A Messerschmitt coming together using a Hispano Buchon as a starting point. (photo via John Muszala)

A Messerschmitt coming together using a Hispano Buchon as a starting point. You can clearly see the specially designed engine mount to allow the non-standard (for type) Allison V-1710 upright V-12 engine to be fitted. The strings are being used for alignment purposes to make sure that the thrust line stays true to the original Bf-109 despite the difference in power plants and ancillary equipment. (photo via Pacific Fighters)

Not content to sit on their laurels following the marvelous restoration of P-51B “Berlin Express”, Pacific Fighters is now hard at work on the restoration of Hispano Buchon C.4K-130 for Jack Erickson’s collection in Madras, Oregon. The aircraft is one of a couple of dozen examples which Group Captain Hamish Mahaddie acquired from the Spanish Air Force during the 1960s to serve as substitutes for their earlier cousin, the Messerschmitt Bf-109, in the movie Battle of Britain. After the movie shoot was complete, one of the pilots, the legendary Wilson “Connie” Edwards acquired the bulk of the remaining airframes, shipping them to his ranch in Big Spring, Texas. Over the years, Edwards parted with most of the Buchons, selling the final six examples just recently (click HERE to read more). Jack Erickson bought his Buchon from Edwards back in 1989, and it’s been on static display at his museum for most of the intervening years.

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The Buchon’s right wing in its jib. (photo via Pacific Fighters)

The Erickson Aircraft Collection recently contracted Pacific Fighters to undertake an airworthy restoration of the Buchon, converting it to more closely resemble a Messerschmitt Bf-109G. While the Buchon and ‘109 are identical in most respects, there are some significant structural differences, particularly with the powerplant and its cowlings. Much of this was dictated by Hispano choosing the more available Rolls-Royce Merlin engine over the inverted-v Daimler-Benz DB605 engine of the earlier Bf-109. The engine choice dictated a radical change in the shape of the Buchon’s nose. Converting a Buchon to appear like a Bf-109 is relatively straight forward if you have a spare DB 605 lying around, but since the engine is as rare as hens teeth, and costs a small fortune to make airworthy even when available, Jack Erickson has opted to go a different route. Pacific Fighters is converting the Buchon to use an Allison V-1710 engine, but having an engine mount and exhaust system specially designed to perfectly mimic that of a Bf-109 once housed beneath the correctly profiled and detailed cowlings.

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The cockpit interior is being restored with incredible accuracy, including the correct RLM colors, and even the fine details such as the hand-painted signage with the exact same font as seen on WWII examples. (photo via Pacific Fighters)

WarbirdsNews talked recently with Pacific Fighter’s John Muszalla II about these efforts, and he related the following… “We have been working on the engine mount and are taking all the proper steps with the engineers and FAA to ensure a safe and proper engine mount installation. We have also made progress on the propeller and spinner, as well as tracking down cowling blue prints and what ever parts we can. The goal of a completely stock outside appearance is really coming together nicely. Exhaust, guns, spinner, carb induction, engine placement and thrust line are all where they should be. We have also been working on the tail [ed. which is slightly different on the Buchon]. We have addressed the issues with the Spanish tail and from there have moved on to the taller G-10 vertical and rudder. The wings are also coming along nicely… We are using the proper RLM colors throughout the plane, and I can tell you that the cockpit will be as authentic as possible. The goal is to have something that can be taken out and flown on a regular basis without the worry of an entire crew or timing out your very rare DB 605 after 150 hours, but also have the look and feel of a Bf-109.”

The rudder and vertical stabilizer coming together at Pacific Fighters. The rudder leading edge and counterweights shown here are from a French crash site and being used as patterns, alongside original German blueprints, to recreate the proper G-10 tail assemblies. (photo via Pacific Fighters)

The rudder and vertical stabilizer coming together at Pacific Fighters. The rudder leading edge and counterweights shown here are from a French crash site and being used as patterns, alongside original German blueprints, to recreate the proper G-10 tail assemblies. The curved bow for the rudder is from the Buchon, and clearly illustrates how much smaller the tail unit was for that type in comparison to the G-10.  (photo via Pacific Fighters)

From the looks of the photographs, this aircraft is set to become another fabulous winner from Pacific Fighters, and we can’t wait to see her take to the air again! WarbirdsNews wishes to thank John Muszalla II very much for his assistance in creating this article, and we look forwards to following this project as it goes from the ground back into the air.

8 Comments

  1. Dan Johnson says:

    He’s welcome to restore his fighter in whatever configuration he’d like. But how sad that a Spanish-built airplane that very well may have had combat history is not restored to what it really is – a buchon. With EdA roundels. Why such fascination with the Germans? That’s a Spanish fighter, what a shame it’s heritage and identity is so casually discarded for the sake of the more predominant and “sexy” narrative of iron crosses and swastikas. Lost opportunity, Mr. Ericksen. You’re not just an airplane owner, you’re the caretaker of an important piece of Spanish and world history.

    • WarbirdsNews says:

      I tend to agree with you Dan. But ultimately, it is up to who pay the bill for the restoration and the Pacific Fighters crew is just doing what the client requested.

    • Since the very few Spanish 109s weren’t produced with the Merlin until the mid 1950’s I’m pretty sure there is zero combat history of any of them. Much better to restore to a storied version than a postwar afterthought.

  2. Jack Michael says:

    Show Quality Experience war craft painter looking for a fun project

  3. Pingback: 109 gets a Nose Job | Big Prop

  4. Christopher says:

    I for one think this an amazing idea and can’t wait to see it. Hopefully Pacific Fighters will build more QECs for other Hispano 109s out there to convert them so they look more original. A few ugly faced Buchons will always be around. But the more out there flying in authentic looking configuration the better!

  5. Great idea. Too bad Nolan didn’t go through this kind of trouble to ensure the 109’s in Dunkirk were accurate…or at least looked accurate.

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