The Junkers Ju-52 record car with registration number HB-HOT and the nickname "Auntie Ju" had already landed safely 8783 times. When it last took off on August 4, 2018 in Locarno, visibility was good, a stimulus from the Azores that ranged from the British Isles to the Black Sea. But during the flight to Zurich, the three-stroke engine suddenly began to spin after the left turn. Almost vertically she crashed into the ground near Flims. 17 passengers, both pilots and stewardesses were dead on the spot. The crash seemed puzzling.
Three months later There is already an interim report from the Swiss Safety Investigation Council (Sust). The analysis of the remains reveals damage that existed before the crash. The supporting structure of the wings consists of tubes assembled together. They had cracks seen with the naked eye, such as Susan in his investigation with a photo report. It describes them as "a significant corrosive damage".
Also hinges and fittings were cracked, anti-corrosion paint was cleared. The wooden floor of the plane was even rotten. On fuel and oil hoses, researchers also find "significant aging injuries" that they document with blurry images of blurry lines. Closing indicates the hose fitting date. Since 11.11.1988 he has not been replaced.
Damage to the injured Ju machine
The Ju-Air airline also documented their Sust supporter. There was no information about modifications and spare parts.
'Serious structural damage'
The good news for Ju-Air is: The deficiencies are according to Sust, no reason for the crash. So far, this is a mystery. But these were security flaws, which probably also affected both company sons.
The Federal Civil Aviation Authority (Basel) responded immediately to the report, while a flight ban on the two remaining Auntie Yu. The regulator finds even clearer words from the investigators and writes about "serious structural damage".
"It seems very ambitious"
But Ju-Air believes grounding will have no impact on their operations. The airline started the winter break anyway this week. The last flights were held last week, those of the weekend were canceled due to fog. In March 2019, she wanted to resume flight operations as planned.
Basel's optimistic airline flight plan is unlikely to be astonished. Basel's spokesman, Christian Schubert, discusses his skepticism in a diplomatic formula:
"The resumption of flight operations in the spring seems very ambitious."
Ju-Air must now set up a control program specially developed for the Ju-52, with which it could explore previous inaccessible areas. This will take "a certain amount of time".
How long have the damage done?
One reason for the inconsistency between the federal government and the airline is the different interpretation of the damage. Basel, who had checked the emergency machine four months before the crash, suggests that the cracks in the normal checks can not be determined.
Ju-Air spokesman Christian Gartman says:
"Our technicians would have found the maintenance cracks a year ago if they had already existed.
The tubes were examined with so-called boroscopes, miniature chambers that were inserted into the cavities. When the Ju-Air technicians learned about the Suiter's toughest discoveries, they took pictures of their last support from the archive. "Our records prove that the pipes were in perfect condition at that time," Gartman said. This would mean that the damage would have been done in the meantime. But this is disputed in Basel, after all, corrosion is a slow aging process.
Turn the boss of Yu
This is not the first time that fans of the car record stand out with their unbridled optimism. The day after the crash was announced by Ju-Air boss Kurt Waldmeier, the flight operations would be suspended. But four days later he made a twist. Just two weeks after the tragedy, it was usual. Waldmeier argues that the investigation will rule out a technical problem as a cause. The investigative authority contradicts it. The final report is available only in 2019.