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R O S S PAY
Spitfi re IX to Australia
ROSS PAY BUYS MH603
SUPERMARINE SPITFIRE Mk IX MH603 was acquired by Australian Ross Pay from Provenance Fighter Sales in Murrieta, California, USA, in late February. It is now being transported to Scone, New South Wales, for completion of its rebuild to fl y.
Ross is the son of Australian warbird doyen Col Pay, who was tragically killed on December 7, 2007, while testing a waterbomber. Although the aircraft was advertised for sale by Provenance as a completed project, Ross has opted to fi nish the restoration at Pay’s Air Service at Scone. He will utilise the wing jigs employed for Spitfi re VIII A58-758, restored by Col in the early 1980s and fl own as Australia’s fi rst civil-registered Spitfi re for many years until its sale to David Lowy at Temora in 2000.
The Mk IX fuselage has been rebuilt
by Q.G. Aviation at Fort Collins, Colorado, and is ready for fi nal fi t-out. The wings require total rebuild: apart from a few skins they are “jig ready” less radiators and radiator mounts. Ross told Aeroplane that the restoration time was contingent upon the operational demands of the company’s large fl eet of fi rebombers and cropdusters.
Delivered to the RAF in October 1943, MH603 entered active service with No 331 (Norwegian) Sqn at North Weald in January 1944. Coded FN-B, it was fl own by six-victory ace Capt Bjorn Bjornstad. On June 1, 1944, it went to 274 Sqn, fl ying on fi ghter sweeps, bomber escorts and anti-Diver patrols. At the end of August 1944 it was removed from front-line operations and went to a succession of training units. In 1949 it was moved to Cape Town for the South African Air Force; it was rescued from a scrapyard there in the 1980s.
ABOVE The fuselage of Spitfi re Mk IX MH603 being prepared for transport by ship from California to New South Wales.
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Over & Out
Jon Griffi n 1948–2009
AIR ATLANTIQUE Douglas DC-6 pilot Captain Jon Griffi n died on April 14 after a short but characteristically brave fi ght with cancer.
Jon came to fl ying at the age of 40, after a career in roadbuilding and other trades, gaining his commercial licence the oldfashioned way by building hours and instructing for little reward. Joining Air Atlantique at its frenetic zenith in the early 1990s, he rose to prominence in that company’s tough environment through sheer will and determination.
As captain and fl ight engineer on his beloved DC-6 he found his true niche on charters throughout Europe and the Middle East, where he could deploy his profound technical knowledge and legendary diplomatic skills to best effect. He also fl ew the company’s DC-3s.
In the operation of classic aircraft, Jon possessed the vital quality of mechanical sympathy. Everyone who fl ew with him would agree that he was an extraordinary pilot, though perhaps not in the traditional sense.
Leaving Air Atlantique several times but never quite able to stay away, Jon also fl ew more modern equipment including the BAe 146. But for most he will be best remembered as the dreadnought captain of his favourite big-piston airliner.
Junkers Ju 52 fl ies again in Johannesburg
I L L E R
J O H N M
ABOVE ZS-AFA gets airborne from Johannesburg on April 16. It was fl own to nearby Vereeniging airfi eld for training circuits and photographs before returning to Jo’burg.
ON APRIL 16 at Johannesburg’s O.R. Tambo International Airport, CASA 352L (Spanish licence-built Ju 52/3m) ZS-AFA fl ew for the fi rst time in nearly three years, following a longawaited transfer of ownership from South African Airways to the South African Airways Museum Society (SAAMC). The SAAMC is now looking to raise funds to keep it fl ying regularly during 2009, which marks the airline’s 75th anniversary.
Before the transfer a team of apprentice airline engineers fi tted Douglas DC-3 wheels to ZS-AFA: original tyres for the type are no longer available. The fl ight — with 450hr Junkers veteran Capt Karl Jensen in command — was snag-free apart from a malfunctioning transponder.
