British-built 1952 classic being put up for sale by Sywell Messenger Trust
Miles Messenger 2A G-AKIN, which has been operated from Sywell, Northamptonshire since 1952, is having to be sold by its long-time owner, the Sywell Messenger Trust. At a meeting on 7 February, it was decided that the upcoming removal of Sywell Aerodrome’s support and hangarage for the aeroplane means the trust is no longer financially viable, and that it must cease to operate G-AKIN. A new owner, able to keep the aircraft in airworthy condition, is now being sought.
The penultimate airframe to be turned out by Miles Aircraft before it went bust, G-AKIN was built at Newtownards, Northern Ireland and registered to its manufacturer on 19 September 1947. A certificate of airworthiness followed on 7 November. The Blackburn Cirrus Major-powered machine’s first owners were the Everard family of Leicester brewers from April 1948 onwards, its home being a private airstrip at Ratcliffe. In April 1949, it was sold to R. Spiller and Sons of Keystone, a Huntingdonshire farming family. Initially they kept it at Cambridge, but April 1952 saw a move to Sywell, where the Messenger has remained ever since. It is believed that only the Shuttleworth Collection’s DH60X Moth G-EBWD at Old Warden has notched up a longer period of continuous operation from a single UK airfield.
All four of the Spiller sons were private pilots at that time, and they used G-AKIN to inspect their crops, as well as for touring throughout Europe and into North Africa. John Spiller took up air racing in the Messenger, winning the 1952 Siddeley Challenge Trophy at Baginton — final round of the National Air Races season — and going on to amass several other notable results. The last of the family to relinquish his pilot’s licence was youngest brother Norman, who gifted the historic Miles to the Sywell Messenger Trust during 2002. Since then it has appeared at numerous major fly-ins and displays, as well as winning several concours d’elegance trophies.
According to regular pilot and trustee Matthew Boddington, “Time is a little of the essence as the aircraft will be charged the full commercial rate for hangarage as from 1 April. As and when the aeroplane is sold the proceeds of sale will follow the objectives of the trust and will be passed to a suitable charity. Whilst it is sad that the aeroplane is likely to leave Sywell after 72 years, we would wish to put on record our thanks to Sywell Aerodrome Ltd for the support given to the trust during its existence”. Expressions of genuine interest should go to Matthew by e-mail to email@example.com