back to article Fancy owning a two-seat Second World War Messerschmitt fighter?

A super-rare Spanish copy of the Messerschmitt Me109 fighter of Second World War infamy, which was flown by both British and German aces, has gone up for auction. The Hispano Buchon, a licence-built copy of the Messerschmitt Me 109G, is the only surviving two-seat model in the world. The aircraft was flown by both Luftwaffe …

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  1. PeeKay
    Thumb Up

    Would rather own a Spitfire...of course.

    1. Bob Wheeler
      Thumb Up

      I'd go for a de Havilland DH.98 Mosquito

      1. Jemma Silver badge

        Not if you want to live you won't, they had a nasty "sabre dance" like stall problem on take off, killed a lot of pilots including two experten recently - it was so unusual it took powerful computer modelling to work out what was happening.

        Back in the day no one had the foggiest how to solve it - pilots were just taught to climb out very shallow - otherwise it'd lose air flow, stall and drop out of the sky backwards, not a survivable experience in most cases.

        1. Bob Wheeler

          @ Jemma

          I seem to remember that some Spitfire's also has a problem if the throttle was opened too fast the engin toque would just flip the plane over

          1. SkippyBing Silver badge

            'I seem to remember that some Spitfire's also has a problem if the throttle was opened too fast the engine toque would just flip the plane over'

            I think that was possible with the Griffon powered ones, the main area of risk was if you decided to abort a landing attempt and go around, if you slammed the throttle open you'd find you were likely to find yourself upside down, slow, and very close to the ground. See also the Sea Fury.

          2. Les Matthew

            Don't know why you got down voted.

            My dad was an engine fitter in The R.A.F. during WWII, serving in North Africa and Italy.

            Told me he spent a lot of time straightening Spitfire propeller blades due to them tipping into the ground.

            1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
              Windows

              Something cool for the garage, you say?

              A Volksjäger of course.

              A killengine made for kids.

              Then I will get someone to paint Asuka Shoryu Langley on it, just for fun.

              1. Allan George Dyer Silver badge
                Paris Hilton

                Volksjäger?

                @Destroy All Monsters - Is that engine mounting designed to discourage ejection?

                1. David Pearce

                  Re: Volksjäger?

                  That engine is why that was the first aircraft with an ejection seat. Just climbing out was not an option

            2. LeeE Silver badge

              "Told me he spent a lot of time straightening Spitfire propeller blades due to them tipping into the ground."

              That'll be mostly due to over-braking during the landing roll.

    2. Fred Dibnah

      P51D for me every time.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      >Would rather own a Spitfire...of course.

      Make mine an EE Lightning.

      1. handleoclast Silver badge
        Coat

        EEeeeeee

        Make mine an EE Lightning.

        Noisy bastards, those. Very noisy. As I found out, many years ago, at RAF Scampton.

        You'd expect something made by English Electric to be a lot quieter. Maybe the noise was from the power cord unreeling.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: EEeeeeee

          'Noisy bastards, those. Very noisy.'

          You missed out a 'Gloriously noisy' in there...

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: EEeeeeee

          Makes more sense than the electric boat company! I wonder how many sailors died trying to keep the cords out of the water?

        3. MJI Silver badge

          Re: EEeeeeee

          Lots of English Electric stuff is noisy

          See Deltic and anything with the CSVT

    4. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

      Spitfire?

      This film may be of some interest...

      https://www.secretspitfires.com/

      https://www.secretspitfires.com/showtime/

      At the time of writing, there's still time to reserve a place for this screening...

      https://www.theregister.co.uk/2018/01/18/the_register_lecture_the_secret_spitfires/

  2. 8Ace

    Excuse me ..

    Bf109 if you please rather than ME109

    1. gazthejourno (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Excuse me ..

      Not so. Bayerische Flugzeugwerke AG (known as BFW) was renamed Messerschmitt, after chief designer/new owner Willy, in 1938, so all post-1938 design prefixes changed from Bf to Me.

      The Buchon design was based on the Me109G, which dates from 1942, hence it's an Me. It would be a Bf if it was a 109A-E, the first Me being the Me109F.

      Here endeth the mid-20th-century German aircraft design nomenclature lesson.

      1. Jemma Silver badge

        Re: Excuse me ..

        Wrong.

        For some unknown reason the bf109 and if I remember rightly the bf110 were both referred to in that way officially until the end of the war. The Me210/410 was designated after Dr Willi (and he probably wished they weren't) but it wasn't backdated for some reason.

        The only bf109 you'll find with an Me109 build plate would be some few that were repaired/refurbished on the eastern front. In Estonia I think.

        If any survive they'd be rarer than dodo's teeth.

      2. 8Ace

        Re: Excuse me ..

        Nope, ME was applied to all new aircraft post 1938, e.g. ME210, ME410 etc. Bf109 & indeed the Bf110 were pre 1938 and kept their original prefix, they were commonly referred to as ME for later models but officially it's Bf. I've seen the serial plate on a 109G, it says Bf109.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Excuse me ..

          I wish you ladies would make your mind up!

          Who do I believe? The journo, or the guy who has seen one in the flesh..... Hmmmmmm.

