Ar­gus flies again

Pilot - - OLD TIMERS -

Fairchild Ar­gus III HB751 (G-BCBL) emerged from a 25-year restora­tion to fly again on 2 Au­gust. The North Devon-based for­mer RAF light com­mu­ni­ca­tions air­craft sub­se­quently ap­peared at the Good­wood Re­vival, tak­ing its place among other pre-1966 clas­sics in the Fred­die March Spirit of Avi­a­tion gath­er­ing. Man­u­fac­tured at Hager­stown, Maryland, as a Fairchild UC-61K, this Ar­gus is be­lieved to date from 1943. It be­came one of 306 UC-61KS ear­marked for RAF use un­der the lend-lease agree­ment, be­ing de­liv­ered to Bal­ti­more in July 1944 for on­ward ship­ment. HB751 re­mained in ser­vice un­til 1947, go­ing on to be civil­ian-op­er­ated in Switzer­land (HB-AEC), Ger­many (D-EKEQ) and Bel­gium (OO-EKE), be­fore join­ing the UK civil regis­ter as G-BCBL in March 1974. Re­storer and sev­enth UK owner Frank Cox ac­quired ‘CBL in Au­gust 1991, fly­ing it in­fre­quently over the next three years. He then planned to sim­ply strip and re-cover the Ar­gus but ended up car­ry­ing out a full re-build, in­ter­nal up­grade and cor­rec­tional re-paint.

Af­ter 25 years on re­build and now painted in an au­then­tic, matt fin­ish colour scheme, Ar­gus III HB751 stands out­side its hangar

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