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Aircraft Review - Junkers A50 Junior S-LSA by vSkyLabs

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Aircraft Review - Junkers A50 Junior S-LSA by vSkyLabs


One of the most interesting things of the changing of the eras, is the transition point, or a certain revolutionary design that in itself creates the new era. These time periods are interesting, exciting as well...  as you are seeing the forward advances of a particular genre. In Aviation's case, these forward advances in design and increasing engine power was in the early to late 1920's, this period was breathtaking in the changes of aircraft. From the frame and fabric (tri) biplanes of the First World War, to the first steps of commercial aviation that changed the world.


Center of this explosion of sweeping change, is Junkers Flugzeug- und Motorenwerke AG, a maker of boilers and radiators. "Junkers" as they are known created the first all metal designed aircraft in the Junkers J1, nicknamed the Blechesel (Tin Donkey or Sheet Metal Donkey), that was the monumental transition point from the frame/fabric to a Monocoque construction. The J1 was only an experimental aircraft, but it did create a subsequent series of monocoque metal based airframes, and created success for Junkers.


With this success, Junkers wanted to expand into other aircraft categories. Most current Junker aircraft were medium to large by the day's standards, but what of a Junior or smaller "Sports" aircraft or "Sportsplane".

The Junkers A50 Junior was the first sportsplane designed by Hermann Pohlmann. It had the same modern all-metal construction, in being covered with corrugated duralumin sheet as the larger Junkers passenger planes. But the A50 was small, only a crew of two, sitting in tandem in separate open cockpits (if it flew without a passenger, one cockpit could be closed with a cover). powered by a Two-bladed propeller, and had a conventional fixed split axle mainwheel landing gear, with a rear skid.


The first flight of the A50 took place on 13 February 1929. It was followed by further four prototypes, in order to test different engines,

but eventually they settled on a 80-hp, 5-cylinder radial engine. Junkers expected to produce 5,000 aircraft, but stopped after manufacturing only 69, of which only 50 were sold. The high prices probably inhibited sales...  but the design had created a new category in aviation. However the Junkers A50 Junior was able to set a number of FAI world records around the world and became famous, amongst other things, because Marga von Etzdorf was the first woman to fly her Junkers A50 Junior from Berlin to Tokyo in several stages in 1931.


The aircraft however has not been resigned to the original's past. In 2022, (The new) Junkers Aircraft Works began production of a modernized version of the A50 for LSA approval. This new A50 features modern avionics, a 100 hp Rotax 912iS engine driving a composite MT-Propeller, and a ballistic parachute. As of May 2023, 27 of these new A50s have been sold in Europe, and plans have been made for the American WACO Aircraft Corporation to produce aircraft for American customers. Light Sport Aircraft (LSA) category is a small 2 seat aircraft with a maximum take-off weight of 600kg.


The modern interpretation of the Junker A50 is the version here for the X-Plane 12 Simulator by vSkyLabs. This aircraft is part of the ‘Test-Pilot’ Series, an open ended on going project with regular updates and changes as part of the process. The vSkyLabs Junkers A50 Junior is based on the modern German version, there will also be no X-Plane 11 version.


VSL Junkers-A50 Junior Head 1.jpgVSL Junkers-A50 Junior Head 2.jpgVSL Junkers-A50 Junior Head 3.jpgVSL Junkers-A50 Junior Head 4.jpgVSL Junkers-A50 Junior Head 5.jpg


Like a flying cigar, the A50 is long and very sleek. Although this version is the modern interpretation of the 1929 classic, the lines and construction are exactly the same. It is very easy to behold this futuristic design in those early days, it looks and feels very Pre-war WW2 Junkers as well.


The reproduction of the corrugated duralumin sheeting or an early type of age-hardenable aluminium–copper alloy is excellently well done here. The term is a combination of Dürener and Aluminium. It was also used extensively on Zeppelin Airships of the same period.


VSL Junkers-A50 Junior Head 6.jpgVSL Junkers-A50 Junior Head 7.jpgVSL Junkers-A50 Junior Head 8.jpgVSL Junkers-A50 Junior Head 9.jpg


The aircraft is all basically duralumin, except for the shiny Aluminium engine cowl and wheel struts. The propeller is actually a modern composite MT-Propeller, than the old wooden version, for weight and strength. On the real A50, you can remove the wings, or fold them backwards, but not on the vSkyLabs version.


VSL Junkers-A50 Junior Head 10.jpgVSL Junkers-A50 Junior Head 11.jpg


The exhaust is modern as well, and the oil cooler gives the modern engine type away. The gear design from the 1920's however has been retained, with a bicycle spoke style design, pencil thin tyres and with disc brakes. It is a basic arrangement, but works and it is very nicely replicated here in it's simplistic but metallic splendour.


