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30 April 2017 Misc. » Aviation Museum » Aircraft  
 

AIRCRAFT

This section lists the aircraft to be seen at the museum. Whilst most are on display, some are in a dismantled state, awaiting restoration. Aircraft name in red text is a recent addition.

        
 


Autogiro, JC-XXX

Mr. Joe Callus has donated his home built AutoGiro rotor craft to the Malta Aviation Museum Foundation during April 2007. It is in a very good condition and is powered by a modified VW Beetle engine.

Wikipedia article about autogiros.

        
 

BAC 111

Arriving in the summer of 2006, was the nose section of BAC 111 5N-BBP. This was one of three such types lying at the Med-Avia compound at Safi, and hadn’t flown since its arrival on 9th September 2002. It carried Al Barka Air Services titles.
        
 


Beech 18S, N495F

This aircraft is in a worse state than the Dakota (see DC-3 C-FITH below). It was originally built for the USAF as a C-45H in 1953, construction number AF-888, serial 52-10958. After disposal by the military, registration N8176H was reserved, but apparently never taken up. It was then given identity N3114G, followed by N114G in June 1963 registered to David B. Stewart. As N114G, it was operated by LAVCO (Libyan Aviation Company) from at least January 1965. Date of re-registration to N495F is unknown, but it was flown successively by Sagittair and Zapata as an aero-taxi mainly to North African destinations.

It was thanked for its useful services by being thrown into a scrap yard in 1978. It languished there until it returned to Hal-Far in late 91/early 92 (I first photographed it at Hal-Far on 15 January 1992), when it was purchased by the International Fire and Safety School – Malta. It was saved from what seemed a certain fiery end by the Foundation in 1996 and purchased by the National Tourism Organisation of Malta for display at the Aviation Museum.

Plans for the Beech 18S are not yet definite, but ideas include re-conversion to a C-45 and painted in the colourful United States Navy scheme of the mid-1960s when aircraft of its type made regular liaison visits to Luqa from the U.S. Naval Air Facilities of Naples and Sigonella.
        
 

Cessna L-19E Bird-dog, 9H-ACB

The Armed Forces of Malta acquired five L-19E from the United States Government for a nominal sum. The surplus Italian Army Aviation aircraft were flown from Viterbo, Italy to Malta in January 1992.

In Air Squadron service (today known as the Air Wing), the type was used for pilot training, observation, coastal patrol, photography and target towing. The Bird Dog was a beauty in the air but a beast on the ground - the ground loop being its Achilles heel.

9H-ACB was involved in on such ground loop on 5 May 1992. Deemed not worth repairing, it was set aside in a hangar at Luqa where it lingered for eight years. The Bird Dogs were replaced by four ex-Royal Air Force Bulldogs in March 2000,with the remaining four AFM Birddogs being sold in the USA eight months later.

Restoring the Aircraft

Charlie Bravo (c/n 305M-0029, ex-Italian Army MM61-2972/EI-34), on permanent loan to the Malta Aviation Museum from the AFM’s Air Squadron, wears the original Italian green/brown colour scheme. Efforts will be made by the Foundation to return the Cessna to the air.
        
 

De Havilland 82 Tiger Moth, G-ANFW

In the autumn of 2000, the Malta Aviation Museum Foundation acquired the fuselage of an air-worthy Tiger Moth, G-ANFW. After restoration, the aircraft will be given a typical Royal Air Force colour scheme of the war period, consisting of camouflaged top surfaces, with trainer yellow under surfaces, as well as its original service number DE730.
Subject to locating a pair of wings (and sponsorship), the museum also plans to fly the aircraft again, and place the aircraft on the Maltese civil register. This will certainly make it the only bi-plane, and the oldest aircraft, to carry the 9H- prefix.

Later that year, the aircraft was towed to the other side of Ta’ Qali, as a static participant in the annual Malta Model Aircraft Flying Association open day held between 28-29 October.
        
