February, 1963, Western Wings
Another chapter was closed in the history of Canadian aviation when CF-ATF made her final trip from Vancouver to Ottawa to be enshrined in Canada’s Aviation Museum. ATF is the last flyable Junkers in Canada and was purchased from Pacific Wings Ltd., Vancouver, by Mrs. James Richardson, who donated it.
The first Junkers (CF-ABK) brought to Canada by Western Canada Airways, later Canadian Airways, headed by James A. Richardson, was purchased in 1929. It was delivered with the German engine, a BMW six-cylinder inline engine. At the first opportunity an H Wasp P&W R1340 was installed. In 1933 and 1934 six more JU-34’s were purchased and finally a JU-52, the famous Flying Boxcar.
Maintenance personnel and pilots agree, that it was an aircraft well ahead of its time. Take-off speed was 45 or 50, cruise 115 on floats, 120-gallon fuel capacity, range of five hours, rugged construction and no bad flight characteristics. The small Junkers had a payload of 2,200 pounds and the Flying Boxcar, the JU-52, carried 6,600 pounds.
Hunters, trappers, mining equipment, fish, in fact anything that would go through the door was carried. Canoes were usually strapped on the floats or on the top side of the wing in close to the fuselage.
Canadian Airways’ “Black Gang”, so named for their dirty coveralls, were headed by Tommy Siers as Superintendent of maintenance. Engineers on the machines were: F. Coulter, B. Bancroft, R. Carter, R. Terpenning, S. Comack and N. Brown. Remainder were the mechanics whose job each spring and fall was the ski-float changeover. The all-metal construction and lack of guy-wires made it a maintenance man’s delight. The wings were fastened on by ball joint screw couplings and could be taken off in 10 or 15 minutes, and controls were all push and pull with a minimum of cables.
John Racey, who flew the Junkers to Ottawa, reports the plane was enthusiastically met wherever he went. Many were the nostalgic memories brought back to a host of Canadians as they saw the “old Junkers”, which has played such an important role in Canada’s aviation history from Quebec to British Columbia, winging its way eastward. And John reports that she kept her reputation intact–the twenty hours of flying time on her last trip was completely trouble free.
This article originally appeared in the February, 1963 edition of Western Wings magazine.