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The twin cockpits are wildly spaced apart along the narrow fuselage, not at all combined together forward like of the Tiger Moth and such aircraft.


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The brown leather cockpit surround is lovely, but missing is the cover for the front cockpit when empty? expect in an update...  There are two pilots (slightly animated) and lifelike (meaning realistic). They are selected via the X-Plane "Weight, Balance & Fuel" via the sliders. In the rear is the pilot, in the front is the passenger...  and to note the severe Centre of Gravity position with only the rear pilot in the aircraft, so you have to find ways to balance the aircraft in better to compensate for the odd weight distribution.


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Both pilot and passenger are not hands or legs animated as noted, but if you press Command "G" (Toggle landing gear) then the front passenger will slip sideways for the rear pilot to see ahead, a nice feature. And an override of the fixed landing gear on the A50.


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In the (rear) cockpit it is all metal inside. Incredible is the design of almost 100 years between the two generations of A50s. But in here the metal design and construction it is almost the same, it is like living in the past, now in the future.


VSL Junkers-A50 Junior Cockpit 1.jpgVSL Junkers-A50 Junior Cockpit 2.jpg


It is very well done in recreating this construction aspect of the aircraft. Simple stick and rudder pedals are well done, as is the housing for the cables. There is a "Remove Before Flight" safety pin (Emergency Parachute) that is stored in the right side satchel. On the left side are two levers, rear is the Elevator Trim, front the Throttle...  left rear floor is the fuel tank selector.


VSL Junkers-A50 Junior Cockpit 3.jpgVSL Junkers-A50 Junior Cockpit 4.jpgVSL Junkers-A50 Junior Cockpit 5.jpg


The real (modern) A50 Junior has installed a Garmin G3X Touch 10” with a Garmin G3X Touch 7” or GI 275 with Winter altimeter/Winter airspeed indicators as instruments. Here in the vSkyLabs version we have the customised Laminar Research Garmin G1000 fitted.


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And nicely intergrated it is...  Power switches and start button are on the left, (active) Circuit Breakers (Fuses) with ELT and USB Charge panels on the right. Up top are the two bus (ECU) lights, and on the very top is a AOA (Angle of Attack) avionics upgrade, based on the 'Alpha Systems AOA' Eagle AOA kit. (we will look at this in flight)


The G1000 is the standard default Avionics system...  Speed and Altitude/Vertical Speed tapes, Artificial Horizon, Horizontal Situation Indicator (HSI) with NAV 1/GPS BRG (Backgrounds), Speeds, Baro, Altitude, Wind, HDG (Heading) and CRS (Course) are all shown.


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There are however two configurations (custom) of the PFD (Primary Flight Display). One (above) has three readouts, in being overlaid with top left Cylinder Head Temperature (CHT), below is the Manifold Pressure and for right lower is the Engine RPM. Turnoff the "AVIO" switch far left and the screen changes to the standard G1000 engine readout panel.


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Here now shown is the RPM (top), FF (Fuel Flow), Oil Pressure, Oil Temp, EGT (Exhaust Gas Temperature), VAC (Vacuum), Fuel Quantity, Electrical (Bus/Volts) and Battery (Amps).


Pressing the P/MFD (red Button) with change the screen to the Multi-Function/MAP Display.


VSL Junkers-A50 Junior Cockpit 9.jpg


Standard adjustable G1000 popouts are available in both engine display modes, but the three custom instruments don't show on that setting.


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Obviously a very simple instrumentation set up, but really well done here in this basic Sports style aircraft.



Flying the (Modern) Junkers A50 Junior

Turning on the power, even selecting the twin ECU Buses doesn't bring the A50 alive. So there is also the need to push in all the CBs (Circuit Breakers/Fuses), then while doing so you see the different systems on the different CB selections relating to the various avionics.


Fuel selector is on the floor, and their is no "All" tank selection, just Left-Right (tanks) or OFF, so you have to select one of the L-R tanks for fuel flow...  Fuel capacity is 95L (25 US gal; 21 imp gal), Range is an amazing 600 km (370 mi, 320 nmi). When ready just press the Starter Button to easily fire up the engine.


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Unlike the original A50, this is a modern powerplant, a 100 hp Rotax 912i that comes with more power as well than the older original installation of the  Armstrong Siddeley Genet which is a five-cylinder, air-cooled, radial engine for aircraft use, that was then built in the UK, and first run in 1926. 