 

De Havilland Sea Venom FAW22, XG691

The FAW.22 version was the final Royal Navy variant and was powered by the de Havilland Ghost 105 turbojet engine. Thirty-nine of these types were built between 1957/58, some later being fitted with Firestreak AA missiles.

In, Malta, the Sea Venom served with Royal Navy squadron No. 750, stationed at Hal Far (HMS Falcon) for navigation training. Squadron 750 was the last RN squadron to operate this type of aircraft.

Acquiring the Sea Venom

The purchase and transportation of this aircraft to Malta was made possible thanks to a kind donation by one of the Museum's strongest supporters Mr. David Dolton. It was previously owned by Jet Age Museum, located at Staverton Airfield in the U.K.

XG691 arrived at Malta Aviation Museum on Monday 19th September 2005, in a dismantled state following a land/sea journey on a 40 foot trailer directly from UK.

Following extensive restoration works, the Sea Venom will join the museum's Royal Navy postwar jet aircraft collection, currently consisting of a Hawker Sea Hawk, Gloster Meteors T.7 and NF(T)14 and a DH Vampire T.11 aircraft.
        
 

De Havilland Vampire T.Mk.11, VZ550

This aircraft was purchased by the Malta Aviation Society, a founder member of the Foundation, from profits generated by the Malta International Airshow, which this Society organises annually. It added a jet fighter element to the Museum, arriving in a dismantled state on 25 October 1996.

Other on-going projects has prevented any large-scale work on the assembly and refurbishment of the aircraft but it is intended to repaint the Vampire as a Royal Navy T.Mk.22 as used by the Hal Far (HMS Falcon) Station Flight in the 1950/1960s. Still carrying RAF serial VZ550, the Vampire had been last used by the Central Flying School whose badge it still carries on the nose.

In the Summer of 2000, the aircraft was overhauled and re-sprayed by Museum members. It now wears the colour scheme of a Hal Far-based No.750 Fleet Air Arm Squadron, T.22 trainer.
        
 

Douglas DC-3, C-FITH

DC-3 C-FITH had been languishing at Hal-Safi, the previous base of the MIACO company, since 14 January 1980. After the voluntary liquidation of MIACO in February 1985, the aircraft remained there, until it was purchased, along with two other DC-3 N565 and N535M, by the International Fire & Safety School – Malta, and towed by road to Hal-Far on 19 March 1987. They were later joined by Beech 18 N495F.

N565 and N535M were eventually destroyed through repeatedly being set on fire, and C-FITH (which at one time was to be painted in the School’s colours) and N495F were destined to follow suit.

Museum members started urgent talks with the foreign owners of the School in 1994 in order to obtain, purchase, or otherwise procure both aircraft for the Museum. The negotiations were still inconclusive when the School went into receivership, and more than a year had to pass before the new owners agreed to exchange both aircraft with four old 40-foot containers on which they seemed equally happy to try their fire-dousing equipment.

The DC-3's condition is not so bad externally and is structurally sound enough for static display purposes. DC-3s were very popular on the post-war Malta civil scene when BEA operated the type on the Malta-UK route, and it is planned to convert, refurbish and repaint the aircraft in those attractive colours. C-FITH was purchased in April 1996 by the National Tourism Organisation of Malta for display within the Aviation Museum. Efforts are being made to persuade British Airways, through their Malta representative, to assist by sponsoring all or part of the restoration costs.
        
 

Douglas DC-3, T9-ABC

T9-ABC, c/n 16187/32935, had originally landed in Malta on 17 Feb 95 as N48ME, entering NCA that very same day. Following some general maintenance work, and re-registration to 3C-JJN, test flights were performed on 01 & 02 Apr, the aircraft departing on 09 Mar.

Mid-way to Tunis, the aircraft developed engine problems, and the pilot elected to return to Malta, where repair facilities for such an aircraft were better. By 23 June, the registration was changed to T9-ABC, however, there were payment problems, and the aircraft remained in Malta.

