Aeroplane Monthly 1991-06
M.Oakey - Grapevine
The "Benson Messerschmitt", Bf 109G Werknr 10639/G-USTV, showing off its newly-completed paint scheme outside its hangar at RAF Benson in Oxfordshire on April 26, 1991. It wears the colours in which it was captured by the RAAF in Libya in 1942 - "Black Six" of JG 77.
First flown on March 17, 1991 at the end of an 18yr restoration, the MoD-owned Messerschmitt was scheduled to be officially rolled out at Benson on May 2, and to fly to its new base at Duxford shortly thereafter. However, as we went to press, engine problems looked likely to delay its move.
As these pictures show, the Messerschmitt has been restored to an extremely high standard - as befits the world’s only real airworthy Bf 109 (all the other aircraft currently masquerading as 109s are Merlin-powered Spanish licence-built Hispano Buchons). If all goes to plan, G-USTV is expected to make its display-flying debut at Mildenhall on May 25-26, 1991, and should also be the star of the show at Duxford’s Classic Fighter Display on July 14.
Great War Combat Team Nieuport 24 replica N153JS, in which Tony Harold died when it crashed at North Weald during display rehearsals on April 11, 1991. The team’s Fokker Dr 1 replica, seen in the background, was taking part in the same rehearsal but was not involved in the accident.
The scene in Duxford’s Superhangar just before the Brooks auction on April 15, 1991. In the foreground are Grumman Avenger N6827C and Stinson Reliant N9570H.
Lurking in the gloom of Wroughton’s D4 Hangar before and during Christie’s sale on April 29, 1991 was the unique Dewoitine D.514, a one-off precursor of France’s D.520 fighter of World War Two.