The Spanish Civil War was triggered in 1936 when General Francisco Franco was flown from the Canary Islands to Spanish Morocco in DH Dragon Rapide G-ACYR. This aircraft is on display in a Madrid museum, but the Fundación Infante de Orleans is a collection dedicated to preserving Spain’s aeronautical heritage in flying condition and they purchased Rapide G-AEML in 2008 to represent Franco’s plane. G-AEML was built for Wrightways at Croydon Airport in 1936, was impressed as an RAF Dominie and then flew for sixteen years with Armstrong Whitworth Ltd. It has remained airworthy for virtually all of its eighty years and now takes Spanish marks.
Mark V Spitfire BL688 had a busy, if accident-prone, career flying with six front-line squadrons before transferring to No. 58 Operational Training Unit. On 29 May 1945 it was destroyed, flying into high ground in bad weather with the loss of Polish trainee pilot Zygmunt Bauerek. The wreckage was salvaged at the time, but small pieces have been discovered since and the aircraft has now been registered G-CJWO for restoration, although this must essentially be a new-build attached to the maker’s plate.
By any other name...
Nominally, Raytheon 400A light business jet G-FXCR is a first on the British Register, but the design dates back nearly forty years. The Japanese Mitsubishi MU-300 Diamond was intended to build on the success of the MU-2 turboprop; production rights were bought by Beechcraft who renamed it the Beechjet 400. Beechcraft then acquired British Aerospace’s Dh.125-derived bizjet range and revived the iconic Hawker name for them. Despite its different lineage, the Beechjet became the Hawker 400, but now it has taken on the holding group’s title.
Up to twenty thousand
The Civil Aviation Authority’s recently-published statistics, as of 1 January 2017, show a small increase in the total G-registered fleet to 20,027, up 103 from the previous year. There was proportional strong growth in airliner numbers and large rotorcraft, while fixed-wing GA was almost static. The number of hot air balloons continued to fall, reflecting the peak of activity ten years ago and their average useful life. 13,376 aircraft have a valid Permit to Fly, exactly two-thirds of the fleet, although those in the Single Seat Deregulated class must be added to this. There are three gas airships and three fixed-wing seaplanes, but virtually one hundred minimum-lift (toy) balloons.
VPM M15 Trainer G-BVDG is a homebuilt autogyro, predecessor of the Magni M16 Tandem Trainer. The only one that has appeared on the UK Register is restored this month after twenty years in Kenya.
Tiger Aviation has re-registered Robinson Beta G-RSWW as G-TGRC