Out of Argentina to the Czech Republic
Long-time resident at Mendoza, Argentina, vintage Miles M14A Hawk Trainer 3 LV-X246 arrived in the Czech Republic on 5 November 2019 to become Europe’s fifth airworthy example. Acquired by Richard Santus, founder/ceo of Aeropartner a.s. Prague, in July 2019, it has been added to his growing RAF Station Czechoslovakia collection at Podhorany Airfield. Like his ex-henstridge Tiger Moths N9503/G-ANFP and R5246/GAMIV, which remain on the UK civil register, the new arrival has been registered with the CAA as G-CLHY.
Having flown the Hawk Trainer in Argentina, before it was dismantled in September for shipment, Richard made its first European flight in almost 75 years on 22 November 2019. After a series of further test flights, he plans to fly it to Henstridge as soon as weather permits, for inspection and overhaul including re-covering and repainting. While retaining its original serial (N3827) it will possibly have the colour scheme of Magister T9752 that was flown by No 312 (Czechoslovak) Squadron in 1941.
With this work completed and a new Permit to Fly, the aircraft will return to Podhorany.
Built at Woodley for the RAF as a Miles M.14A Magister with the constructor’s number 873 and serial N3827, the aircraft was first delivered to ‘H’ Maintenance Unit at RAF Waddington in November 1938 before moving to 5 MU at Kemble at the end of January 1939. Six months later it was transferred to No 26 E & RFTS at RAF Kidlington, Oxford, and by October 1939 it was being used by No 5 EFTS at Hanworth. After further moves it spent a short period in 1942 with No 2 FIS at Montrose, one of the units that trained Czechoslovak flight instructors. After two years at 12 MU Kirkbride in store and being rebuilt after a landing accident, N3827 was ferried to Middle Wallop in September 1944 where it joined No 125 Sqn for courier duties.
In 1946, it was acquired by Miles Aircraft at Woodley as one of the 150 Magisters that were refurbished and delivered to the Argentine Government in 1946 for distribution to its flying clubs. Registered as Hawk Trainer LV-XSG in June 1947, it remained in Argentina for some seventy years for training and private use, and by mid-1962 was owned by the Aero Club San Martín, near Mendoza, which for the most part kept it airworthy for the next twenty years. It was discovered languishing in the club’s hangar in 1986 and returned to airworthiness by leading South American aircraft restorer, the late Hector Poulain. Re-registered as LV-X246 in 2005 following a change in Argentinean vintage aircraft operating rules, the aircraft was restored and repainted into its former RAF camouflage and serial N3827 two years later.
Noted Argentinian aviation historian Gustavo Marón was closely involved with the Magister at this time, and when it was put up for sale some years ago he brought it to the attention of UK Miles ‘guru’ Peter Amos, who worked tirelessly to find a possible purchaser in Europe. This was achieved early in 2019 when Richard Santus made his first steps towards acquiring the vintage trainer.
Owner Richard Santus airborne in Miles Hawk Trainer LV-X246 for the first time on 22 November at Podhořany, the aircraft having arrived in the Czech Republic as recently as 5 November (photo inset)