AEROPLANE JUNE 2009 Anniversaries this Month
JUNE 25, 1919 Maiden fl ight of the Junkers-F 13, the fi rst all-metal commercial aircraft. A survivor, D-366, is in Munich’s Deutsches Museum.
JUNE 26, 1926 Armstrong Whitworth Argosy biplanes enter service on Imperial Airways’ London—Paris route.
I F F K N OX / B R O O K L A N D S M U SE UM T R U S T
Swansong for Vimy replica
JUNE 28, 1932 First fl ight of France’s Dewoitine D.500, which became the Armée de l’Air’s fi rst cantilever low-wing monoplane fi ghter. F
NX71MY NEARS RETIREMENT
OLLOWING COMMEMORATIVE air display appearances this season, Vickers Vimy replica NX71MY is expected to be retired in November and preserved permanently at the Brooklands Museum in Surrey, reports Michael Oakey.
CAA permission has been granted for the Vimy to fl y in celebration of the 90th anniversaries of Alcock and Brown’s transatlantic fl ight in June, and of Ross and Keith Smith’s trailblazing England— Australia fl ight, both made in 1919.
As this issue went to press, plans were still being fi nalised for the June commemorations — but the Vimy may possibly fl y out to Ireland, where Alcock and Brown made their historic landfall and where Mark Rebholz and the late Steve Fossett completed their re
enactment of their fl ight in NX71MY in July 2005. “Our aspiration is to take the aircraft to Clifden”, says Julian Temple, Brooklands Museum’s General Manager (Operations), “but whether that is realistic in terms of costs and hangarage is still unknown.”
If a Clifden visit proves impossible, the Vimy is expected to fl y from a base nearer to the former Vickers factory site at Brooklands, where the type originated. Nevertheless, several days of celebrations in Clifden will go ahead including a lecture by Vimy project co-ordinator Jenny Moseley and an airshow on June 14 — additional display participants are being sought, and should call Michele Hehir on 00 353 (0)87 0520295 or e-mail michele@ clifdenchamber.ie for details.
As these pages went to press the Vimy was due to move from Oxford,
where it has been housed for a year since moving from Dunsfold in Surrey, its home for three years.
Despite being a replica, NX71MY is now an historic aircraft in its own right, having completed re-enactment fl ights from England to Australia (1994), England to South Africa (1999) and across the Atlantic (2005) — more than any single original Vimy achieved. Its exploits have been covered extensively in Aeroplane over the years.
See Aircrew and Database, on pages 28 and 65 respectively, for more on the history of the Vickers Vimy
ABOVE A recent air-to-air picture of Vimy replica NX71MY with Aeroplane contributor Melvyn Hiscock in the left-hand seat.
Thanks to Haynes Publishing, we have
PRIZE DRAW Thanks to Haynes Publishing, we have three copies of Yesterday we were in America, Brendan Lynch’s new book on Alcock & Brown, to give away. For your chance to win one, send your name and address on a postcard to Vimy Book Prize Draw, Aeroplane, Blue Fin Building, 110 Southwark St, London SE1 0SU, to arrive no later than June 30. Good luck!
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C D U M I
G A N
ABOVE Robert Baranaskas gets airborne in the Warbirds over Long Island Curtiss P-40N 44-7368 at the Geneseo Airshow in New York State on July 12, 2008.
Pilot killed in P-40 crash
CURTISS P-40N 44-7368/ N740RB, of the Warbirds Over Long Island (WOLI) organisation, crashed into the sea a quarter of a mile off Mastic Beach, New York, USA, on April 12, killing pilot Robert Baranaskas. It is reported that the fi ghter spun in during pre-airshow-season
Based at Brook Haven Airport on Long Island, WOLI was formed by Baranaskas and his son Chris. Over the past three seasons their P-40, P-51D Mustang, Stearman PT-17 and SNJ/Texan had become a familiar sight at airshows in the east and mid-western USA.
AEROPLANE JUNE 2009