternoon departure at 15.00 hours, flying onwards to Mochengladbach (Germany). The official summer season had just started a couple of days ago, but the weather predictions where not looking favourable. I woke up to light rain and low clouds. I checked the weather channel on the internet and the forecast was reasonable for the late afternoon. When I arrived at Lelystad the rain had just stopped to a light drizzle.
The flight was full and check-in was low-key but a pleasant affair. We received paper tickets with the Ju Air logo and each passenger got an additional Ju-Air keychain boarding pass. The crew consisted of Captains U.Nagel and copilot H.Ruprecht complemented with cabin flight attendant B.Thut. Our aircraft was painted in the colours of its sponsor Rimowa, which is a company that produces aluminium ribbed suitcases, similar to the wings and fuselage skin panels of the Junkers 52. Our aircraft was built in 1949 by Aeronauticas Sa Casa as a 352 A-3 model with construction number 96 and has been configured with 21 seats. It has the BMW 132 A3 radial engines. Ju Air is based at Dubendorf (Swiss) and during the summer month's one of their Junkers frequently provides pleasure flights from Mochengladbach.
The crew decided to leave earlier then our planned departure time of 15.00 due to the weather.
Boarding was a swift, walking just a couple of meters from the fence just like the old pre-war days.
After the left-hand side door was closed all three BMW engines fired up which produced a heavy rumble in the cabin. The Aviodrome ground crew and visitors waived us goodbye and we took off from runway 23 towards the south east. The weather did not improve so the crew kept her just below the cloud base of 500 ft at a steady 180 km per hour. Flying low over the Dutch country side I was able to view numerous farm cows and horses scramble away due the roar of the Ju52! We passed over the river Rhine, which is the longest and most important river in Europe. We followed it for several minutes and turned east for the German border. After a 50 minute's flight of pure Junkers 52 vibration we were approaching Monchengladbach airport in the same dreadful weather we left Holland. Well that's your typical European summer …you can never depend on it.
Postscript: according to some sources on the internet the 70 year old HB-HOY will be flying its last season this year. She will be retired from active duty in 2012 and enter a museum and her engines will be used to keep the rest of the fleet flying.
For more in info on the Ju52 Rundfluge (pleasure flights) see also:
See also the excellent Dubendorf Air Force Center museum report by Ruud Leeuw: