In a splendid professional presentation, Waco Aircraft unveiled their newest vintage-style aircraft. Well, that’s close to factual. In truth, Junkers Aircraft is its own company, but as it shares common ownership, it’s OK to group these two vintage designs together, partly as they are both 100% built-in-America designs. In Battle Creek, Michigan a European businessman, Dieter Morszeck, has invested more than $30 million to create a modern airplane factory capable of producing such complex yet handsome designs as the Waco biplane. For 2023, that facility has a new occupant, Junkers Aircraft. Both are owned by Dieter and this man is serious about aviation. Mr. Morszeck made his money in the luggage business. His brand, Rimowa, is known widely for its corrugated exterior, leaving an earlier Junkers aircraft built similarly to be dubbed the “flying suitcase.” This is a delicious bit of serendipity because now his former luggage business can be expressed in an airplane… one that draws people’s attention wherever it shows up.
Phone: +41 71 5664671Widnau, CH - 9443 - Switzerland
Friendly IslandHey, I have one on my new iPhone and now Sun 'n Fun will have one, too. Apple calls their design "Dynamic Island." Sun 'n Fun is even simpler with "The Island." What could this mean? "The Island" is a new customer service center for Sun 'n Fun 2023 that illustrates how attention is shifting East on the grounds. This will not lessen the appeal or crowd density in what they once called the "core area," but is demonstrates that under new leadership the Lakeland event plans to better use the available area to the east of where Warbirds have been (however, no change to the Warbird area location). To get a better picture plus the thinking of the new big guy at Sun 'n Fun, Gene Conrad, check out the video below. The overall effect I predict: This will boost activity in Paradise City, which is now right on the way from the core area to The Island …at least via road. You can also get to this new area from airside and via a new tram route. Perhaps it is the potent combination of new leadership and bubbling pilot energy. Perhaps new attention is related to the coming Mosaic regulation. No matter, the area known to many readers as Paradise City or the Ultralight Area — or Light Planes, as Sun 'n Fun now labels it — appears newly energized for 2023. This follows a solid year in 2022 when the overall market sector I follow was up a healthy 18% (in aircraft registrations) over 2021. So, 2023 could be an exciting year in Paradise City.
Area SponsorsThis year the overall area has two major sponsors. This is not new. Sun 'n Fun has long had sponsors for the area but not of the capability of this year's pair. Everyone who has ever looked at an airplane knows Flying magazine. The new owner of this storied title is an LSA enthusiast himself so no surprise that he wanted to help this area. The magazine is giving away a high-end LSA as part of a subscription offer. The other sponsor is a new aircraft manufacturer, Junkers Aircraft. The historical German company has partnered with Waco Aircraft to build the distinctive A50 Junior as a Special Light-Sport Aircraft in Battle Creek, Michigan. Junkers will have a flight-line display at the center of Paradise City. Both Flying magazine and Junkers have big news to announce at Sun 'n Fun 2023. The LSA Mall again provides a central exhibit in Paradise City. The LSA Mall is sponsored in 2023 by several enterprises: Aero Affinity, Deland Municipal Airport, Evektor, and Bristell. As it has been for 16 years, the LSA Mall is hosted by LAMA, the Light-Sport Aircraft Aircraft Manufacturers Association. Rotax Aircraft Engines will once again sponsor two six-seat golf carts to help you get to and from Paradise City. Rotax pays for the golf carts and Paradise City volunteers drive them all day following a route from the core area (by the food court) to the LSA Mall. They can also go to "The Island" to help assure getting to Paradise City is easier than ever. This a free service thanks to Rotax. A closing thought to all attendees from our friends at AVweb, "Very important: Buy your parking pass online for $10; it’s $20 if bought at the gate." Sun 'n Fun announced tickets are selling at above-average rates, so you are advised to plan ahead and use their online ticket purchase system. AVweb also links to a couple other useful videos in their Sun 'n Fun 2023 preview article. See you in Lakeland!
