Bf(Me)109G-4 “Red Seven” D-FWME
• Aircraft Type: Bf(Me)109G-4
• Operator: Airbus Group – Flugmuseum Messerschmitt
• Year of Manufacture: 1950
• Powered by: Daimler Benz 605 A
• Colour Scheme: Luftwaffe “Red Seven”
The development history of the Bf (Me) 109 goes back as far as 1934, when the Bavarian Aircraft Works (BFW) in Augsburg which became Messerschmitt AG in 1938 started development of a lightweight fighter plane for a competition held by the Reich Air Ministry (Reichsluftfahrtministerium). Willy Messerschmitt designed the aircraft, which was provisionally given the designation Bf 109, using all of the experience and knowledge on aircraft construction that was available at that time.
The fighter was designed and built as a low-wing monoplane, an all-metal monocoque construction with retractable landing gear, a closed cockpit, automatic leading-edge slats, landing flaps and a variable-pitch propeller.
The prototype Bf (Me) 109 V 1 made its maiden flight on 28 May 1935. By 1937, a prototype had already become the first German landplane to break the world speed record, achieving a speed of 611 km/h. (380mph).
The Bf(Me)109 went into serial production for the German Luftwaffe in 1937, becoming its standard fighter. Numerous models were built to adapt the Bf(Me)109 to the changing requirements over time. In 1938, the E model of the DB 601 engine with an overall displacement of 30 l.
In 1939, the F model, the Bf(Me)109F, was made more aerodynamic. This was followed by the largest production run to date, of the Bf(Me)109G with the higher performance DB 605 engine, starting in late 1941. The last production version built in Germany was the Bf(Me)109K, production of which started in the autumn of 1944. By the end of World War II, about 34,000 Bf(Me)109’s had been built, the largest production run of any fighter aircraft ever built.
About 1,000 more were built with a number of different engines after 1945 abroad, for instance in the former CSSR and Spain up until the end of the 1950’s.
In Spain, some remained in service with Rolls-Royce Merlin 500/45 engines as late as 1965 under the designation HA 1112.
Bf(Me)109 D-FWME “Red Seven” was originally a Spanish production aircraft with the serial number 139 and was rebuilt into a G-4 version with a DB 605A engine.
D-FWME was built as HA 1112 M-1L in Spain with the serial number 139 and the registration number C.4K-75.
1950: Probable year of construction
16/10/1958: Allocated to the 71st squadron.
24/10/1958: Arrives at the 71st squadron.
01/04/1965: 471st squadron
18/10/1965: Acquired by Maestranza Aerea de Sevilla.
12/12/1965: Decommissioned after 216 hours, 50 minutes of pure flying time at Tablada AFB.
07/1966: Purchased by Battle of Britain movie production, transported to England (T.G.Mahaddie / Spitfire Productions Ltd) with the registration G-AWHG. Modified to look like a Bf 109 E-4.
14/05/1968: Flies as a Yellow 11 (‘Gelbe 11’) and Red 14 (‘Rote 14’) in the film ‘Battle of Britain’.
01/1969: Damaged during take-off from Le-Havre. Ferrying flight for the film ‘Patton’.
07/1970: Paul Jameson, Betchworth, UK (condition: disassembled)
21/02/1973: Fairoaks Aviation, Blackbushe, UK
08/1974: Aircraft sold in the USA: Meryl D. Schulke, Orlando, FL with the registration N3109G
25/10/1974: David C. Tallichet, Chino CA
05/1986: MARC (MILITARY AIRC REST CORP, ANAHEIM, CA), Chino, CA, as N3109, restored in Casper, WY
28/05/1986: Aircraft crashes during a test flight in Casper, WY and is restored to resemble a Bf 109 for static display.
1994/95: Sold to buyers in La Ferté Alais / France. Some time later, the fuselage is taken to the company Bitz Flugzeugbau in Augsburg, Germany. The wing areas remain in France
10/1997: Aircraft purchased by MAC (Messerschmitt Air Company) in Albstadt. Over the following years the plane is restored from scratch and made airworthy by Dieter Beck, Werner Grammel, Wilhelm Heinz and Siegfried Knoll, and is modified to use a DB 605 engine.
23/08/2004: Another maiden flight as Bf 109 G-4, flown by Walter Eichhorn.
16/07/2005: Suffers serious damage while landing at Albstadt-Degerfeld airfield. The pilot Siegfried Knoll is unhurt. MAC carries out a total of 103 flights with an overall flight time of 32 hours.
2007: The owners at the time want to sell the aircraft and contact what was then EADS. Negotiations run smoothly and EADS becomes the new owner of the Rote Sieben.
13/04/2008: Maiden flight after successful restoration by MAC.
15/04/2008: During the second flight after restoration, the plane suffers a belly landing in Manching after problems with the landing gear.
19/02/2009: Another maiden flight takes place after repairs in Manching.
18/08/2013: Belly landing in Roskilde / Denmark after engine problems.
Images: Airbus Group