          1. Aqua Marina Silver badge

            Re: Excuse me ..

            Alas these things come from a time before the computerised records and instant worldwide communications we have today. They were also hand made and subject to on the spot improvisations. During the war they’ll have been MacGyvered and cannibalised to keep them in the air. The chances are that all the above is true depending on where you were in the world at the time and whether or not the communication to name things differently had filtered down to you. When the builder finally did get instructions to change the name, he probably thought "Oh, I'll just use up the remainder of this box of serial plates before getting some more made".

          2. Lars Silver badge
            Coat

            Re: Excuse me ..

            Perhaps is was like with that Drumpf guy who went to America and changed his name to Trump. And thus there was Drumpf on the plate on his old suitcase while there was Trump on the door.

            Just riffing.

  3. Jemma Silver badge

    If they offer you the model with the Heinkel engine run away - flying deathtrap. Having flown both some German pilots are said to have preferred the Buchon (with a late model pressure carb Merlin) to the original.

    I'd suggest the fairings (bulges) at the back of the cylinder banks are for the timing chain runs for the overhead cams.

    The standard motor for these was an inverted v12 DB6xx often latterly fitted with MW50 and or the ha-ha Gerat (ha-ha device) which provided nitrous oxide or laughing gas boost.

    And just as an aside - if someone makes another Meteor based car it *isn't* a merlin. A Meteor is a n/a merlin block with a totally different (2 valve) head design that'd be hard pressed to make 650hp displacing 24 litres. A Merlin is either 1 or 2 stage supercharged with a "4 valve" head displacing 27 litres. I know, nerdtastic but it bugs the hell out of me.

    1. hugo tyson
      WTF?

      Why were inverted V12s popular with the Germans?

      As there are nerds here, I'll ask: I've never managed to work out why "we" consistently used V12s the "right" way up, and the Luftwaffe consistently - so it seems - used inverted V12s. Are there advantages to inverted beyond the view from the cockpit - but then you need longer undercarriage; I'd have thought having a single sump is better, but OTOH do you get more reliable valve lubrication if it's all inverted? But what prevents oil pooling in the underside of the pistons besides their violent motion?

      1. Jemma Silver badge

        Re: Why were inverted V12s popular with the Germans?

        The packaging is better with the sump/crank upwards (the widest part of the engine is towards the widest part of the fuselage. It's a reason why flat-12 and wide V were used in formula 1 - easy to build aero around.

        The reason you don't get hydro lock and a very expensive set of flying piston rods is the DB engine was a dry sump design - car engines are wet sump, invert one while it's running and expensive things happen quite quickly.

        Specific to the 109 it also allowed a 20/30mm motorcannon to fire through the hollow crank and for two 151 to be placed above the flat deck of the "sump". The toasty motor kept the guns warm (its - 30c at 35,000ft) & the narrow mounting of most of the weapons (compared to a spit for example) made it much easier to put shells through a target in a nice tight pattern. Win-win unless you were the other guy.

        However it wasn't all sweetness and light. The canopy opened to the side, so forget about getting out in a hurry, the undercarriage had all the design flair of an Austin Allegro (although it's understandable why it was done that way, to save weight) - and the wing tabs turned the thing into basically a giant 1700hp vibrator on fast sharp turns (to the point that some pilots wired them shut). A good pilot was roughly on parity until about late 43, an inexperienced one would be dug out of the permafrost after about a week.

        The engine had mechanical fuel injection so it could be bunted when a Merlin would half stall in a cloud of black smoke (partly solved by miss shillings orifice). But being early FI and being 6 litres larger than the Merlin it drank fuel and gave only a 20 minute combat radius over the UK.

        Being higher compression than the Merlin - they didn't like artificial petrol either and there are many unexplained accidents were aces just disappeared or had engine failure possibly attributable to fuel that would make 2** cut with Guinness seem like a good idea.

        Incidentally if anyone ever tries to sell you purple petrol I'd not bother - they used to use it in racing cars post war but don't leave it overnight - it dissolves the fuel tank.

        1. hugo tyson

          Re: Why were inverted V12s popular with the Germans?

          Ta. So mostly packaging then. But surely it's a dry sump *because* it's inverted, the causality direction I mean. Anyway thanks, I see what you mean.

          1. Jemma Silver badge

            Re: Why were inverted V12s popular with the Germans?

            It's partly for packaging reasons and partly also accessibility and survivability. It's easier to replace fluids from an external tank with a feed pump than spend time mucking about and armoured lines and tanks are lighter than armouring a whole crankcase - you can also have aux lubrication circuits when you need them.

            IE almost all aero prop engines have two entirely separate ignition systems (as did the BRM V16, bad idea). Mostly they run on both (which also aids power) but if one distributor or magneto went south, you've still got a running engine. The A10 ground attack aircraft has no less than three hydraulic-electric control circuits, AND a fully manual rod & joint type which one American was very happy for when her plane got badly shot up - she managed to get it back home but I'd imagine she wasn't feeling all that happy about 48 hours later - a lot of pulled muscles, manual means manual on those. No hydraulic pressure probably means no flaps or brakes either..

