Argus flies again
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