Sunday, 8 June 2008

Dakotas Grounded For Passenger Flying But Junkers Ju 52s Fly On

Just who won the war and passed the EU-Ops regulations and slideshow here that will bring Douglas DC-3 Dakota pleasure flying to an end (accident free since 1979) in England because of the uneconomic cost of upgrading the 6o odd year old aircraft to modern airliner security standards?

The Dakota was the aircraft that transported paras and towed gliders to Sicily, on D-Day and for Operations Market Garden and Varsity in the European theatre as well as the Chindit raids in Burma. On a more mundane level it hauled everything needed to the front line and brought the wounded back. After the war, Dakotas were used in the Berlin Airlift and formed the backbone of the post-war civil airline fleets.

The Junkers 52 was used by the Luftwaffe as a bomber in the Spanish Civil War and as a para transport for the attacks on Belgium, Holland, Norway, Crete. It resupplied the Afrika Korps and the besieged Germans in Stalingrad. You can still fly in two Junkers 52s operated by the Swiss company Ju-Air and I advise you to book your tickets to keep these aircraft flying. They are ceritfied for fewer than 19 passengers and belong to a company that is not based in the EU (unlike Air Atlantique, the Dakota's owner) and so the EU-Ops regulations do not apply. If Ju-Air flew Dakotas they would be just as safe as any British operator. But One-Size-Fits-All always beats reasoned argument against pan-European standardization and anti-little-company bias.
My point is that it is ironic that an icon of Liberation will now only be found in museums and as airshow flypasts whereas an aircraft redolent of Nazi Germany will carry on towards its thousand years' airframe life.
I bet there will be rousing choruses of the "Horst Wessel" to the tune of Beethoven's Ninth in many Bavarian retirement homes at this news.

1 comment:

CorporateCog said...

Actually the Swiss are shutting down the airport in Dubendorf in 2012 where JU-Air is based.

It is not at all certain if the Tante-Ju's (aunt Ju's) will fly after that point