It was bought by the NCA company during an auction two or three years later, but plans to restore the aircraft to airworthy status were abandoned, and eventually it was offered to the Malta Aviation Museum. Transported to Malta Aviation Museum during the night of 27/28 March 2006.
        
 

EE Lightning F.2A, XN769

The nose section of this No. 92 Squadron Lightning was donated to the museum by Mr. Russell Carpenter of Eltham, England.

92 Squadron's red and yellow markings will be retained, in order to represent an aircraft flown by Flight Lieutenant Mark Micallef Eynaud, the only fast jet pilot to serve with the RAF. Ft Lt Micallef Eynaud also visited Malta during October 1975, in Lightning F.2A XN787.
        
 

Fairey Swordfish, HS491

Affectionately known as “Stringbag”, the Fairey Swordfish would also be among the last bi-plane designs to enter service with the Fleet Air Arm.

(Ironically, the Swordfish would outlive the aircraft meant to replace it, the bi-plane design Fairy Albacore. The Swordfish continued to serve until VE-Day, eventually being retired in favour of another Fairy design, the Barracuda.)
Slow and ungainly, it would forever be remembered for the successful Royal Navy attack on the Italian fleet anchored at Taranto harbour in November 1940. (The Japanese high command would study this attack in preparation for their attack on Pearl Harbour.) Swordfish would also be used to attack, and cripple, the German Navy’s Bismark in May 1941.

Because of their vulnerability to enemy fighter attacks, “Stringbags” were usually only operated far out at sea, where land based opposition could not reach them.

Swordfish based at Malta were operated at night and were all but invulnerable to the opposition. Starting in 1940, squadrons of Swordfish stationed here had sunk more than a million and a half tons of enemy shipping....a record never to be equalled.

Restoring the Aircraft

On Thursday, 16th September, 2004, a forty foot long container arrived at the Malta Aviation Museum in Ta' Qali. Inside were the skeletal fuselage and wing parts of Swordfish HS491, which had been purchased by the Foundation from Mr Bob Spence of Canada. Bob is the proud owner of a functional Swordfish, serial no. HS554.

The Fairey Swordfish, one of the rarest World War II airplanes, is awaiting restoration as another long-term project to be undertaken by the museum, as soon as the restoration of the Hawker Hurricane Mk. IIA is completed.

The aircraft parts were purchased for 50,000 Canadian dollars, or Lm13,000. The money came mainly from a hefty donation by David Dalton, a British flying enthusiast. The proceeds from the sale of a 1982 Cadillac donated by the late Charles Puglisevich, former honorary consul general of Malta in Newfoundland, also went towards the purchase.

Only 12 of this plane remain worldwide and the Aviation Museum will give its plane pride of place with other aircraft at the Battle of Malta Memorial Hangar.

Out of the 12 surviving Swordfish in various stages of restoration, one is in flying condition in Canada, two are in the UK with the Fleet Air Arm, whilst a third, also with the Fleet Air Arm, is being restored to flying condition.

The Swordfish which the museum bought, HS491, was built in February 1943 for the Royal Canadian Air Force. It had been dumped in a scrap yard after it was written off in 1946. Mr Spence bought it in the 1970s, cannibalising it to restore another Swordfish.

The Swordfish the museum will restore never operated from Malta.
        
 

Fiat G-91R/1B, MM6377/2-11

This aircraft was presented to the Malta Aviation Museum by the Italian Government in 1998 following the intervention of Colonel Alberto Zucchi, Commander of the M.I.A.T.M. (Missione Italiana Assistenza Tecnico Militare - Italian Military Mission in Malta).

The codes painted on the aircraft, 2-11, indicates the Italian Air Force's post-war coding system. 2 represents the 2° Stormo (wing) to which the aircraft was attached, 11 being the individual aircraft code number. MM6377 formed part of the last batch of single seaters delivered by Fiat to the Italian Air Force from 1964. The aircraft last flew from Treviso Saint Angelo in 1989 (North East Italy).
        