- Sun 'n Fun, main airshow website
- Sun 'n Fun, online tickets link
- Flying magazine, LSA giveaway link
- Junkers Aircraft, content on this website
- Aero Affinity, content on this website
- DeLand Municipal Airport, city website for airport
- Evektor and Harmony LSA, content on this website
- Bristell USA and BRM Aero, content on this website
- Rotax Aircraft Engines, content on this website
- LAMA, Light Aircraft Manufacturers Association, organization website
Whoo, Hoo! It’s almost showtime! April 2023 seems destined to finally overcome all the Covid baggage as attendees sign up in droves for Sun ‘n Fun. With a delicious 10-day spacing between them — time to rest up a bit after a vigorous week — later in April comes Aero Friedrichshafen. Get ready for plenty of reporting from these two events. Both events have new leadership in 2023. A time for changes. Fresh ideas are emerging. What can you expect at this years airshows? With Sun ‘n Fun 2023 starting in about two weeks as this is written, let’s focus on Lakeland, Florida first. Organizers of the 49th event announced major plans for this popular airshow that kicks off the recreational flying season. My focus is on LSA, Sport Pilot kits, and ultralights. At Sun ‘n Fun, that means Paradise City, where big things are happening. You would not be wrong if you scanned this article and saw increased interest in this part of the overall Sun ‘n Fun grounds.
I regularly say this website follows aircraft you can afford. Whenever I write that word, I know someone will object saying that (fill-in-the-price) is too expensive. I get that. We all have a different budget and our budget can change quickly.How about if the aircraft was essentially free? And what if you could choose between two highly-desirable models? What if the only cost to get your "lottery" ticket was to subscribe to a popular magazine? Gee, fellow flying fans — I'd say that sounded like the bargain of 2023. It's the most lucrative giveaway that has been unveiled in the LSA space since it began almost 20 years ago.
Thanks, Flying!When I was a young pilot — quite a long time ago — one of the first aviation magazines I ever read was Flying. You could buy it on any newsstand. With a 96-year history, anyone getting involved in flying ended up reading Flying magazine. A couple years ago, the magazine — long headquartered in New York — relocated to Chattanooga, Tennessee. A new organization took it over under the banner of Flying Media. After this major move, Flying first went to quarterly while it boosted its presence online. After a year getting the electronic side running at full speed, Flying Media returned the print magazine to monthly even while keeping its thick, premium look and feel. The pages are smartly designed and full of great images and content. LSA enthusiasts may be particularly interested to hear the top man in the organization is an LSA pilot and enthusiast. The leading magazine will keep a focus on jets and other high-end aircraft, but they have a fond view of lighter aviation and have plans to expand such coverage. They say you'll hear more about this at Sun 'n Fun.
Sign Up to Win"Flying is giving one lucky winner their very own aircraft," the magazine offered. "Plus, we’re including $30,000 cash to help cover the seaplane rating (if necessary), training, and insurance."
Those who are an active subscriber of Flying Magazine between the dates of January 1st, 2023 and March 31st, 2024 will automatically receive one (1) Initial Entry into the Sweepstakes drawings."How does that deal sound? You buy a subscription for $40 — which you should get anyway — and you are automatically entered in the prize drawing for an aircraft worth $200,000 or more. If you give a friend a gift subscription, you get an additional entry, and you can give up to 10 gifts. Somebody is going to win and the odds are fantastically better than any state lottery. You won't be competing against millions of others. In my mind, winning a free airplane sounds like a great way to start a new year! Even if you don't win, you'll get a beautiful aviation magazine each month. reported on Astore previously. "Built for adventure, Icon A5 has a mission profile focused on recreational flying," said Flying. "This aircraft has great ramp appeal, and can be landed on oceans or lakes across the country." I have often reported on A5.
