Rare Buchon aircraft to fly at Duxford this weekend

Five rare Buchon aircraft will fly together for the first time in half a century at the weekend.

Five rare Buchon aircraft will fly together for the first time in half a century at the weekend. - Credit: Archant

Five rare Buchon aircraft will fly together for the first time in half a century at the weekend to mark the 50th anniversary of the film Battle of Britain.

The Buchons - a Spanish version of the Luftwaffe's legendary Messerscmitt 109 fighter - had been part of a collection gathering dust in a Texan hangar where they had been taken after the movie was complete.

It is believed to be the largest formation of Buchons to fly together since the making of the film, which told the story of the Second World War's Battle of Britain.

The aircraft, featuring Messerscmitt 109 airframes with Rolls Royce Merlin engines, were a regular sight over Huntingdonshire while the film was being made in 1969, representing fighters from the German air force.

They will take to their air as part of the Flying Legends air show at the Imperial War Museum, Duxford, at the weekend.

Buchons were used by the Spanish air force up to 1965 and those taking part include the last single-seat fighter to have been flown by the famous Luftwaffe ace Adolf Galland, who was a technical adviser to the movie.

He is said to have taken the Buchon aloft without permission during filming of the Battle of Britain in Spain, having been checked out in a two-seat machine, which will also form part of the Flying Legends display.

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Pilot and engineer Richard Grace, from Air Leasing Ltd, said: "The Buchon is an incredible aircraft to fly, all the more so when you consider the people that flew these aircraft during the making of the Battle of Britain, which for any vintage aviation enthusiast will always rank among their favourite movies.

"I have been fortunate enough to fly several different types of warbirds, but these are very special. After filming ceased the famous American aviator and movie pilot Connie Edwards took the Buchons as payment and shipped them back to Texas where they languished gathering dust in his hangar for decades."

Mr Grace said: "We rescued some and have restored them to airworthy status. This will be the first time the public has seen five fly together since the Battle of Britain film wrapped in 1968."

Other acts to feature at this year's air show include the world-famous Royal Air Force aerobatic team - the Red Arrows - which will make a return to Flying Legends, providing one of the few opportunities to see their display before it heads off on a tour of the United States.

The display, on Saturday July 13 will be the only chance to see them at historic Duxford this year.

Tens of thousands of people are expected at the show - with children under 16 going free and for the first time at Flying Legends. Car parking charges at Duxford have also been waived, meaning all visitors can park free.

Flying Legends will also feature historic aircraft in choreographed set piece displays, from Spitfires to Duxford-based favourites such as B-17 'SallyB' and a host of exotic visiting warbirds. A recently-restored DH9 biplane from the First World War period will make its show debut.

The show will also mark the 75th anniversary of D-Day. Nick Grey, director of the Fighter Collection, said: "Seventy-five years ago, the largest armada ever to set sail left our shores for France. We celebrate the courage of the young men and women who gave their lives to save the free world.

"Flying Legends is a tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice and to the millions who designed, manufactured, flew and maintained the flying machines that helped win the war. It is a special privilege to present this unique show with our friends at IWM Duxford and, in particular, to celebrate this major D-Day anniversary."

On the ground, visitors will discover a vast range of entertainment. Vintage musical entertainment will be provided by Tom Carradine, Harry and Edna and the Hotsie Totsies. You can try out a real Spitfire for size, take a step back in time by watching military re-enactors, visit the Home Front Bus, spot 'Laurel and Hardy' or even have your hair and make-up done in period style in the Vintage Village.

Information about availability of tickets is at https://www.flyinglegends.com/tickets.html or via IWM Duxford at https://www.iwm.org.uk/events/flying-legends-2019 .

The Fighter Collection was formed more than 25 years ago to operate, maintain and restore what is arguably Europe's finest collection of vintage aircraft from the golden age of piston engine design and performance. The Collection comprises many unique examples of aircraft designed and produced during the pioneering days of aviation through the 1930s and 40s with aircraft taking part in air shows and starring in film and movie work through Europe and the United Kingdom.

New and exciting finds are being restored to flying condition and added to the collection. The aircraft and maintenance facility are housed within IWM Duxford and is open to the viewing public throughout the year subject to museum opening times.

IWM Duxford IWM Duxford is Britain's best-preserved Second World War airfield, with a fascinating history that dates back to the First World War. Historic aircraft can regularly be seen taking to the skies from the airfield.

Duxford has been a witness to world-changing events over the past 100 years where ordinary people have had extraordinary experiences. Exploring state of the art exhibition halls and historic buildings, visitors walk in the footsteps of the men and women who served at RAF Duxford.

Through the powerful stories of the men and women involved and the rich displays of aircraft we tell the story of the impact of aviation on the nature of war and on people's lives.