 

Gl. Meteor NF(T)14, WS774

The Meteor NF14 variant was the final Meteor night-fighter to be produced. First flown on 23 October 1953, it was based on the NF 12, but had an even longer nose to accommodate new equipment pushing total length to 15.5 metres and a larger bubble canopy to replace the framed T.7 version.

Just 100 NF 14s were built; they first entered service in February 1954 beginning with No. 25 Squadron and were being replaced as early as 1956 with the Gloster Javelin. Overseas, they remained in service a little longer, serving with No. 60 Squadron at Tengah, Singapore until 1961. As the NF 14 was replaced, some 14 were converted to training aircraft as the NF(T) 14 and given to No. 2 Air Navigation School on Thorney Island where they served until 1965.

Production of the Meteor continued until 1954 with almost 3,900 made, mainly the F 8 variant. As the Meteor was progressively relegated to secondary duties in later years, target tug, drone and specialized test vehicles were added to the increasingly diverse roles that this first-generation fighter took on.

Journey to Malta

Messrs. Sandy Mullen, John Holder, Sid Griffiths and Alex Walsh donated the fully restored aircraft to the Foundation, with Mr. David Dalton also paying for the transportation costs.

WS774 arrived at Malta Aviation Museum during December 2006 in a dismantled state following a land/sea journey on a 40 foot trailer directly from UK.

The Meteor NF14 will join the museum's other British post war jet aircraft collection, currently consisting of a Hawker Sea Hawk, a DH Vampire, a DH Sea Venom and a Gloster Meteor T7.
        
 

Gl. Meteor T.7, WL360

The Meteor T.7 trainer aircraft was developed from the two-seater F.4. It is designed for jet-conversion and advanced training and was first tested in 1949. It was accepted by the RAF and the Fleet Air Arm and became a common addition to the various export packages (for example 43 to Belgium 1948-57, a similar number to the Netherlands over the same period, two to Syria in 1952, six to Israel in 1953, etc.). Despite its limitations - unpressurized cockpit, no armament, and limited instructor instrumentation - over 650 T.7s were manufactured.

RAF Meteor jets were regular visitors to Maltese airfields and several Meteor squadrons were based in Malta during the 1950s. It is the museum's intention to repaint WL360 in the colour schemes of RAF Meteor T7s based in Malta which were painted in a special RAF Malta colour scheme.

The purchase and transportation of this aircraft to Malta was made possible thanks to a kind donation made by one of the Museum's strongest supporters Mr. David Dolton.

WL360 arrived at Malta Aviation Museum during December 2006 in a dismantled state following a land/sea journey on a 40 foot trailer directly from UK.

After restoration works are completed, the Meteor will join the museum's other British post war jet aircraft collection, currently consisting of a Hawker Sea Hawk, DH Vampire, DH Sea Venom and a Gloster Meteor NF(T)14.
        
 

Hawker Hurricane MK.IIA, Z3055

Z3055 was built by Hawker Aircraft at Kingston in 1941 as part of a batch of 1,000 Hurricanes Mk.IIA/IIB/IIC, being fitted with a Rolls Royce Merlin XX engine.

Delivered from Kingston to No.48 Maintenance Unit at Hawardeen on 27 February 1941, it was transferred to Abbotsinch on 17 March 1941 but only stayed until it was transferred to No.5 MU at Kemble after nine days.

Returned back to Abbotsinch on 18 May, it was shipped to Malta the following June. At Malta, Z3055 was with No. 46 Squadron Interchanging to No.126 Squadron. It is known that on 26 June 1941 it was flown by H P Lardner-Burke, a South African pilot with the RAF, on a 50-minute flight. During a flight by Sgt. Tom Hackston just before daybreak on 4 July 1941 Z3055 accidentally crashed into the sea after taking off from RAF Safi; the pilot was never found.

