Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Airworthy Messerschmitt BF109 Crashes

Red Seven Crashes in Denmark

A charmed life: This Me Bf 109 has survived 3 crashes.

The pilot was unhurt and the aircraft does not seem to have suffered heavy damage. The propeller is shattered and the engine will certainly have suffered, but the pilot’s decision to land in an unharvested wheat field probably helped to limit the damage to the airframe.

This is the third time that this aircraft has been damaged. It crashed in 2005 and, after being rebuilt, it made a wheels-up landing in 2008.

The Messerschmitt Stiftung's "Rote Sieben" (Red Seven) was built as a Hispano (CASA) license built Bf-109, the Hispano HA-1112 M-1L Buchón, Spain in 1950 with c/n 139. After delivery she first served with the Ejercito del Aire with serial C.4K-75.

After being stuck of charge she was stored on Tablada before being sold to the United Kingdom in 1968, registered as G-AWHH. She starred as a Bf-109E "yellow 11" and "red 14" in the famous movie "The Battle of Britain". 

For another role in a movie she was reconverted into a P-51 "Mustang". Therefore a fake belly-cooler was attached. But she unfortunately crashed during a take-off and was severely damaged.

After her accident she was sold to the USA being registered as N3109G and restored to flying condtion. She was flown for the first and last time from Casper, Wyoming in 1986 as she crashed on take-off. After she was "repaired" to represent an Bf-109E-4 in static condition and in open storage. 

She was in a poor state when she arrived in Augsburg, Germany in the 1990s where a couple of enthusiasts had the ambitious plan to restore her to Bf-109G-4 "Gustav" specifications, including the Daimler-Benz DB605 engine.

Her first owner gave up on the plan fairly soon an in 1998 she was moved to the Messerschmitt Air Company (MAC) at Albstadt-Degerfeld. There she would undergo an expensive and time consuming restoration, that took over 30.000 hours. The work was completed in 2004 and on October 8 of that year she was presented to the public; the Rote Sieben had come to life!


On July 15, 2005 disaster struck as she was involved in a crash landing. While she touched down at her home, Albstadt-Degerfeld, the main gear collapsed resulting in a violent ground spin. The engine broke of the fuselage and the fighter was heavily damaged. 



At that point it wasn't clear if she would ever take the skies again. While being repaired the MAC was having difficulties to raise the funds to finalize the needed work and in December 2007 she was adopted by the Manching based Messerschmitt Stiftung. On April 2, 2008 she made, with Walter Eichhorn as her pilot, her first 15 minute test flight.
But then on April 15, 2008, just two weeks after her first flight, disaster struck again. While on approach to Manching, the pilot, Walter Eichhorn, found out that the right main gear of the 109 wasn't locked. After several attempts he found himself forced to make a wheels-up landing. 

The "Rote Sieben" was damaged, but thanks to the superb landing of Eichhorn the damage was kept to a minimum. After the previous accident in 2005, this mend that yet another round of repairs where necessary. 

After the repairs were made the "Rote Sieben" made her first flight on February 19, 2009 with Walter Eichhorn as pilot.


Now again belly landed in a corn field on August 18th 2013 during an airshow display at Roskilde Airport, Denmark. The pilot was unharmed, and the aircraft sustained only minor damage, including a completely broken propeller:

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