The German Ju 88 was one of the most versatile airplanes of World War II. It operated in nearly every kind of combat role, including dive bomber, level bomber, night fighter, day interceptor, photographic reconnaissance, tank destroyer and even as an unpiloted missile. The Ju 88 made its first flight on Dec. 21, 1936, and hundreds remained in use when the war ended in 1945.
The airplane on display, a Ju 88D-1/Trop (later designated Ju 88D-3), is a long-range photographic reconnaissance version modified for tropical use. Known as the Baksheesh, it was the best known Ju 88 of the 15,000 built. Completed in June 1943, this aircraft was delivered to Romania, an ally of Germany during WWII. In July 1943, a disillusioned Romanian pilot flew the aircraft to Cyprus to defect to British forces there. The British Royal Air Force turned over Baksheesh to the U.S. Army Air Forces. After Wright Field test pilots flew the aircraft extensively, the USAAF stored it in the Arizona desert after the end of WWII. Shipped to the museum in January 1960, Baksheesh is painted in the Romanian Air Force markings it carried in July 1943.
TECHNICAL NOTES: Armament: Six 7.92mm machine guns Engines: Two Junkers Jumo 211s of 1,200 hp each Maximum speed: 295 mph Cruising speed: 225 mph Range: 1,553 mph Ceiling: 27,880 ft. Span: 65 ft. 10 in. Length: 47 ft. 1 in. Height: 15 ft. 11 in. Weight: 26,700 lbs.