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Thread: Vintage JU-52 aircraft crashes in Swiss Alps

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    Member ErezS's Avatar
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    Default Vintage JU-52 aircraft crashes in Swiss Alps

    A vintage plane with a capacity of 20 crashed at altitude in the Swiss Alps on Saturday, in canton Graubünden. Police have yet to confirm fatalities, as rescue operations continue on Sunday.

    The plane went down on the western side of the Piz Segnas mountain on Saturday afternoon (see map), at an altitude of 2,540 metres, cantonal police confirmed.

    A large rescue operation, which included the deployment of five helicopters, is continuing on Sunday morning and the airspace around the accident site remains closed.

    The plane that crashed was a Junker JU-52 (affectionately known as 'Tante Ju' or 'Auntie Ju' in German), owned and operated by the JU-AIR company based in Dübendorf, which specialises in sightseeing flights. The plane was constructed in 1939, according to the Swiss news agency.

    The Blick newspaper reported that the aircraft - which can carry 17 passengers along with three crew members - was fully booked for the flight from Locarno in canton Ticino over the Alps to the military airport of Dübendorf in canton Zurich.

    JU-AIR confirmed only that people were present on board, without giving precise numbers. A telephone numberexternal link has been made available for the families of passengers to call for more information.

    The cause of the crash is as yet unknown.

    https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/plane/44300776

    u-Air lost one of its historical planes. A Junkers JU-52 (HB-HOT) crashed when it impacted terrain near Flims, Piz Segnas, Switzerland. It is believed the 19 seater was fully booked on a sightseeing flight. Rescue operations are ongoing at present.

    https://twitter.com/JacdecNew/status...999808/photo/1

    https://www.jetphotos.com/registrati...OT?term=HB-HOT

    Click image for larger version. 

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    It surprises me a little bit that after a day no one responded here about this tragedy.

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    Senior Member Evan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ErezS View Post
    It surprises me a little bit that after a day no one responded here about this tragedy.
    Perhaps that is because this is an aviation safety forum and there is nothing too safe about climbing into an airframe built in 1939 and flying through the alps. I'm not saying not to do it. I'm just saying do it knowing the risks.
    Since there is no black box, it's probably going to be left to speculation. My first speculation would be a failure in the rigging or the airframe.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Evan View Post
    there is nothing too safe about climbing into an airframe built in 1939 and flying through the alps.
    Of all the asinine statements that you have made in the past, this one takes the cake!

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    Quote Originally Posted by BoeingBobby View Post
    Of all the asinine statements that you have made in the past, this one takes the cake!
    Quote Originally Posted by AvHerald
    On Aug 6th 2018 a ground witness, a military pilot, reported he had observed the aircraft from his garden about 10 minutes prior to the accident. He saw the aircraft rolling to initiate a left turn when all of the sudden the aircraft tipped over to the left and nose down. One of the motors roared up and seconds later the aircraft was stabilized again and continued its flight normally. The military pilot believes this was a first indication of a serious control problem. It is probable, the witness continued, that they had the problem again up in the mountains and were not able to correct it. If the controls fail in this scenario with the aircraft tipping to the side the nose drops and the aircraft impacts ground near vertical.
    Just sayn

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    Quote Originally Posted by Evan View Post
    Just sayn
    That had nothing to do with your statement of "climbing into an airframe built in 1939 and flying through the Alps". Just saying too! I also would be skeptical about the "Military" pilot that heard "one of the MOTORS ROAR UP" Maybe it's a German Military expression? LH? any guidance here?

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    Administrator Alex - Spot-This !'s Avatar
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    yes statements from someone who has no idea about JU-AIR and the immaculate state of their planes.

    Wind and hot temperatures are the main caused discussed among the Swiss pilots nowadays - Erezs there was a total blackout on all media due to the fact that police had a hard time joining the families. One of the reasons for the lack of reaction and official news for the first 24h

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex - Spot-This ! View Post
    yes statements from someone who has no idea about JU-AIR and the immaculate state of their planes.
    I've little doubt that the aircraft was meticulously maintained. My comment refers to the vintage technology (or lack of technology) that makes flying in an 80-year-old Junkers less safe (not particularly unsafe) than flying in aircraft with modern safety developments and redundancies. I was also referring to the nature of flying in close terrain proximity amidst mountains at high altitudes where performance can be near limits and winds can be unpredictible. I was specifically referring to the combination of these things: a vintage, carburrated airplane with limited hot and high performance, a vulnerability to vapor lock and considerably less emergency reserve power to clear terrain or escape upset situations. It seems at this point that when they realized they could not clear the pass as usual (High OAT? Degraded engine performance?) they made a rather steep turn off heading and either stalled or something failed or broke. These crews are reputed to be top-notch, so it leads me to think the aircraft failed them in some way.

