During the Interwar period following World War 1 (1914-1918), a rearming Germany made strides in all sectors of its war-making industry including aerospace. Established German aeroplane maker Junkers Flugzeug, in business since 1915, put the finishing touches on what would become a forty-seat, quadruple-engined passenger airliner - the "Ju 90" - during 1937. The design was an evolution of the military-minded, though short-lived and ultimately abandoned, "Ju 89" long-range strategic heavy bomber for the Luftwaffe which encompassed just two prototypes.
For its part in aviation history, the Ju 90 went into the air for the first time on August 28th, 1937 and entered service with launch customer Deutsche Luft Hansa in 1938. Just eighteen of the type were built with some eventually being pressed into service with the Luftwaffe at the outbreak of World War 2 (1939-1945). Of the completed lot, two airframes survived all of the war only to be taken over by the Allies for evaluation before being scrapped in full.
On the whole, the new aircraft reused the design lines and general configuration of the Ju 89 before it. Mainplanes were set low along the sides of the fuselage and ahead of midships, each member given a pair of nacelle engines. The fuselage was slender and relatively thick with the flight deck overlooking the short nosecone and the empennage tapering to the twin-vertical-finned tail unit. A "tail dragger" undercarriage was fitted for ground-running and made retractable (including the tailwheel) to better preserve aerodynamics.
The aircraft was developed to specifications stated by air carrier Luft Hansa who sought a long-distance passenger hauler earlier in the decade. After the cancellation of the Ju 89 bomber project by the Luftwaffe, Junkers reused the third, still-incomplete, prototype airframe as the basis for the subsequent non-military Ju 90.
Luft Hansa contracted for a fleet of eight Ju 90 A-1 airframes though only seven of the lot were eventually delivered as the Luftwaffe claimed one of the litter (they later went on to claim six more of the aircraft and used some of this fleet in their invasion of Norway). South African Airways was to become another civilian operator of the series as it contracted for two aircraft, these differing in their switch to American Pratt & Whitney "Twin Wasp" radial engines of 900 horsepower. However, neither airframe was actually delivered to the company due to the outbreak of war - the pair, instead, given over to the Luftwaffe for the mounting war effort.
The Ju 90A-1 featured an operating crew of four can could carry forty passengers in relative comfort. Length reached 86.2 feet with a wingspan of 114.10 feet and a height of 24.6 feet. Empty weight was 42,385lb against an MTOW of 74,255lb. Power was served from 4 x BMW 132 H-1 9-cylinder air-cooled radial piston engines developing 820 horsepower apiece, these driving three-bladed, constant-speed propeller units.
Performance-wise, the A-1 could reach speeds of 220 miles-per-hour but was generally restricted to cruising at near-200mph speeds. Range (ferry) was an impressive 1,300 miles and its service ceiling peaked at 18,860 feet.
The follow-up Ju 90B had the vertical tailplanes and passenger cabin windows rounded off for a more streamlined, modern appearance. This mark was proven through a series of prototypes from V5 to V10.
Prototype V11 served as the framework for the Ju 290 transport / bomber and were joined by V7 and V8 while prototype V9 became the basis for the Ju 390 "Amerika Bomber" initiative. V4 served the Luftwaffe during the war years and was notable for its switch to Jumo 211F/L engines of 1,320 horsepower. V5 and V6 were used as prototypes to prove a military transport model for the Luftwaffe sound during 1939.
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(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
General transport functionality to move supplies/cargo or personnel (including wounded and VIP) over range.
Used in roles serving the commercial aviation market, ferrying both passengers and goods over range.
Incorporates two or more engines, enhancing survivability and / or performance.
Inherent ability of airframe to take considerable damage.
Can reach and operate at higher altitudes than average aircraft of its time.
EXTENDED RANGE PERFORMANCE
Capability to travel considerable distances through onboard fuel stores.
Ability to operate over ocean in addition to surviving the special rigors of the maritime environment.
Features partially- or wholly-enclosed crew workspaces.
Features retracting / retractable undercarriage to preserve aerodynamic efficiency.
86.3 ft (26.30 m)
114.8 ft (35.00 m)
24.6 ft (7.50 m)
42,384 lb (19,225 kg)
74,296 lb (33,700 kg)
+31,912 lb (+14,475 kg)
(Showcased structural values pertain to the Junkers Ju 90A-1 production variant)
monoplane / low-mounted / straight
Design utilizes a single primary wing mainplane; this represent the most popular mainplane arrangement.
Mainplanes are low-mounted along the sides of the fuselage.
The planform involves use of basic, straight mainplane members.
(Structural descriptors pertain to the Junkers Ju 90A-1 production variant)
4 x BMW 132 H-1 9-cylinder, air-cooled radial piston engines developing 820 horsepower each driving three-bladed propellers.
(Showcased performance specifications pertain to the Junkers Ju 90A-1 production variant. Performance specifications showcased above are subject to environmental factors as well as aircraft configuration. Estimates are made when Real Data not available. Compare this aircraft entry against any other in our database or View aircraft by powerplant type)
(Not all ordnance types may be represented in the showcase above)
Ju 90 - Base Series Designation.
Ribbon graphics not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective aerial campaigns / operations / aviation periods.
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Image from the Public Domain.
Aviation developments of similar form and function, or related to, the Junkers Ju 90...
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