The European population of North American P-51D Mustangs will increase by two for the 2013 season, with examples having recently been acquired by German and French owners. First to arrive was 44-73254/N6328T, which was uncrated at its new home at Degerfeld Airport in Baden-Würtemberg, south-west Germany, in late February for new owner Wilhelm Heinz. The former Royal Canadian Air Force fighter, which has worn a pseudo 361st Fighter Group colour scheme for 30-odd years, was previously based at Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and has already had the name on the cowling changed from Buster to Louisiana Kid. One of the best-known P-51Ds in America, 44-73656/N2151D Moonbeam McSwine, has been sold by its La Grange, Illinois-based owner Vlado Lenoch to Frederik Akery, in Avignon, France. Lenoch had owned the gleaming fighter for 25 years and displayed it at countless shows, raced it at Reno (where it finished 1st in the Bronze final in 1999), and over recent years flown it in USAF Heritage Flight displays alongside aircraft from the current inventory.
Battle of France veteran Hawker Hurricane Mk I P3351/ZK-TPL left New Zealand by sea on February 10 headed for an as yet undisclosed new owner in Europe. The machine has been sold by Platinum Fighter Sales on behalf of the previous owner, the Alpine Fighter Collection (AFC) at Wanaka. Recovered from a crash site near Murmansk in 1992 by Jim Pearce, the fighter was restored for Tim Wallis's AFC by Hawker Restorations in the UK, being shipped to New Zealand in October 1995 where the systems fit, painting and finishing were completed by Air New Zealand Engineering Services. It flew again with Keith Skilling at the controls on January 12, 2000, at Christchurch Airport, and was a star item at the Warbirds Over Wanaka shows. Sadly, it had not flown for several years prior to the recent sale. Originally built at Brooklands, Surrey, in early 1940, P3351 went to 73 Sqn at Le Mans, France, on June 1, as a replacement aircraft. Two days later it arrived at the advanced landing ground at Echemines, where the code letter K was hastily painted upon its fuselage, and was flown as part of A Flight on defensive patrols over Northern France, covering the retreat of the British Expeditionary Force.
English Electric Canberra PR.9 XH134 made two taxi-runs at Kemble, Gloucestershire, on January 12, a major step in its restoration to fly. Work is being undertaken by Vintage Flyers on behalf of owners Midair, and once completed the former 39 Sqn machine will be operated from Kemble by Canberra XH134 Ltd. The Canberra's Rolls-Royce Avon 206 engines have been fitted with an electric starter, replacing the Avpin system used on the type during RAF service. The aircraft was flown into Kemble from RAF Marham on July 31,2006. Retired 39 Sqn pilot Dave Piper was back the controls of XH134 for the taxi-runs, which also served as a valuable crew training and systems familiarisation session. He said: "Each system behaved just as it should - no mean feat given the complexity of the PR.9 and the time that XH134 has been on the ground."
Hawker Tempest II MW404 arrived at Hooks Memorial Airport near Houston, Texas, for new owner Chris Miller in October, following its export from the UK, and will be restored to airworthy condition over the next five years or so, reports Richard Mallory Allnutt. The rare fighter is one of only nine known complete survivors of the variant. Millers first task will be to take stock of what he has, what's missing and what needs replacing. According to the owner, finding rebuildable hydraulic systems may be his biggest headache, but a fair amount of sheet metal work will also need to done, including construction of new wing leading edges and engine cowlings. Hopefully the airframe structure is fundamentally sound, and will not require too much repair. Chris has already obtained a rebuilt Curtiss-Wright R-3350 radial engine and propeller from a Douglas Skyraider, which will power the Tempest in place of the original Bristol Centaurus engine and Rotol propeller, the American products being cheaper and easier to maintain in the USA.