In today’s Sydney Flyer article, author Anthony Coleiro shares his most recent instalment of his X-Files series. This is Anthony’s 144th article under the ‘X-Files’ banner for the club magazine.
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With the Soviet forces rolling across Nazi Germany from the East in mid-1945 smashing their way to the heart of the Nazi empire, they came across an unusual jet powered bomber in the form of the Junkers Ju 287 that we had a look at in our last instalment of X-Files. As it was mentioned in that article, not only the aircraft fell into the hands of the Soviets but also the designers and the engineers as well. Some of these were transported back to Russia with the aircraft to assist in developing further the Soviet Union’s aviation technology.
One of those German designers who found themselves with a new address was Professor Brunolf Baade. After spending some time as a ‘guest’ of the Soviet Union assisting the Russians with the further development of the Ju 287, he was allowed to return to the now Soviet Bloc portion of Germany, now known as East Germany, to work on aviation projects there for the state owned Volkseigner Betriese Flugzeugbau in Dresden that was set up in 1954. Back at home, he was assigned the project of developing an all-metal jet powered short-range airliner. The aircraft became known as the Type BB-152 which he started in 1958. The aircraft had a high wing with a pronounced anhedral. At the tips of each wing was located a fuel tank apart from 16 internal fuel cells located within the wings and it was powered by four 6,945 lb thrust VDL Pirna Type 014 turbojet 12-stage axial flow engines grouped in pairs under each wing. These engines were a derivative of the Junkers 012 turbojet which gave the aircraft a maximum speed of 920 km/h (normal cruise speed was 800 km/h) and a range of 2,500 km.
The aircraft would need a crew of either 4 or 5 to operate and would accommodate 48-72 passengers depending on the configuration of the cabin be it either a single or mixed class layout.
For an airliner, it had a most unusual undercarriage layout, it had tandem main gear. One sees this arrangement on the American B-52 and the earlier B-47 bombers with outrigger wheels under the engine pods.
VEB BB-152 Prototypes
Three prototypes were constructed and the first was rolled out of the VEB aircraft plant in Dresden in late 1958. The metal skin was unpainted apart from the government’s logo of DDR and its registration of DM-ZYA.
The first flight of the Type BB-152 took place on 4 December 1958 but it was short lived crashing while under test in 1959 and being completely destroyed. It was found that there was nothing wrong with the aircraft but rather it was put down to pilot error. There was much promise with this aircraft and three initial production aircraft were under construction, the first of a planned batch of 24 but they were not completed. The end came for this aircraft not due to any failure with the aircraft but rather with the severe economic conditions that the East German government faced resulting in the shutdown of such an expensive program.
Monogram Close-Up 1 Junkers 287
Monogram Aviation Publications
The Illustrated Ency. of Aircraft
The Illustrated International Aircraft Guide Early Jetliners