Recently, a rare, airworthy Hispano Buchon began a long journey via ship from Great Britain to New Zealand. The Spanish-built version of the Messerschmitt Bf-109 belongs to John Romain’s Aircraft Restoration Company, based in Duxford, England. Romain will be demonstrating his remarkable aerial prowess in the fighter at the world-famous, biennial Warbirds Over Wanaka International Show over the Easter holiday from March 25th through 28th. The Buchon is painted in the same colors she wore while representing a Luftwaffe Bf-109 in the film, Battle of Britain during 1968.
International shipping company, Hamburg Süd, is undertaking the careful transport of the Buchon as part of their sponsorship arrangement with Warbirds Over Wanaka. They loaded the dismantled aircraft into a container aboard the vessel ‘CMA CGM America’ in the Port of London for the journey’s initial leg to Cartagena, Columbia, where the fighter will move onto another ship, the ‘Spirit of Sydney’ for the passage through the Panama Canal for the long voyage across the pacific to Port Chalmers in New Zealand for a scheduled arrival on March 5th.
According to a Warbirds Over Wanaka press release, the air show’s General Manager, Ed Taylor, remarked on the delicate undertaking, saying, “It’s been great to work with a company like Hamburg Süd who have made the process so much easier. They will then work with Mainfreight at the Dunedin end to ensure all the paperwork is done, and the container is transferred to Wanaka well in time before our event.”
John Romain and one of his technicians will oversea the aircraft’s reassembly and test flying over the week or so prior to the air show. Commenting on the Buchon/109, Romain stated that, “The last time a 109 displayed at Warbirds Over Wanaka was 20 years ago when one was brought out from Europe by Sir Tim Wallis. It’s been a long time between aircraft and it might be years before New Zealanders get another chance to see one.” Air show visitors will doubtless have a good number of opportunities to get up close and personal to the Buchon at Warbirds Over Wanaka 2016. “It’s sure to attract lots of interest when it’s parked up on our flight line,” remarked Ed Taylor, “and at this stage we’re expecting it to fly at least twice a day. This will include an aerial duel with its Battle of Britain nemesis the Spitfire, marking 75 years since that famous conflict”.
The Warbirds Over Wanaka International Airshow is expected to attract a crowd of around 50,000 people over the Easter weekend. More information and tickets available via www.warbirdsoverwanaka.com