Hispano HA-1112-M1L Buchon C.4K-152 made her first post-restoration flight yesterday afternoon, less than a year after her refurbishment began with Air Leasing at Sywell Aerodrome near Northampton, England. Air Leasing’s principal, Richard Grace, was at the controls for the roughly ten minute hop.
The former Spanish Air Force fighter is wearing a very similar paint scheme to the one she wore (albeit minus the swastika) during the making of the 1969 epic war movie Battle of Britain, where she represented the type’s older sibling in Luftwaffe uniform, a Messerschmitt Bf 109E. According to Boschung Global (which is offering this aircraft for sale), this particular airframe is the last ‘Bf 109’ which Luftwaffe ace Adolf Galland flew, while he was serving as an adviser on the film.
This Buchon is the fourth example of the type which Air Leasing has resurrected over the past two years, the others being C.4K-112 last July, C.4K-99 in April, 2018 and the unique HA-1112-M4L two-seat trainer C.4K-112 in November, 2017. C.4K-152 is one of sixteen Buchons which once belonged to the late Wilson “Connie” Edwards; in fact almost half of the surviving examples owe their continued existence to this legend of the warbird community. Edwards acquired these aircraft as payment for his flying services filming Battle of Britain, and stored the majority disassembled in a hangar on his ranch in Big Spring, Texas. He sold a few of them over the years, parting with the last six examples during 2015. C.4K-152 is one of these last six. She was essentially in time-capsule condition, virtually untouched since being dismantled in the late 1960s, and was still wearing her movie warpaint when she entered restoration with Air Leasing Ltd. in July, 2018. It says a lot about her state of preservation that it took only a year or so to get the aircraft flying again. Monday’s test flight was surely her first time in the air, under her own power, in nearly half a century! Bravo to all concerned, and may she fly safely for many years to come!
Many thanks indeed to George Land who was on hand to witness the first flight and capture the wonderful images for this article.
For more on the life and adventures of the late Wilson ‘Connie’ Edwards, check out Issue #78 of Warbird Digest magazine, where our publisher Tim Savage sat down for a lengthy interview with this giant of the aviation world….