Hispano Buchon / Me 109 J
also known as: ‘the 109’ & ‘Yellow 10’
Built in 1959 by Seville-based Hispano Aviacion, very little of this aircraft’s service history with the Spanish Air Force is known. The aircraft was sold by the Spanish Air Force at auction with 26 other examples, all purchased by Spitfire Productions for use in the filming of the 1969 epic ‘Battle of Britain’. Modifications were made to each aircraft to improve their visual representation of Messerschmitt BF109E’s of the Battle of Britain period, this involved the addition of tailplane struts, dummy machine guns fitted to the wings and the squaring off of the aircraft’s wing tips.
Shortly after the completion of filming in Spanish locations, 17 airworthy Buchons were flown to Duxford for further filming, along with 2 license-built Heinkel bombers and 9 Spitfires used in mock dogfighting sequences above East Anglia and The Wash. Upon completion of the film and with the aircraft surplus to requirements, the Buchon fleet was put up for disposal and 11 airframes were taken by Wilson C ‘Connie’ Edwards in lieu of payment for his flying services during filming. Following shipment to the pilot and aircraft collector’s ranch in Texas, this Buchon briefly flew under the American registration of N9938, until it was placed on static display in 1971.
The Buchon returned to Duxford in May 1996 following its acquisition by the Old Flying Machine Company (OFMC), and was re-registered as G-BWUE before being sold on again to Yorkshire based The Real Aeroplane Company, the latter of which initiating the rebuild of the aircraft to an airworthy condition. In 2006 the aircraft returned to Duxford, this time for good and under the ownership of Spitfire Ltd, who tasked the Aircraft Restoration Company with maintaining the aircraft.
The Buchon made a second noteworthy film appearance in the 2008 war thriller ‘Valkyrie’, starring alongside Tom Cruise. A year later, Historic Flying Limited took ownership of the aircraft and it was painted to represent Messerschmitt ‘Yellow 10’, the same colours this airframe had worn during filming for ‘Battle of Britain’. In October 2014, the aircraft regained its original UK civil registration of G-AWHK and in the summer of 2016 the aircraft was used extensively for filming yet again, this time for Christopher Nolan’s ‘Dunkirk’ representing a Messerschmitt 109E and in a temporary paint scheme. In late 2019, ownership of the aircraft was transferred to Propshop Ltd and in January 2021 the Buchon officially joined the Aerial Collective fleet.
History of the Buchon
Often referred to as a ‘Spanish-built Messerschmitt Bf109’, the story of the Buchon can be traced back to the middle of the Second World War. In 1943, the Spanish Government agreed with Messerschmitt to produce 200 Bf109Gs under license. That year, 25 dismantled examples of the infamous Luftwaffe fighter were sent to Spain for use as pattern aircraft for future production. Technical drawings, jigs, engines, propellers, tailplanes and armament for the aircraft failed to arrive in Spain, and as the war in Europe continued and the German war effort was put under increasing pressure, Germany was ultimately unable to supply the missing components.
Post war, the relationship between the Spanish Government and the West began to improve, and British Rolls Royce Merlin engines were sourced for the aircraft. The powerful British powerplant coupled with the former German airframe resulted in a successful combination and a prototype made its maiden flight in December 1954.