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  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 post-restoration flight.

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.

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