MIAMI – Today in Aviation, we celebrate the first flights of the Junkers Ju 52 (1932), the Antonov An-10 (1957), and the Yakovlev Yak-42 (1975).

The Junkers Ju 52/3m (also known as Tante Ju (“Aunt Ju”) and Iron Annie) is a German transport aircraft designed and manufactured by Junkers.

The Antonov An-10 (Russian: Aнтонов н-10; NATO reporting name: Cat) is a Soviet-designed four-engined turboprop passenger transport aircraft.

The Yakovlev Yak-42 (Russian: ковлeв к-42; NATO reporting name: “Clobber”) is a three-engined mid-range passenger jet with a capacity of 100/120 passengers. It was the Soviet Union’s first airliner to be powered by modern high-bypass turbofan engines.

JU Air Junkers Ju 52/3m HB/HOS in flight over Austria (July 2013). Photo: Bernd K – https://www.jetphotos.com/photo/7645461, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=38112175

Ju 52/3m, AN-10 and Yak-42 Development


In 1930, the development of the Ju 52 began under the direction of German aeronautical engineer Ernst Zindel. After a crash in May 1931 of one of the prototypes, Ju 52cai, Junkers chose to build the type into a trimotor configuration. The initial models were powered by only one engine. As a result, the Ju 52/3m (drei motoren—three engines) was built, which was powered by a trio of radial engines.

At the end of 1955, the Antonov design bureau began to design the Izdeliye U (“U” for “Universal”), a four-engined aircraft with a similar configuration to the An-8 but larger dimensions and a circular-section pressurized fuselage, based on the Izdeliye N (Izdeliye – article or product) passenger variant of the Antonov An-8. After further development, the AN-10’s purpose was to use the type on routes ranging from 500 to 2000 kilometers (310 to 1,262 miles).

In 1972, the Yakovlev design bureau began work on a short- to medium-range airliner with a capacity of 100–120 passengers. As such, the Yak-42 was designed to replace the Tupolev Tu-134 jet as well as the Ilyushin Il-18, Antonov An-24, and Antonov An-26 turboprops. This resulted in the largest, heaviest, and most powerful aircraft designed by Yakovlev at the time.

Aeroflot Antonov An-10. Registration – СССР-11205. Photo: Konstantin Y. Kosminkov. Gifted to Andrey Simonov in 1998. – Personal Archive of Andrey Simonov, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=76076911

First Flights


In 1932, the first flight of the Junkers Ju 52/3m took place, a year later after its development. Nicknamed “Tante Ju” (Auntie Ju) and “Iron Annie” by Axis and Allied troops, the Junkers Ju-52 was the most famous German transport of the war after its initial civilian life.

In 1957, the first prototype of the AN-10 took to the air for the first time, revealing poor directional stability, prompting the development of a taller vertical fin and, later, hexagonal auxiliary fins at the tailplane’s tips. Due to the lack of availability of Ivchenko AI-20 engines, the first three aircraft were delivered with Kuznetsov NK-4 engines from the Zavod factory in Voronezh in 1957.

In 1975, the first of three Yak-42 prototypes, which was fitted with an 11-degree wing and registered SSSR-1974, made its maiden flight. It was followed by the second prototype, (SSSR-1975) with the 23-degree wing and a cabin with 20 rows of windows instead of 17 in the first prototype, and a third prototype (SSSR-1976) fitted with improved de-icing gear.

Aeroflot Yak-42 at the 1981 Paris Air Show. Photo: Michel Gilliand – http://www.airliners.net/photo/Aeroflot/Yakovlev-Yak-42/0723938/L/, GFDL 1.2, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=16631194

Initial Operations of the Types


The first example of the Ju 53/3m was delivered to German flag carrier Luft Hansa (LH) in May 1932. The type was extensively used by Luft Hansa; it could travel from Berlin to Rome in eight hours and was widely used on this route as well as the London-Berlin service.

The Ju 52/3m was primarily produced as a 17-seat airliner prior to the Nazi government seizing control of the Junkers company in 1935. By 1935, 97 Ju 52s had been delivered to various airlines, including Aero O/Y of Finland, AB Aerotransport of Sweden, and Syndicato Condor of Brazil.

For the AN-10, a total of 104 aircraft, including the prototype and static test airframes, were constructed, with the first entering service with the Ukrainian Civil Aviation Directorate of Aeroflot on April 27, 1959. The AN-10 proved successful due to its large cargo capacity (when fitted with reduced seating) and excellent field performance, making it ideal for use on small undeveloped airfields.

Finally, the first production Yak-42 was delivered on April 28, 1978, and the first scheduled passenger flight was on December 22, 1980, on the Aeroflot Moscow-Krasnodar line.

Aeroflot’s Yak-42s transported around 200,000 passengers in their first year of service, mostly on routes from Moscow but also on international services from Leningrad to Helsinki and Donetsk to Prague, with the type set at first to expand in the Aeroflot fleet.


Featured image: Collage. Photos: By Bernd K – 1, CC BY-SA 4.0, By Aleksandr Markin – An-10 CCCP-11213, CC BY-SA 2.0, By Oleg V. Belyakov AirTeamImagesGallery page, CC BY-SA 3.0. Article sources: “Flying Box Car for Sky Lanes Of Northland.” Popular Mechanics, May 1939; Gordon, Yefim; Komissarov, Dmitry (2007). Antonov An-12: the Soviet Hercules. Hinkley: Midland. ISBN 978-1-85780-255-9; OKB Yakovlev: A History of the Design Bureau and Its Aircraft von Yefim Gordon (Author), Dmitriy Komissarov (Author), Sergey Komissarov (Author) ISBN 1-85780-203-9 ISBN 978-1-85780-203-0