||First post restoration flight of Hawker Hurricane MkIIB
G-HHII - North Weald, Essex, Tuesday 27th January 2009
Review - At 13.59 hours on Tuesday January 27 2009, three and a half
years and 28,000 man hours of work took to the skies as Hawker Hurricane
MkIIB G-HHII lifted off from the runway at North Weald, Essex on its first
The aircraft is the latest addition to Peter Teichman's Hangar 11 Collection
and the work involved has been extensive and exacting with the machine in
'stock' condition bar necessary concessions to safety in terms of modern
radio and navigation equipment.
Powering the Hurricane is an original Packard Merlin 29 engine zero-timed by
Maurice Hammond's Eyetech Engineering with the 'rest' of the airframe
restored by Hurricane experts Hawker Restorations Ltd.
The Hurricane arrived at North Weald from deepest Suffolk on January 15.
After final assembly, a series of ground runs and a successful CAA
inspection, a Permit to Test was issued allowing Hawker Restorations Chief
Pilot Stuart Goldspink to take the Hurricane aloft on January 27 for a first
15-minute sortie. This flight gently explored the flight envelope and
handling characteristics and went exceptionally well, with only one minor
snag reported which was rectified within ten minutes. Handling was described
as really superb with the aircraft flying hands off in perfect trim while
the engine ran exceptionally smoothly and quiet, a testament to the skills
of all involved in the restoration.
With the flight test program now well underway it is hoped that a full
Permit to Fly will be issued shortly and it will not be long before the
Hurricane becomes a familiar and welcome sight at airshows and in the skies
around North Weald.
The Hurricane Mk IIB began to reach operational squadrons in 1941, having a
more powerful engine and more armament compared to the Battle of Britain Mk
I. Dubbed the 'Hurribomber' the aircraft could carry two 250lb or 500 lb
bombs under the wings while the number of machine guns was increased to
twelve, often reduced to ten when bomb racks were carried. G-HHII sports a
ten-gun armament complete with ammo boxes, ammo chutes and bullets and
original bomb racks while replica 250lb bombs have been faithfully moulded
from casings loaned by the RAF Museum.
The aircraft itself was built in Canada in July 1942 being allocated
construction number CCF/R20023 and Royal Canadian Air Force serial number
5403. Flying with 135 Squadron up to September 17, 1945 the aircraft flew
466 hours on active duty in protection of the Northern Territories from
attack by the Japanese. The Hurricane was then refurbished to 'as new'
condition and sold to a private owner on June 30, 1947. This fate befell
most surviving RCAF Hurricanes, their parts often being used to keep
tractors and machinery running on the many enormous farms of the Canadian
Prairie. Somehow 5403 was lucky and survived substantially intact, to be
re-discovered by Tony Ditheridge in Canada in the 1990's as a very complete
airframe with most major components intact. Returning to the UK, restoration
work began in earnest in 2005.
The Hurricane has been finished in the colours of XP-L, RAF serial number
BE505, which flew with 174 Squadron from Manston in Kent. Formed on
Hurribombers on March 3, 1942 the Squadron saw action during the ill-fated
Dieppe amphibious landing on August 19, 1942. On that day BE505 was being
flown by Flight Sgt Charles Bryce Watson of the Royal Australian Air Force.
Shortly after 11am the squadron attacked positions on the headland to the
east of the town and BE505 was shot down by flak, the pilot surviving to
become a prisoner of war.
Aviationphoto was extremely relieved that Peter was not injured in the
recent landing incident caused by a technical problem with the brakes and
wishes G-HHII a speedy recovery back to the skies.
airshow photographs from 2009