    That is to say, flights like this are not for those who are primarily concerned with safety, but rather for people who are primarily concerned with adventure and wish to take certain calculated risks in life. I'm not calling it reckless. Would I go up on one of these flights? In a heartbeat!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex - Spot-This ! View Post
    - Erezs there was a total blackout on all media due to the fact that police had a hard time joining the families. One of the reasons for the lack of reaction and official news for the first 24h

    Alex, I did not know that.
    It is normal for me that there is sometimes blackout on all media in my country, for understandable reasons, but I didn't think that it was happening in Switzerland.

    By the way, on my last visit to Switzerland, I thought to take a tour on a JU-52, but it was not possible for me that time, now I'm afraid about these thing ...

    Any disaster that happens in the world of aviation causes me very sadness, Now I share the grief of all of the families and the airline.

    I wish we would always only hear happy news and not hear about disasters.

    Erez.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Evan View Post
    I've little doubt that the aircraft was meticulously maintained. My comment refers to the vintage technology (or lack of technology) that makes flying in an 80-year-old Junkers less safe (not particularly unsafe) than flying in aircraft with modern safety developments and redundancies. I was also referring to the nature of flying in close terrain proximity amidst mountains at high altitudes where performance can be near limits and winds can be unpredictible. I was specifically referring to the combination of these things: a vintage, carburrated airplane with limited hot and high performance, a vulnerability to vapor lock and considerably less emergency reserve power to clear terrain or escape upset situations. It seems at this point that when they realized they could not clear the pass as usual (High OAT? Degraded engine performance?) they made a rather steep turn off heading and either stalled or something failed or broke. These crews are reputed to be top-notch, so it leads me to think the aircraft failed them in some way.

    That is to say, flights like this are not for those who are primarily concerned with safety, but rather for people who are primarily concerned with adventure and wish to take certain calculated risks in life. I'm not calling it reckless. Would I go up on one of these flights? In a heartbeat!
    Carbureted correct spelling, oh yes they are dangerous pieces of mechanical equipment. You better stick to writing about something that you at least have an inkling of knowledge about. All you are doing at this point is digging yourself a deeper hole.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BoeingBobby View Post
    Carbureted correct spelling, oh yes they are dangerous pieces of mechanical equipment. You better stick to writing about something that you at least have an inkling of knowledge about. All you are doing at this point is digging yourself a deeper hole.
    Well, sometimes to only way to the facts is to dig deeper:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vapor_lock

    BTW: NOT saying this was the cause here. Just pointing out one aspect of the airplane that makes it less safe (not particularly dangerous) to operate in high altitudes on exceptionally hot days.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Evan View Post
    Well, sometimes to only way to the facts is to dig deeper:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vapor_lock

    BTW: NOT saying this was the cause here. Just pointing out one aspect of the airplane that makes it less safe (not particularly dangerous) to operate in high altitudes on exceptionally hot days.
    I own and fly a 70 year old SINGLE engine airplane. It has NO electrical system whatsoever, and has a dreaded very dangerous carburetor that supplies the fuel air mixture to the internal combustion engine. I live in South Florida, it is pretty damn hot this time of year here, I have never had a problem or was worried for the 2000 plus hours I have put on her over the last 19 years. Granted I am not flying it at 8000' asl, and not in the mountains, but I do live on the coast and fly it over the ocean from time to time. I will give you a little gem that my father told me 50 years ago or so. "My boy, the airplane has no damn idea where it is. It doesn't know if there are mountains under it or water. It doesn't know if it day or night. All she knows is altitude, temperature, weight, weather and very little else".


    And to have had vapor lock in all three engines at once, yea right.

