The RAF Museum (RAFM) has recently traded a pair of their vintage aircraft, a Hanriot H.D.1 and a Farman F.40 for Vintage Aviator Ltd. reproductions of the Sopwith Snipe, Royal Aircraft Factory R.E.8 and an Albatros D.Va with a collector in New Zealand.
All three of the reproduction aircraft are now on display at the RAF Museum’s London branch, with the R.E.8 and Albatros on display at the Grahame-White Hangar, while the Sopwith Snipe presently resides in the Milestones of Flight Hall.
The Hanriot H.D.1, c/n 75, was acquired by the RAFM in airworthy condition in December 1978, and had been on display at the London branch since December 1979, wearing the original 1e Escadille de Chasse, Belgian Flying Corps markings it wore while it was based at Les Moores, Belgium in September 1918.
The Farman, F-HMFI, had been in storage for more than 55 years, most recently at the RAF Museum’s Cosford branch. Built at Buc, near Versailles in 1913, the aircraft was the prototype F.40, a joint design by Henri and Maurice Farman. After the First World War it had several owners in France, being flown at various air shows until being acquired by R.G. Nash in 1936 when it joined his famous Nash Collection.
While some eyebrows might be raised by the trade of genuine vintage aircraft for reproductions, A spokesman from the RAFM put it fairly succinctly: “From a curatorial perspective the museum is exchanging artifacts which have no connection with the history of the RAF with ones incorporating extensive original material that significantly enhance the collection, and greatly assist in interpretation of the RAF’s early history – particularly as we approach the First World War Centenary.”