        2. SkippyBing Silver badge

          Re: Why were inverted V12s popular with the Germans?

          'Specific to the 109 it also allowed a 20/30mm motorcannon to fire through the hollow crank and for two 151 to be placed above the flat deck of the "sump".'

          Minor point, the cannon didn't fire through the hollow crank, because several times a second there's a con-rod passing through the axis of rotation. It did go through the centre of one of the gears in the camshaft drive drain and between the two banks of cylinders before passing out the centre of the prop, which wasn't directly attached to the crankshaft due to the need for reduction gearing.

  4. Gordon Pryra

    Seems a bit cheap

    $6 million doesn't sound that much considering the prices some of the more common Spitfires and Hurricanes go for (well, "common" is relative when compared to unique anyway)

    1. Stumpy

      Re: Seems a bit cheap

      True, but this is just the asking price at Auction. I'd be really interested in seeing how much it actually sells for.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    question

    Do the guns still work? Asking for a friend. Yes, that's it, asking for a friend.

    1. Jemma Silver badge

      Re: question

      Ah, for a P47 Thunderbolt, a full load out of 5in rockets and one nice straight run over Trumps next Inauguration...*

      A girl can dream..

      *Do they get a parade every term? I've never thought to ask. It'd be a great way to get shot (pun intended) of an unpopular president.

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
        Black Helicopters

        Re: question

        Jemma,

        Do the Secret Service read this august publication? Jemma. Jemma?

        1. Jemma Silver badge

          Re: question

          I'd be more worried about Mossad than Donnie Dickwits little minions. The CIA tends to think planning and subtlety are for other people (course it doesn't help when your British contact is a certain Harold Adrian Russell Philby..). Mossad are scary even in comparison to spetnaz/oznaz.

        2. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: question

          Yes the secret service have read Jemma's comment and are currently trying to figure out where they can get a P47 to deliver to her.

      2. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Unhappy

        Re: question

        uh, just to point out, even joking about murdering a politician is probably a BAD idea these days...

        As much as I disliked Obaka, I didn't want him killed. Just sayin'.

        1. John H Woods Silver badge

          ObaKa?

          Can someone explain this to me?

          1. Aqua Marina Silver badge

            Re: ObaKa?

            On my iPhone the K key is right above the M key. I’d suggest fat fingers is at faulf.

            1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Re: ObaKa?

              "On my iPhone the K key is right above the M key. I’d suggest fat fingers is at faulf."

              Nah, it's the sort of childishness exhibited by the sort of partisan voters who think they don't have a proper President unless it's the one they voted for. Democracy in action!

        2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: question

          "As much as I disliked Obaka,"

          Does mean you're now Bombaka Bob? Or is your keyboard broken?

      3. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
        Alert

        Re: question

        @Jemma

        "Trumps next Inauguration...*

        A girl can dream.."

        Sweet Dreams.

        Or should that be

        Dream On!

        "next"??? Dear God, NO!

        Have you been inhaling too much high octane aviation spirit?

        1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

          Re: question

          @Jemma

          Were you in Dallas on 22 November 1963?

      4. Holtsmark

        Re: question

        "....and one nice straight run over Trumps next Inauguration...*"

        Do not forget that he has now instructed the pentagon to arrange a military parade.

        During a parade, it is common to have all parading personnel face the dictator as they march past. It is just a matter of convincing the great orange one that this includes all tank turrets as well...

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: question

        No, I don't think parades are tradition, unless it's Gay pride Day, of course.

        But if you're dreaming of a fly-by, that would give a reboot to the old meme 'the British are coming!'

  6. Tinslave_the_Barelegged Silver badge

    1969 film

    I read somewhere that during the filming of "The Battle of Britain", the aircraft used constituted effectively the 9th largest air force in the world at the time. Nice factoid, if the case.

    Also re the flight of Galland and Stanford-Tuck, I grew up in Namibia in the 1970s, in an area with a strong German heritage, and a number of German expats. There was an ex-services club, open to all who had served in armed forces. The Allied ex-servicemen and their Axis counterparts used to spend hours working out if they'd shot at each other when at the same battles.

    1. kraut

      Re: 1969 film

      I recall a party where we established that two South African guests had been in the same battle on different sides...

    2. JimmyPage Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: 9th largest air force in the world at the time

      I recall that when "Lord of War" (great film - worth it for the opening sequence alone) was being filmed, so many (ex Russian) tanks were used in filming the CIA worried a coup was going down.

      Another factoid ...

      1. Jemma Silver badge

        Re: 9th largest air force in the world at the time

        Then there was Dr Strangelove.

        The guys in the bomber and rigging up that set weren't allowed to get with 100 yards of a B52. So several of them having served on B29/B50 types in the AF they decided to take those configurations and work it out from there, using first principles.

        All well and good - except they apparently nailed the console set up and dialogue so well, the AF had a conniption, thought they'd been spying and sicced the FBI/CIA onto the people concerned. Poor set designers had all sorts of trouble before they convinced the pointy haired generals it was just coincidence..

        Course it might have been something in the water..

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