Out of Ar­gentina to the Czech Repub­lic

Pilot - - OLD TIMERS - Re­port: Peter Amos & Paul Fid­dian

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)

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