See Flying and A50 Junior at Sun 'n Fun 2023Readers of this page who attend Sun 'n Fun probably always visit Paradise City, previously known as the Ultralight Area or more recently "Light Plane." This year, attendees will see changes overall at Sun 'n Fun and also in Paradise City. This year our favorite recreational flying area of the Lakeland show is sponsored by two leading names in aviation. Flying magazine is a sponsor of Paradise as is Junkers Aircraft. You know the magazine but Junkers, though the brand may sound familiar, seems to recall an earlier time. Indeed, the storied German name has been around nearly a century, since the early days of aviation. Now… they're back and they are coming to America! Welcome to Junkers and their American importer and partner, Waco Aircraft, of deluxe biplane fame. Waco will supply Junkers models from Battle Creek, Michigan, where Waco aircraft are built. In addition to sponsoring Paradise City, Junkers will exhibit at Sun 'n Fun 2023 in a central location in the Light Plane space. Here attendees can examine their A50 Junior. I predict strong interest as my earlier article on the model lit up cyberspace as one of our most-read articles in all of 2022. Quick Glance at A50 Junior — Original took its maiden flight 94 years ago, in February 1929. Now, newly reimagined. LSA with modern safety and technology, mixed with 1930s art-deco style. Corrugated aluminum skin stays true to the original. Garmin G3X 10-inch display. Galaxy ballistic airframe parachute system. Classic spoke wheels; Beringer brakes. In honor of the 1929 design, the company plans special pricing for its first 29 aircraft sold. To learn availability, contact Waco Aircraft. C'mon down to Sun 'n Fun and see A50 Junior plus visit Flying and Junkers in Paradise City where you can also find the LSA Mall, hosted as always by LAMA, the Light Aircraft Manufacturers Association, sponsored in 2023 by DeLand Airport and Aero Affinity. I hope to see you in Lakeland!
- Tecnam Astore, content on this website
- Icon Aircraft, content on this website
- Flying Magazine Ultimate Giveaway, sweepstakes website
- Junkers Aircraft, U.S. website for Waco Aircraft (for contact info)
- Junkers Aircraft, manufacturer website page on A50 Junior (historical)
- Sun 'n Fun 2023, event website
I regularly say this website follows aircraft you can afford. Whenever I write that word, I know someone will object saying that (fill-in-the-price) is too expensive. I get that. We all have a different budget and our budget can change quickly. How about if the aircraft was essentially free? And what if you could choose between two highly-desirable models? What if the only cost to get your “lottery” ticket was to subscribe to a popular magazine? Gee, fellow flying fans — I’d say that sounded like the bargain of 2023. It’s the most lucrative giveaway that has been unveiled in the LSA space since it began almost 20 years ago. Thanks, Flying! When I was a young pilot — quite a long time ago — one of the first aviation magazines I ever read was Flying. You could buy it on any newsstand. With a 96-year history, anyone getting involved in flying ended up reading Flying magazine.
"In 1928," said the company, "what was to become the most successful Junkers sports aircraft left our Dessau production plant for the first time: a single-engine, two-seat, low-wing aircraft with an oval fuselage cross-section and corrugated sheet metal skin. The prototype was equipped with an 80 horsepower Armstrong-Siddeley engine.
"Astonishingly, she had a take-off weight of a mere 600 kilograms, a light aircraft from the very beginning," said Junkers.Why am I writing about a 93-year-old aircraft? Because, "It's back!"
Back to the Future?"Our Junkers A50 Junior had its maiden flight in February 1929," recalled Junkers (say: "yun-kers"). "In that year, 69 aircraft were manufactured, [some of] which set a number of FAI world records. Various European record flights were also carried out with the A50. Famously Marga von Etzdorf was the first woman to fly from Berlin to Tokyo in 1930 with her Junior A50. This aircraft had the potential to become "the people's aircraft," company records report, but a global economic crisis intervened. Today, as a light, sport aircraft A50 Junior combines the latest technology with the flair of the '30s. "This unique aircraft induces feelings of freedom for new adventures," said Junkers. "With our new production A50 Junior, the dream of flying back in time is today attainable. We prepare the way; climb aboard to experience adventure!" "A50 Junior comes packed full of the latest technologies, including a 9-series Rotax engine, MT Mühlbauer propeller, Beringer brakes, and Garmin avionics" said Junkers. "An integrated Galaxy whole airframe parachute system ensures an outstanding level of safety." Early in 2022, the company forecast first deliveries of the distinctive aircraft in April 2022. Inspired by the original birth of the A50 (1929), the first 29 aircraft will be sold at an introductory price of €179,000 (as this is written in July 2022, dollars and euros are almost at parity).
