The DC-3, with it’s rustic looks, it’s trusty reliability and it’s almost legendary ability to fly through hails of gunfire, lightning storms, volcano’s, hurricanes and come out the other side still airborne and be able to land safely anywhere (though in some cases only once) is a plane for the slightly mad.
The kind of people who wake up one morning in a bar with a hangover, pour themselves another breakfast and stumble outside ready to find the lost piece of the puzzle to unlocking the missing treasure of Moctezuma the 2nd. Probably while being perused by a Snake Cult. They will refer to their trusty DC-3 as “Baby” and slam it down slightly too hard on a mudtrack runway somewhere in some long forgotten Jungle where any manner of questionable adventures may take place.
Owners and Pilots of the Antov AN-2 however are people who look at DC-3 owners as being dangerously “sane”. The owner of an AN-2 never woke up because they don’t sleep, instead they “refresh” by sticking their head out of a moving train and wash their hair in the tears of their enemies. They most likely eat only raw meat they caught themselves by throwing a knife at a wild boar (fired from a crossbow obviously) and only go into town when they need a bigger Axe.
They arrived in the Forgotten Jungle a lot later than the DC-3 owner because they’ve had to deal with a load of Nazi ninja Cyborgs riding Dinosaurs, sent by the Evil Dr Nefarious for stealing his daughters virginity, en route, ignored the mud runway and instead slammed their plane right into the Jungle, fighting off the local natives and wildlife with bits of the wrecked plane, on fire, then using said wreckage to build a smaller plane and fly home, after burning the Forgotten Temple full of treasure to the ground.
Since that covers the majority of people in SL Aviation who aren’t interested in comfortable Leer Jets and commercial airliners, who is the JU-52 for?
Sure you can talk about how odd it is to have three engines, it’s amazing stability and it’s stupidly low stall point which allows it almost hover, it’s near infinite usability. it’s cheap repair cost, strong airframe, simple construction and how wonderfully easy it is to fly.
Meanwhile everyone else is thinking…
I’m not sure why THI would choose their first entrance onto the Civilian market, since the old C-30 Auto-gyro no-one remembers, as the aircraft most people identify with as the vehicle which ferried Adolf Hitler around Germany during his 1933 Election Campaign.
THI has a history with WWII Warplanes and has never shy’d away from the Axis “bad guy” stuff unlike most other builders who seems to concentrate souley on American Warfighters with a few “tokens” planes from other nations (P-51’s are EVERYWHERE these days) and with an American DC-3 already on the market it was probably the better option to go for it’s Axis counter-part rather than produce another DC-3 being that the builder of the Adventure Air DC-3 and the builder of the THI Ju-52 are one and the same person.
Hitler eventually upgraded to an Fw200 but not after he’d gone through three JU-52’s and remarked it being his favorite plane, leading Junkers to adopt the slogan “Even when you hate everything, everyone loves a Junkers” (I made that up).
So how does THI’s first Civilian plane weigh up? I’ll leave the Interior and exterior porn shots below and you can judge for yourself.
There is even a Toilet and a Chair for fat people.
Karl Resiman was the builder, he is responsible for most of the builds produced by Amok Dynamics including the Challenger 2, Chinook and the F-15 family as well as the Adventure Air DC-3 and C-47.
The scripting was done by Tank Kwaszes who’s PA-18 Supercub, considered one of the best Small Civilian Aircraft on the gird, needs no introduction, aside from the one I just gave it.
The two have been conspiring to work together for the longest time and aside from assisting each other on a few projects I believe the JU-52 is their first finally completed product.
So how does she fly?
When I first took to the skies in the An-2 I did a comparison test between it and the DC-3, with the Antov I could feel all the power in the front engine, I could feel it dragging it’s top heavy engine down only to be counterbalanced with the planes massive tail wings, the plane span around that center engine and when you moved into the turn you could almost feel the pressure riding on those gigantic bi-wings. In comparison the DC-3 felt lighter, it seemed a happier plane urging you forward, when you moved to turn it couldn’t decide which engine it wanted to spin around so it choose both and screamed, while the An-2 was a mad grunting bear the DC-3 felt like a tiny dog, bounding along the sky and overjoyed to see whatever happened to be in front of it.
In comparison to both of those the JU-52 feels like a much Older loyal dog, one who’s been with you since a pup, he’s not as ferocious as the AN-2 and he’s not as crazy as the DC-3 but when you take him out you know that ,whatever happens and wherever you end up, it’s going to be a fun ride. The Ju goes no where fast, it glides around in great lazy arcs and rolls like someone who’s had a little bit too much to eat, it feels slow, heavy but oddly stable, comfortable and with just a little bit of ferocity left in it to keep you on your toes.
In Short the Ju-52 takes it’s time, it’s for people who aren’t going anywhere fast, they ain’t looking to impress anyone and they don’t give a rats arse about Speed and Luxury, all they want are the simple things, the sky around them and the ground way below them. It’s for people who appreciate life and have found the simple joy of Flight, the fun of flying and the journey, not the destination.
For L$3,200 ($13) however it is one of the more expensive ways to enjoy flight, anything more expensive and you get into the more crazy Ego projects various builders have churned out over the years which are never worth their price tag. For me however it feels worth it, that price gets you a lot of Good Quality plane that doesn’t feel hidden under countless Gimmicks and “special features” that basically amount to free t-shirts, there to make you forget you’ve just spent $20 on a plane that flies like the Freebie UFO from 2004, the JU is a good solid plane, it’s script light with an exceptional build and it doesn’t glitch out on every sim border. I would go so far as to say this is one of the best planes I have ever flown in Second Life in all 3,000 days I’ve spent online.
For those looking for a cheaper alternative there are two other Ju-52’s on the market, one at L$ 3000 and is from EG-Aircraft, its a fairly old build which was upgraded in mesh just recently, I flew it recently and found it a pretty good flyer, it felt as chunky and heavy to fly as you would expect a craft of that size and I like how each engine is it’s own slightly different noise, sitting in mouselook in the cockpit when all three engines roar into life gave me something of a sharp tingle in my spine.
Though a longshot from the 14ms/s as previously reported the 0.994ms/s still gives this plane the script time of around eight Battleships (Astral-Tek Iowa  came it at around 0.109ms/s with engine and vice scripts running, includes HUD) though I took it up and down the Jeogeot Gulf several times without much issues, it may be best to leave this one in the hanger during SL’s more fierce Lag Storms.
The only other notable JU-52 is a weird one, it’s downloaded and we know it’s downloaded because three companies are currently selling the same one but the only one you’ll want to care about is this one from Cheermaster (because they bought it legally under license, unlike everyone else) which is currently on sale at L$189.
The bed in the back is a little weird and doesn’t fit with the rest of the aircraft, however it doesn’t hold any major bugs and is fairly well scripted, flies great and works quite well as a Budget version of the Ju-52.
Then again you get what you pay for.