Rare Hawker Tempest II Comes to the States for Restoration

wpsynd19746With Indian Air Force livery still evident, Hawker Tempest II MW404 arrived at Hooks Memorial Airport near Houston, Texas to its new owner Chris Miller who had shipped the plane from the United Kingdom. Over the next five years Miller intends to restore the plane that was shipped in pieces to bring it to an airworthy state. While according to the owner, finding rebuildable hydraulic systems may be his biggest headache, there is a sizable amount of sheet metal work that will need to be done. On the power plant front, Chris has already acquired a rebuilt Curtiss-Wright R-3350 radial engine and propeller from a Douglas Skyraider, which being an American-made product, is considerably less expensive to purchase and maintain in the States than the original equipment Bristol Centaurus engine and Rotol propeller.

MW404 was built in 1945 and served in the Royal Air Force 247th Squadron in Chilbolton in Hampshire, England. After it had been in service for two years the plane was bought back by the manufacturer, refurbished and sold to the Indian Air Force (IAF), entering active duty in 1948. After the type was retired from front line service in 1954, MW404 was assigned decoy duties at Poona Air Force Base, along with at least a dozen other Tempest IIs. In 1979, the by then long-disused and in poor condition MV404 was bought along with five other derelict IAF planes by legendary vintage aircraft entrepreneur and scrounger of the subcontinent, Doug Arnold, who had them shipped to the UK.

This rare fighter is one of only nine known survivors of its variant and in recent years it had been languishing outdoors at the former RAF base in Hemswell, England.

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