Collaboration EffortTo create their stylish, vintage design, Junkers partnered with Kaelin.aero and the choice seemed appropriate, in two ways. From an engineer's view, Kaelin has long experience in aircraft maintenance and put a large, qualified staff on the task (see video). The vintage-appearing construction looks rather labor intensive, as with most specialty manufacturing. With that in mind, their introductory price may be quite a value. From a stylist's view, A50 Junior is a work of art from its graceful air-splitting nose down its corrugated skin, to its leather cockpit trim and two open tandem seats, to its wire-spoke wheels. Kaelin's website shows an artistic flavor not common in maintenance and restoration operations. "This new version of the Junkers A50 is an ultralight aircraft in the 600-kilogram class," wrote Kaelin. Designed with open tandem seating, "A50 Junior resembles a typical light aircraft from the end of the 1920s, so it has a very classic appearance." "[Junior] does incorporate the latest technology … to ensure the greatest possible safety," added Kaelin. As nearby images show, A50 Junior has modern digital avionics screens. "The pilot monitors and controls from the rear seat," said Kaelin, but "otherwise the cockpit retains its retro trim." England's Flyer magazine reported plans from Junkers Flugzeugwerke AG, "A50 Junior is built and approved to the new 600 kilogram microlight category in Germany, which means it should be available throughout Europe and the UK." No plans have yet been announced for American distribution. Flyer goes on, "The idea of recreating the Junkers A50 Junior came from Dieter Morszeck, who was behind the replica Junkers F13. Mr. Morszeck’s family firm Rimowa produces the iconic suitcase with a similar exterior skin. (nearby image) The British magazine also reported that Kaelin Aero previously constructed the Junkers F13. "Kaelin is a renowned aviation engineering company in Germany with much experience in renovations and modifications," added Flyer. Swiss engineering and quality combined with a fascinating Art Deco look conveyed by the corrugated-skin airframe and its two, separated tandem seats will generate admiring looks at any airfield you visit. As it made a flight from Berlin to Tokyo back in 1930 — I can only imagine how challenging that would have been 92 years ago — Junkers A50 Junior now looks poised for a comeback. Do Americans find this classic appearance compelling? Perhaps in the future…?
Junkers Flugzeugwerke AG A50 Junior TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS information supplied by Junkers
- Wingspan — 32 feet / 9.7 meters
- Length — 23 feet 4 inches / 7.1 meters
- Height — 7 feet 9 inches / 2.4 meters
- Empty weight — 705 pounds / 320 kilograms
- Max weight — 1,320 pounds / 600 kilograms
- Engine — 100 horsepower Rotax 912iS
- Prop — MTV-33-1-A / 170
- Fuel Capacity — 31.7 gallons / 120 liters
- Cruise Speed — 100 knots / 185 kilometers per hour
- Top Speed — 111 knots / 205 kilometers per hour
- Stall Speed — 41 miles per hour / 76 kilometers per hour
Talk about being ahead of its time, Junkers’ A50 Junior was designed to 600 kilograms / 1,320 pounds …93 years ago! “In 1928,” said the company, “what was to become the most successful Junkers sports aircraft left our Dessau production plant for the first time: a single-engine, two-seat, low-wing aircraft with an oval fuselage cross-section and corrugated sheet metal skin. The prototype was equipped with an 80 horsepower Armstrong-Siddeley engine. “Astonishingly, she had a take-off weight of a mere 600 kilograms, a light aircraft from the very beginning,” said Junkers. Why am I writing about a 93-year-old aircraft? Because, “It’s back!” Back to the Future? “Our Junkers A50 Junior had its maiden flight in February 1929,” recalled Junkers (say: “yun-kers”). “In that year, 69 aircraft were manufactured, [some of] which set a number of FAI world records. Various European record flights were also carried out with the A50. Famously Marga von Etzdorf was the first woman to fly from Berlin to Tokyo in 1930 with her Junior A50.