The Genet developed 80 hp at 2,200 rpm in its final form and was in this era a very popular light aircraft powerplant. The later Rotax 912 is a horizontally-opposed four-cylinder, naturally-aspirated, four-stroke aircraft engine with a reduction gearbox. It features liquid-cooled cylinder heads and air-cooled cylinders. Originally equipped with carburetors, the later versions are now fuel injected. It sounds brilliant, although these Rotax engine sounds are now very common in the X-Plane Simulator.


There is no "Novice" setting for the tailwheel, it is either locked or free castoring under the X-Plane "Toggle tailwheel lock" setting... so taxiing is a tricky business, either power up with the tailwheel locked and use the toe-brakes heavily to drag the tail into the direction you want to go. Or use a combination of going straight, then "Toggling" the tailwheel on/off by the key Command and using a lighter touch on the toe-brake to turn, or if the aircraft is actually castoring in the right direction...   then locking the tailwheel again to go straight when turned to the right direction of travel...  messy and hard work, especially if you are not very competent with this taildragger style?


VSL Junkers-A50 Junior Startup 5.jpgVSL Junkers-A50 Junior Startup 6.jpg


You can't see much either when taxiing, as your just not positioned close up front behind the passenger, but sited way down in the rear, but central position in the aircraft.


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Overall the A50 Junior is just a simply Stick and Rudder aircraft, with a few modern tweaks. So you fly the machine in a very basic way.


VSL Junkers-A50 Junior Flying 1.jpgVSL Junkers-A50 Junior Flying 2.jpg


Tons of right rudder is needed to keep you straight and you will have to find that sweet position to counter the engine asymmetric thrust, your tail lifts just after 30 knts (33 knts) then the rudder aerodynamics now need the control, still giving right rudder, but your moving the pedals around now a bit finer. Takeoff is around 45 knts and officially noted as 250 m (820 ft), no flaps here.


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You don't really have a Vertical Speed, just a gradual climb out of around 400 fpm.


VSL Junkers-A50 Junior Flying 6.jpgVSL Junkers-A50 Junior Flying 7.jpg


You feel like Louis Blériot, the first person to cross the English Channel in 1909...   exposed in a simple aircraft, the wind rushing past your face (a small in your face fan helps with the effect)...  but it's great fun, aviation in it's very basic form in this very striking looking aircraft.


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Unlike the 1929 version, here you have on your A50 a few modern conveniences, like a full G1000 avionics package. So this gives you an Autopilot, and even Flightplans at your disposal (handy if you want to actually cross the English Channel).


VSL Junkers-A50 Junior Flying 12.jpgVSL Junkers-A50 Junior Flying 13.jpgVSL Junkers-A50 Junior Flying 14.jpg


Only one slight annoyance is that to switch between the PFD and MAP/Flightplan popup displays, you first have to close the current screen, then move over to the other selection, and then reopen the other pop-up, it is slightly annoying when setting up a flight plan and having to keep going back and forth to each of the different popup displays.


As noted you can move the head sideways with the front passenger, but the head still moves as well with the angle (bank) of the A50, which is very realistic, and both pilot and passenger heads move together in partnership.


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There are no liveries with the package. Although there is a choice of colours of the fuselage from the Modern Junkers A50 brochure, including; White Aluminium, Glacier White, Deep Black Pearl Effect, Papaya Metallic, Saffron Yellow Metallic and Frozen Blue...  I think they would be a nice addition to the package here.


VSL Junkers-A50 Junior Flying 18.jpg


Lighting is of course extremely basic... no landing lights, just wing navigation and strobe lights. Light comes from the G1000 displays, but there are two side lights that have no lighting source. The AOA base is pretty as well.


VSL Junkers-A50 Junior Lighting 1.jpgVSL Junkers-A50 Junior Lighting 2.jpgVSL Junkers-A50 Junior Lighting 3.jpg


The A50 Junior is actually very nicely balanced if you get the Elevator Trim right, like most of the era, these light aircraft are fun and fine to twirl around the sky in, with no loss of height in steep banks or with heavy manoeuvres...  lovely actually.


VSL Junkers-A50 Junior EGHR 1.jpgVSL Junkers-A50 Junior EGHR 2.jpg


But these Light-Sports are very susceptible in winds, and the forces will shake you and buffet you around, as seen in this video.



I need to have a look at my landing field, EGHR - Goodwood in the south of England. So I do an orientation pass over the field, and note the grass strips are very hard to see?


