The Aircraft

Hispano HA-112 MIL Buchon (G-AWHE)

• Aircraft Type: Hispano HA-112 MIL Buchon
• Operator: Spitfire Ltd
• Year of Manufacture: 1959
• Powered by: Rolls Royce Merlin 500-45
• Colour Scheme: Jagdgeschwader 53 (Ace of Spades) unit.

The Buchon is essentially a Rolls-Royce Merlin engine Messerschmitt Bf109. The Luftwaffe-manned Condor Legion upon its return to Germany in 1939, lefty around 40 Bf109B/E’s for the Spanish Air Force to use. In 1943 the Spanish government agreed to licence production with Messerschmitt to produce 200 Bf109G’s. As the war worsened, Germany was unable to supply the remaining components for the airframes. Improving relations between the Spanish government and the West from 1952, saw the powerful Rolls Royce Merlin engine sourced from Britain fitted to the airframe. The combination of ex-German airframe and British power-plant was successful and the first prototype flew in 1954. This particular aircraft served with the Spanish Air Force. Retired in 1965 she went into storage. The aircraft was purchased by the Confederate Air Force and subsequently leased to Spitfire Productions in 1968 for use in the famous “Battle of Britain” movie. After filming she returned to the U.S.A. The aircraft was acquired by a private owner in the U.K and was shipped back to the ARC facility at Duxford in 2008 to be completely overhauled. The aircraft now wears the Luftwaffe, North African scheme of a Bf109F-4/trop used by Jagdgeschwader 53, the famous “Pik-As” (Ace of Spades) unit flown by Major Eric Gerlitz, Gruppenkommandeur III/JG53 at Quotaifiya, Egypt in July 1942.

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Large image: ARC
Small image: Darren Harbar