Allison-engined Buchón flies

THE Erickson Aircraft Collection’s Allison V-1710-powered Hispano HA-1112-M1L Buchón, N90602, made its first flight following restoration at Madras, Oregon on 21 April, with UK war bird pilot John Romain at the controls.

Reconfigured as a Messerschmitt Bf 109G-10, the extensive re-engineering to convert the former Spanish Air Force Rolls-Royce Merlin powered version of the 109 to Allison power has been led by the EAC’s director of maintenance Jim Martin Elli and aircraft engineer David Reed. The result is an aero plane that looks like a Daimler Benz-powered Bf 109, without the concomitant serviceability problems that can be associated with that engine.

Unlike the Merlin installation, the thrust line of the V-1710 is the same as that of the Daimler-Benz DB605, the engine being narrow enough to permit cowlings with the original 109G profile to be fitted. The cowlings were copied from an original Bf 109G-10/U4, although some internal modifications were required to make them fit. The V-1710 exhaust system has been modified to drop down into the correctly located Daimler-Benz exhaust stacks, and the spinner is original. A ‘Galland’ clear vision hood has been fitted, as has a Bf 109G-10 tail.

Hispano Buchón N90602 flying near Madras, Oregon on 21 April, courtesy of an ingeniously installed Allison V-1710 engine.

The fighter has been painted to represent ‘Green 1’, flown by Maj Hermann Graf from Wiesbaden-Erbenheim in September 1943. Graf was the second Luftwaffe ace to reach 150 aerial victories, and in July 1943 Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring asked him to set up a special high-altitude fighter unit to combat the menace posed by Mosquito light bombers.

The unit, JGr 50, was assigned Bf 109s fitted with engines modified to use nitrous oxide for higher power, but by the time it was declared combat ready the priority had switched to intercepting American daylight bombing missions. The 109s went into combat fitted with a Werfer-Granate 21 rocket launcher under each wing, Graf scoring two B-17 victories over the Stuttgart area on 6 September 1943. Before being captured by a US infantry unit near Písek in southern Bohemia on 8 May 1945, Graf had shot down 10 aircraft on the Western Front, including six fourengined bombers, three P-51s and one Mosquito, to take his total to 212. He died in his home town of Engen on 4 November 1988.