The restoration of this aircraft has now reached a very advanced stage. It has had a Merlin engine, in full working order fitted, and been re-sprayed, and once the wings are fitted, the fuel tanks and wheel brakes will be installed. Salvaged from the seabed by David Schembri and Cassar Enterprises, on 19 September 1995, it was transferred to the workshop at Ta' Qali where its main fuselage members and wooden fuselage top decking may be seen in place.

The Hurricane restoration is being sponsored by Frank Salt Real Estate Ltd, in memory of Flt. Lt. J. H. Salt and the ground crews that served with him during the Second World War in Malta.
        
 

Hawker Sea Hawk FGA.6, WV826

In 1999 the Malta Aviation Museum Foundation acquired Sea Hawk FGA.2, WV826 from Phoenix Aviation Museum. It is the first ship-borne jet aircraft on display and reflects part of Malta's long and historical links with the Fleet Air Arm in the post war years. WV826 has been painted to represent a No.804 Squadron FGA.6 aircraft coded 161 of the Suez Crisis period, hence the black and yellow identification stripes.

Operating from H.M.S. Bulwark, the squadron made attacks on Egyptian airfields and provided support for ground troops. On returning home early in 1957 (following a brief stop at Hal Far) the squadron transferred to H.M.S. Ark Royal, and its fin code changed from B to O, but evidently the Suez markings were not immediately painted out.

The aircraft was also towed to Luqa Airport as a static exhibit for the 1999 Malta International Air Show.
        
 

POU DU CIEL

A totally different breed of aircraft is the diminutive, ungainly but most interesting Pou du Ciel built from original plans by the Malta Historic Aircraft Preservation Group. Faithful in all respects in both construction materials and techniques, the Flying Flea will be powered by a Citroen CV engine and its builders hope to hop it off the ground in the not too distant future. As an exhibit, the Flying Flea represents the weird element in the hangar and adds to the attractions available to Museum visitors. The Pou du Ciel is an all wood and fabric aircraft and all examples in existence were built from a book published by its designer, Henri Mignet.
        
 

Supermarine Spitfire Mk.IX, EN199

Spitfire Mk.1X, EN199 was built by Vickers Armstrong as part of a batch of 450 Spitfire Mk.VII/IX/X1/Xl’s ordered under contract number B.19713/39. Powered by a Rolls Royce Merlin 61 engine, it first flew on 28 November 1942 at Eastleigh and was taken on charge by No.12 Maintenance Unit at Kirkbride on 1 December, successively moving to Nos. 82 and 47 MUs and thence to Glasgow where it was shipped to the Mediterranean during January 1943.

EN199 had been quite active in Maltese skies in the 1943-1945 period, particularly before, during and after, the invasion of Sicily, successively serving with Nos. 81, 154, 1435, 225 and 73 Squadrons before joining the Malta Communications Flight in October 1945 mainly for undertaking meteorological sorties. Even with the addition of other aircraft in the Museum, the Spitfire will still remain a favourite, a tribute to the type that had saved Malta in the dark days of 1942.

A booklet entitled A Brief History of Spitfire EN199, with an introduction by the famous RAF fighter pilot Laddie Lucas, CBE DSO DFC, and on sale at the Aviation Museum premises for the price of Stg£3.50, contains valuable information about the preservation group's saga in reconstructing the aircraft and the operational history of this particular aircraft.

As restored and exhibited at the Malta Aviation Museum, EN199 represents a typically Mediterranean tropical scheme and wears codes RB to denote the period when it was Wing Commander Ronald Berry's personal mount. The Spitfire was painstakingly restored to its present state in 1993-1995 from a hulk retrieved from inside a scrap yard by members of the Malta Historic Aircraft Preservation Group. The former Mid-Med Bank Ltd was the main sponsor for this project.
        
 
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