VSL Junkers-A50 Junior EGHR 3.jpgVSL Junkers-A50 Junior EGHR 4.jpg


But the G1000 does give you a few tools to help...  the Course Pointer in the HSI is great for aligning you going downwind in the landing pattern (then for runway course alignment). The G1000 HSI also has ILS alignment, but not here with the grass landing strips, but good to know if you want a landing alignment tool.


VSL Junkers-A50 Junior EGHR 6.jpgVSL Junkers-A50 Junior EGHR 5.jpg


Going downwind I drop down to 300ft and 73 knts, ready for the approach...  then a 180º turn back to the field, again using the course angle to set the Runway 32 approach. Now down 200 ft and dropping the speed to get the best descent angle...  a lot of feel (feedback) through the throttle is very good.


VSL Junkers-A50 Junior EGHR 8.jpgVSL Junkers-A50 Junior EGHR 9.jpg


There are no flaps here to reduce the speed zone, but it feels like a bi-plane in lift, pulling back on the stick, the A50 easily rubs off the speed to make the approach quite perfect, the Junkers Junior handles so well.


VSL Junkers-A50 Junior EGHR 10.jpgVSL Junkers-A50 Junior EGHR 11.jpg


Coming into finals on the 32 Approach, I'm not familiar with the airfield, so I'm a little off angle, but I'm fine with that...  Now the AOA "Eagle" feature comes alive, and I'm tracking too low at the rear...  gradually I adjust the pitch nose down to move the AOA upwards.


VSL Junkers-A50 Junior EGHR 12.jpgVSL Junkers-A50 Junior EGHR 13.jpg


It is very good, it sets the A50 up to the almost perfect angle for landing, throttle power is now my other tool to control the final descent. consistently adjusting the speed and AOA angle until they both perfectly match...


VSL Junkers-A50 Junior EGHR 14.jpgVSL Junkers-A50 Junior EGHR 15.jpgVSL Junkers-A50 Junior EGHR 16.jpgVSL Junkers-A50 Junior EGHR 17.jpg


...   On the perfect AOA blue circle, and your set, and then you glide down onto the grass, and then touch!


VSL Junkers-A50 Junior EGHR 18.jpgVSL Junkers-A50 Junior EGHR 19.jpgVSL Junkers-A50 Junior EGHR 20.jpg


Then let the rear settle.


VSL Junkers-A50 Junior EGHR 21.jpgVSL Junkers-A50 Junior EGHR 22.jpg


Considering the almost One Hundred years between the first A50, and this new modern counterpart. The flight aspect in the stick and rudder, metal long tube fuselage and lovely wings. It is just the instruments that are different, but the actual A50 flight experience is remarkably the same.



The Junkers A50 already is a legend. As it was the first Sportsplane, and designed by Hermann Pohlmann in the Junkers works. The first flight of the A50 took place on 13 February 1929. It was followed by a further four prototypes, in order to test different engines, but settled on a 80-hp, 5-cylinder radial engine.


The A50 was an all metal construction sports plane, conventional in layout, with low cantilever wings and stressed corrugated duralumin covered, the same material as used in the Zeppelin Airships.... Two-spar wings could fold rearwards or be detached. Crew of two, sit in tandem, in separate open cockpits (if it flew without a passenger, one cockpit could be closed with a cover). The A50 used a Two-blade propeller and conventional fixed split axle main-wheel landing gear, with a rear skid. Junkers expected to produce 5,000 aircraft, but stopped after manufacturing only 69, of which only 50 were sold.


The aircraft however has not been resigned to the past. In 2022, Junkers Aircraft Works began production of a modernized version of the A50 called the "Junior S" for LSA approval. This new A50 features modern avionics, a 100 hp Rotax 912iS engine driving a composite MT-Propeller, and a ballistic parachute. As of May 2023, 27 of these new A50s have sold in Europe, and plans have been made for WACO Aircraft Corporation to produce aircraft for American customers. Light Sport Aircraft (LSA) category is a small 2 seat aircraft with a maximum take-off weight of 600kg.


This A50 aircraft is from renowned vSkyLabs, and it is based on the modern German version, it comes with a dual display G1000 Avionics system, 'Alpha Systems' Eagle AOA (Angle of Attack) and semi-animated pilots. Beautifully designed and well recreated of the original look and feel of this unique material, it is also tailored for perfect VR (Virtual Reality) realism. Flight dynamics and (Rotex) engine sounds are also first rate.


Basically the A50 is a simple stick and rudder aircraft, from originally a dynamic era of change in aviation. So the aircraft to use and fly is simply excellent for novices, but beware the taildragger steering is tricky and difficult to use on the ground with no artificial helpers.


