Speed Six for Shuttleworth


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Roger Mills taking off in Miles Hawk Speed Six G-ADGP for its most recent appearance at Old Warden, during the 2014 Race Day show.
Luis Fontés, the original owner of G-ADGP, with his sister Ruth, the owner of G-ADOD.

On 16 April the Shuttleworth Veteran Aeroplane Society (SVAS) announced that the Shuttleworth Collection has acquired Miles Hawk Speed Six G-ADGP from its owner of the past 19 years, former British Airways Concorde pilot — and current B-17 Sally B captain — Roger Mills. Funds from the SVAS have been used to purchase the aircraft, which will be arriving at Old Warden later in 2018.

Chief engineer Jean-Michel Munn says, “This aircraft fits in well with the overall collection, and especially alongside other iconic racing aircraft of its era such as the Percival Mew Gull and de Havilland DH88 Comet. It’s the sole survivor of its type and will bring a lot of enjoyment to many of our visitors.”

“Funds from the SVAS have been used to purchase the aircraft, which will arrive at Old Warden later in 2018”

Only three examples of the Hawk Speed Six were built, by Phillips and Powis at Woodley during 1934-35. The second and third aircraft, ‘DGP and ‘DOD were delivered to Luis Fontés, the son of a Brazilian shipping owner, and his sister Ruth. Fitted with a de Havilland Gipsy Six engine, ‘DGP finished second in its first race, the Grosvenor Challenge Cup at Leicester, at a speed of 171mph with Luis at the controls on 13 July 1935. It made a forced landing during the King’s Cup that year after an oil pipe broke, and after being unplaced in the 1936 King’s Cup was modified with a shortened undercarriage and flown into 10th place in the 1937 event. For the 1938 King’s Cup ‘DGP had modifications to the centre section which saw the wingspan reduced from 36ft to 28ft, Luis Fontés flying it into 13th place at a speed of 184.5mph. Fontés was killed in October 1940 while delivering a Vickers Wellington with the Air Transport Auxiliary.

During 1948, the technical director of Wolverhampton Aviation Ltd, Ron Paine, acquired the Speed Six and went on to blaze a trail through the post-war racing scene with it. He competed in 13 King’s Cup races, regularly modifying the aircraft. Although he never managed to win, Paine was placed second in ‘DGP four times, the last being at Booker in 1972 at a speed of 195.5mph. He made fastest time on five occasions, and in 1950 gained the world 100km closed-circuit record in ‘DGP’s class (C1b) at 192.83mph. In 1985 it was sold in the USA and lapsed into semidereliction, but happily the Speed Six moved back to the UK the following year and was restored to its 1937 King’s Cup configuration, albeit with the 1938 centre section modification still in place.

Various owners followed before Roger Mills acquired the racer in 1999, initially basing it at Fairoaks before moving on to White Waltham.

Both pre- and post-war, ‘DGP often raced head-to-head against Alex Henshaw’s Percival Mew Gull, G-AEXF, which is also now owned by Shuttleworth. With the DH88 Comet, G-ACSS — whose rebuild in the 1970s and early ‘80s was masterminded by Ron Paine — in the same hands, these three legendary British air racing machines will now see out their years in the heaven that is present-day Old Warden.