    And my comment was to your original brilliant statement, " there is nothing too safe about climbing into an airframe built in 1939 and flying through the alps".

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    Quote Originally Posted by BoeingBobby View Post
    Granted I am not flying it at 8000' asl, and not in the mountains.
    Exactly.

    "All she knows is altitude, temperature, weight, weather and very little else".
    Exactly. She knows her limitations.

    And my comment was to your original brilliant statement, " there is nothing too safe about climbing into an airframe built in 1939 and flying through the alps".
    Exactly, and that is true. I did not say it was "very dangerous" did I?

    Antique aircraft are a probably a gas to fly and a joy to fly in. There really isn't much to say in the Aviation Safety Forum about them though when they crash due to mechanical or performance issues. That's all I'm saying.

    Well have to wait and see what caused this one to crash. If it wasn't gross pilot error or insurmountable wind shear, maybe you will see my point.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BoeingBobby View Post
    I live in South Florida, it is pretty damn hot this time of year here
    Being now the night of my first day in Orlando, I can confirm that.

    --- Judge what is said by the merits of what is said, not by the credentials of who said it. ---
    --- Defend what you say with arguments, not by imposing your credentials ---

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    Quote Originally Posted by BoeingBobby View Post


    And to have had vapor lock in all three engines at once, yea right.
    True enough, but it's not like Tante Ju is exactly an awesome performer even with all three running. At sea level. On a cold day.

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    We know what the cost of this aircraft's damage was?

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    Quote Originally Posted by ErezS View Post
    It surprises me a little bit that after a day no one responded here about this tragedy.
    It does surprise you? Well, for me it is not such a big surprise, that until today we don't know so much more. Since 2008, here I have discussed one or two or three fatal accidents. And I can say, today is day 12 after the accident (August 4th). That's nothing.

    There is no rule that says, the investigation of a fatal aviation accident must be finished within 7 days. Imho, it depends on the case. There is one case, which was solved within three days or less, March 2015. I'm sure you know what I mean. But it was the French BEA (Bureau d’enquêtes et d’analyses pour la sécurité de l’aviation civile) which solved the case in 2015, and imho they are one of the best, not only since 2015..

    So, I don't know if the French BEA wants to take a look at this one, although it happened in Switzerland.
    LH also has a intercontinental history, the Hamburg - Düsseldorf - Shannon - NYC route, open since June 1st, 1955.
    A/C type: Lockheed Super Constellation.
    The operator on the DUS - NYC route, on the DUS - BKK route, and on the shiny new DUS - LAS nonstop route? EW, one of the dearest LH daughters .

    Aviation enthusiast since more than 30 years. A whole decade here on this platform.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ferinbarsa View Post
    We know what the cost of this aircraft's damage was?
    Strange question. Do you like to buy one? The inauguration flight of the Ju 52 was in March 1932. Thus, how much money do you need to maintain an aircraft which is...
    more than 86 years old.

    You can try to mention a number.

    I know a source which since 2008 seems to be quite reliable, they are not always the fastest but, I assume that most of the texts are either written or at least regularly observed by professionals (e.g. the French BEA or the American NTSB).

    Here it is, the German version, as I assume that the accident happened in the German speaking part of Switzerland (Deutsch und Rätoromanisch? Alex?).

    So, the German version could contain the best info, but with one click you can reach the English wiki version. This is the version which I like to use first of all:

    Fatal accident with Ju 52 HB-HOT (German version)

    People who know me since 1 or 2 years know what I'll do now. I'll partly translate the source.

    "It was a hot day" Yes I can confirm that. Inflight the pilots of the Ju-52 had to handle a wind which reached 27 in gusts (50 km/h). That's quite something, especially as we don't talk about a 747, but about an 86 year old propeller, which normally is not much faster than..

    cruise speed Ju-52: 97 knots.

    So, 97 minus 27? Now I need a specialist for rather old propeller a/c (older than me). Is that too slow?

    PS: I have found something like a spec sheet for the Ju-52:
    Empty Weight 5.72 metric tons.
    MTOW 10.5 metric tons
    payload 1.5 metric tons.
    And the bird was full. Must've been one of those flights when one or two LH Flight Captains on the long haul say on TV 'Now we earn money.'