So recreate and fly in this 1920's innovative era aircraft, with a modern twist, I really loved it...  once in the air, and to have the features of using modern tools (Autopilot, Flightplans, HSI, ILS alignment) should feel odd in this environment, but I still loved it. Even if I will always desire the authentic 1920's experience. The vSkyLabs A50 Junior is great value as well, as is the excellent on-going support from vSkyLabs...  so in my eyes the Junkers A50 Junior is an all round winner.



X-Plane Store logo sm.jpg


Yes! Junkers A50 Junior S-LSA XP12 by vSkyLabs is NOW available from the X-Plane.Org Store here :

VSKYLABS Junkers A50 Junior S-LSA XP12

Price is US$29.00, on sale for US$20.30, You Save:$8.70(30%)



X-Plane 12 (not for XP11)
Windows, Mac and Linux
8 GB+ VRAM Recommended
Current version: 1.0 (March 29th 2024)


Project Main Features:

  • VSKYLABS 'Test-Pilot' Project: designed for use with X-Plane cutting edge flight model environment, featuring superb flight dynamics with authentic performance and flight handling characteristics.
  • Superb Flight dynamics: The VSKYLABS Junkers A50 Junior simulation is a highly engineered, robust tail-glider S-LSA simulation model which makes use of X-Plane 12 sophisticated flight dynamics and physics simulation, extracting it to its limits.
  • Simulated systems: The VSKYLABS Junkers A50 Junior features X-Plane 12 latest native features, systems and physics. This assures a 'high airworthiness' in X-Plane, throughout its update process. Some systems may be restricted to X-Plane default systems algorithms.
  • General cockpit configuration: Equipped with a full-scale and fully-featured X-Plane 12 G1000, in a single-screen / dual-display configuration, to allow maximum usability.
  • Equipped with Alpha Systems AOA 'Eagle' indicator replica.
  • Passenger leaning-aside feature for better takeoff and landing forward visibility (by demand via interaction/assignment).
  • Built for VR: development was tailored specifically for VR, and optimized for 2D usage.
  • Perfect fit for beginner and expert pilots: The aircraft is designed to be flown from the back-seat cockpit. This configuration requires higher piloting skills, and it *will* make you a better pilot!. The front-seat cockpit is fully functional as well, with the limitations which are derived from the real-world Junkers A50 Junior front-seat operations).
  • Wonderful FMOD sound package that includes authentic Rotax 912iS engine recordings and an interactive set of dynamic sound layers that will "wrap" your open-cockpit flying experience, setting a whole new level of immersion!
  • Autoupdater based on the SkunkCrafts autoupdater (XP12 only) - all updates are being pushed smoothly without the need to re-download the entire base package (base package will be updated every once in a while to minimize the gap).
Note: In order to use and enjoy VR environment in X-Plane, user hardware and system specs should meet the required specifications for OS, CPU, GPU, MB and RAM which are specified both in the given VR hardware websites and at X-Plane.com.
Aircraft download is 290.1 Mb, and unpacked then installed in your X-Plane  Aircraft folder 408.5 Mb
  • How to INSTALL your VSKYLABS aircraft.pdf
  • How to UPDATE your VSKYLABS aircraft.pdf


  • VSKYLABS Junkers A50 Junior ESSENTIALS.pdf
  • VSKYLABS Junkers A50 Junior POH.pdf


Junker A50 POH.jpgJunker A50 Essentials.jpg

Designed by VSKYLABS
Support forum for the Junkers A50 Junior


Review System Specifications: 

Windows  - 12th Gen IS1700 Core i7 12700K 12 Core 3.60 GHz CPU - 64bit -32 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133PNY GeForce RTX 3080 10GB XLR8 - Samsung 970 EVO+ 2TB SSD

Software:   - Windows 11 Pro - X-Plane 12.09rc5 (This is a Release Candidate review).

Plugins: Traffic Global - JustFlight-Traffic (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$52.99 : Global SFD plugin US$30.00

Scenery or Aircraft

- EGKA - Shoreham - Brighton City Airport by NKdesign (X-Plane.orgStore) US$15.00

- EGHR - Goodwood Chichester 1.0.0 by  jbnemo (X-Plane.Org) - Free



Update Review by Stephen Dutton

5th April 2024

Copyright©2024: X-Plane Reviews


(Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Rights Reserved


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  • Stephen changed the title to Aircraft Review - Junkers A50 Junior S-LSA by vSkyLabs

This is a truly fabulous and fun craft to fly. Stephen's spot on... the head movements are ingenious, elevating immersion yet another notch, and for me, they're the icing on the A50's cake. Literally setting up a face-fan for my next flight Stephen!lol


A super review for an absolute go-to aircraft. Superb!

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