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Aero-TV: Retro On the Wing - Junkers A50 Junior Reintroduced

The Once and Future LSA

Junkers Flugzeug- und Motorenwerke AG was among the storied German aircraft concerns by which 20th Century aviation was shaped and a great many European cities were leveled between 1939 and 1945.

Ten years before what is now known as the E.U. was saddled with the nom de guerre European Theater, Junkers developed and produced a remarkable aircraft widely regarded as the progenitor of all modern sport aircraft. A sleek machine it was, clad from engine-cowl to rudder in corrugated duralumin sheet, beneath which an all-metal airframe and dual-spar, full-cantilever wings instantiated the era’s most advanced material and manufacturing technologies.

The aircraft was given the prosaically-German appellation A50 and marketed to adventurers and inchoate air-carriers alike for the then-princely sum of £870.

Junkers expected to produce five-thousand A50s but cut production after only 69 specimens of the aircraft had been built. The airplane’s high price was poorly-received by an interwar world racked with economic depression and woefully short of disposable income. In the end, prophetically perhaps, a mere fifty A50s were sold.

In the early 1930s, as Germany languished, her economy in shambles, under the burden of First World War reparations promulgated by the authors of the Treaty of Versailles, Junkers fell into insolvency. In 1933, company founder Hugo Junkers was forced to forfeit his aircraft patents and surrender 51-percent of his shares in his own company to the Reich Ministry of Aviation—from which he received not even a single Deutsche Mark in compensation. What’s more, Herr Junkers was banned from the very factories in which his aircraft had been produced for decades. Broken and despondent, Hugo Junkers went to his grave in 1935.

Comes now 2023, and businessman Dieter Morszeck, a passionate pilot and entrepreneurial visionary, is about the business of breathing new life—which is to say a great deal of money and effort—into the Junkers marque. Mr. Morszeck, by dint of the new Junkers Flugzeugwerke AG, intends to reproduce historic Junkers aircraft in small series, imbuing the machines with 21st Century technologies and safety standards.

In 2019, the first prototype of the ultralight sports aircraft Junkers A50 Junior was completed. Two years later, the A50 Junior prototype successfully undertook its maiden flight. Notwithstanding an uncanny resemblance to its 1929 forebear, the contemporary A50 Junior occasions a tour-de-force of modern giblets, including a one-hundred-horsepower, Rotax 912iS four-cylinder engine turning an MT Mühlbauer propeller; Beringer brakes; flight instruments; and a built-in Galaxy Ballistic Parachute Recovery System (BPRS).

Junkers Flugzeugwerke AG set forth in a statement: “As a light sport aircraft, the A50 Junior combines the latest technology with the flair of the 1930s. This unique aircraft induces feelings of freedom for new adventures. We proudly look forward to the start of a new edition of this historic aircraft.”
The company added: “Inspired by the actual birth of the A50 in 1929, the first 29 aircraft will be sold at an introductory price of 179,000 euros.”

Within the allegedly inseparable contexts of function and form, the Junkers A50 Junior is a triumphant syncretism of aerospace wizardry and Art Deco bound in corrugated aluminum and punctuated with handsome appointments and colorful LCD screens. The aircraft’s twin-tandem leather-trimmed seat-stations—the aftmost of which houses the flight-instruments—cry out for goggles, silk scarves, and fleece-lined bomber jackets. Similarly, the long, elegant struts and spoked main wheels of the A50 Junior’s fixed undercarriage evoke images of Charles Lindbergh and Howard Hughes gone to Berlin for a lost weekend of Jazz, aperitifs, and bad behavior in the night-spots around Alexanderplatz and on Friedrichstraße.

All told, the Junkers A50 Junior is a unique and welcome addition to the burgeoning Light-Sport Aircraft sector. At once beautiful and anachronistic, the aircraft, whether in flight or idle on the ground, remains perpetually in transition between past and present—a nifty trick, the excellent execution of which bodes well for Junkers’s future.

Aero-TV is a production of the Internationally syndicated Aero-News Network. Seen worldwide by hundreds of thousands of aviators and aviation adherents, ANN's Aero-TV has produced over 5000 aviation and feature programs, including nearly 2000 episodes of our daily aviation news program, AIRBORNE UNLIMITED, currently hosted by Holland Lee. Now in its third decade of operation, parent company Aero-News Network, has the most aggressive and intensive editorial profile of any aviation news organization and has published nearly a half-million news and feature stories since its inception -- having pioneered the online 24/7 aviation new-media model that so many have emulated.

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