    130 km/h over ground? That's rather normal in a car. But in a three-engined propeller, with 17 passengers on board?
    LH also has a intercontinental history, the Hamburg - Düsseldorf - Shannon - NYC route, open since June 1st, 1955.
    A/C type: Lockheed Super Constellation.
    The operator on the DUS - NYC route, on the DUS - BKK route, and on the shiny new DUS - LAS nonstop route? EW, one of the dearest LH daughters .

    Aviation enthusiast since more than 30 years. A whole decade here on this platform.

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    Senior Member LH-B744's Avatar
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    The Flight Captain or most experienced pilot on board the Ju-52 was 62 years old, with 943 flight hours in a Ju-52 cockpit. And what did he do before.
    He was a Swiss jet pilot for Airbus A330/A340.

    Thus, I assume that, if he knew that the wind reaches 27 in gusts, he did the same as I'd do, with such a slow propeller. Assumed that he was high enough (mountaineous area), go with the wind and don't fight against it!

    Another topic could have been, if the Captain hadn't been experienced with 943 flight hours on type, pressurization. I assume that a 86 year old propeller is not pressurized in the cabin. So, the possibilities to climb out of such a situation are limited.

    Until now, I don't have a clue. 943 flight hours on type Ju-52. That's enough, especially with his history, airliner pilot in a Swiss Airbus A340. He knows how to handle a weather report preflight.
    LH also has a intercontinental history, the Hamburg - Düsseldorf - Shannon - NYC route, open since June 1st, 1955.
    A/C type: Lockheed Super Constellation.
    The operator on the DUS - NYC route, on the DUS - BKK route, and on the shiny new DUS - LAS nonstop route? EW, one of the dearest LH daughters .

    Aviation enthusiast since more than 30 years. A whole decade here on this platform.

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    Senior Member LH-B744's Avatar
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    Would you dare to cross the Matterhorn (14,692 AMSL) in an unpressurized 86 year old very slow propeller with 17 passengers on board?

    That's not necessarily what the old hand (Alter Hase) did. But if you ask me, for a flight across the Swiss Alps, I could imagine one or two or three aircraft which I'd use instead of an unpressurized 86 year old very slow propeller:
    1) Beech King Air 350
    2) Airbus A340 (thats where the 62 year old former jet pilot originally was responsible for)
    or
    3) What a question. LH-B744.

    And there probably was no fire on board the Ju-52. And no emergency call was sent. That really sounds like as if both pilots in the cockpit have suddenly become unconscious.
    Due to an alt which you should not fly at in an unpressurized aircraft?

    I mean, the Ju-52 has a ceiling of 6300 meters (almost alt 21,000?!). But that's an altitude which, unpressurized, I'd NEVER try with 17 passengers on board, not by far.

    PS: And, what I also didn't know, Locarno, where the HB-HOT took off before the accident, has VERY short runways. But the Ju-52 is a STOL propeller, since 1932 she's able to take off with MTOW on a strip that's not longer than 350 meters.

    So, Locarno for the Ju-52 is something like KJFK for me, more than long enough. That wasn't the problem either. I'd guess they were to high without oxygen or/and too slow at high alt with a strong headwind. Ju-52: Not more than 3x 750 hp without Turbo, for an a/c with a 29.25 meter wingspan (17 passengers).

    The Beech King Air 350 provides 2x 1050 hp Turboprop for an a/c with a 17.65 meter wingspan (11 passengers). And the Turbo really makes a difference concerning the ceiling (speed at high alt) ..

    That's the weaker Beech King Air C90 twin Turboprop, but still better in the high Alps than a Ju-52. Which one would you take to cross the high Alps, a 1978 Volkswagen Beetle (34 hp), or a Fiat 500 Abarth (135 hp)? I'd rather take the Abarth, btw here a very good Turboprop photo:
    Beech King Air C90 (Japan) at high alt.
    LH also has a intercontinental history, the Hamburg - Düsseldorf - Shannon - NYC route, open since June 1st, 1955.
    A/C type: Lockheed Super Constellation.
    The operator on the DUS - NYC route, on the DUS - BKK route, and on the shiny new DUS - LAS nonstop route? EW, one of the dearest LH daughters .

    Aviation enthusiast since more than 30 years. A whole decade here on this platform.

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