SYWELL’S SPANISH Invasion

Darren Harbar explores the UK’s blossoming Hispano Aviación Buchón population, while Gary Brown uncovers the history of the fleet

Specialist warbird operator Air Leasing has returned four Buchón fighters to flight in recent years, under the management of Richard Grace. This Spanish-built post-war version of the Messerschmitt Bf 109 was married with a Rolls-Royce Merlin engine and named after a breed of dove. It is arguably most renowned for its role in 1969’s Battle of Britain film, where it played the part of Luftwaffe aircraft. Keen type enthusiasts will know that many of the aircraft survived their cinematic appearance, being acquired by US pilot Wilson ‘Connie’ Edwards, who stored the aircraft for more than 40 years at his ranch in Big Spring, Texas, in all likelihood saving them from the scrapman’s axe. When Connie decided to sell the collection, several airframes returned to the UK, and many went to Sywell, Northamptonshire, for reworking by the Air Leasing team.

An impressive line-up of five Buchóns graced the grass at Duxford for Flying Legends in 2019; Air Leasing’s quartet was joined by the Aircraft Restoration Company’s example.
PHOTOS DARREN HARBAR

Lone Star Journey

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