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Thread: Russell Aviation Group

  1. #1
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    Question Russell Aviation Group

    I have spent a fruitless afternoon trawling the web to try to find the status of the Russell Aviation Group's ME-109E and Hurricane XII.
    The Spitfire has already moved to the Biggin Hill Heritage Hangar, and I know the other two were reported for sale.
    Does anyone have any further information to their condition or location?

  2. #2
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    I heard last November that the Texas deal for the Bf-109E4 fell through and that it was still for sale. I haven't heard anything about it since then.

  3. #3
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    Would love to see that 109E returned to the UK ideally Duxford. With the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain not far away I cannot think of a better tribute then to see this aircraft, the NZ Mk 1 Hurricane and a Mk 1 Spitfire
    formating over Kent!!

  4. #4
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    I wonder why they are up for sale ,why the sudden loss of interest?

  5. #5
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    It's not really a "sudden" loss of interest on Mr Russell's part; his three fighters and his Harvard have been off the scene here for a couple years now. Reading between the lines a bit as I do not know Mr Russell, but I think, when he dove into the Warbird business after his litigation win about a decade ago, he was very much keen to do much of the flying himself, like Michael Potter in Gatineau; however that did not happen--others can correct me if I'm mistaken but I do not think Mr Russell ever flew any of the single-seaters...not sure about the Harvard. I think he did do some dual work on a T9 Spit in the UK early on.

    Mr Russell did, for about eight or nine years, campaign his Warbirds widely in this area, including shows at Hamilton, Geneseo NY, and Willow Run MI, not to mention hosting air shows at his own airfield near Niagara Falls several years in succession. Several fine display pilots from both sides of The Pond flew the three fighters during that span, greatly enriching the local circuit during a period when things had become rather quiet. For that I tip my hat to Mr Russell. (And I'll make no secret of the fact I wish some arrangement could be made to bring the Hurricane to CWH at Hamilton; it'd be so much more interesting than the plastic Hurri-shaped thingy that replaced the real deal lost in the 1993 hangar fire...)

    S.

  6. #6
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    Hi Steve:
    I'm standing with you in hoping that at least the Hurricane stays in this part of the world. Hopefully some kind of deal can be worked out with CWH as that is the obvious place for it to go as Vintage Wings already has a Mk Xll.

    As for the Me-109, we can only dream. I saw it fly ar Hamilton, 2008 I think. What a thrill!
    Regards
    Bill

  7. #7
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    Sadly
    The aircraft are languishing in the hanger at Niagara South.
    For the record , the Hurricane, while being a nice looking aircraft has some centre section issues that are serious enough that the aircraft is restricted
    to very gentle non agressive displays. At this point I would bet it needs some other work also ie prop overhaul etc

    The ME109E is at this point is close to requiring an engine overhaul even though is does not have many hours on it.
    From my Transport Canada contacts , I have been told that the DB engine manual gives no indication of TBO Hrs but does show a major inspection at 150 hrs . Thus T/Canada elected to use that as the hours at which the engine must be overhauled.
    Not sure how the FAA would treat this issue but a TBO of 150 hrs could really effect the selling of this aircraft as it is not cheap to overhaul a DB engine

  8. #8
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    I last saw the Hurricane at Tillsonburg in 2010. It seemed to have some problems at that time and fired up but did not display.
    regards
    Bill

  9. #9
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    I can't find it at the moment but I have an article about the Russell Aviation Group Bf-109 from about 10 years ago that I believe said that the engine must be rebuilt every 200 hours. That doesn't really mean anything but I'm pretty sure that was the figure quoted in the magazine article. I'll try and find it later.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by DC Page View Post
    I can't find it at the moment but I have an article about the Russell Aviation Group Bf-109 from about 10 years ago that I believe said that the engine must be rebuilt every 200 hours. That doesn't really mean anything but I'm pretty sure that was the figure quoted in the magazine article. I'll try and find it later.
    This is what I posted on "another" forum answering a similar question regarding DB 6XX engines:

    I posted a question on a German aviationforum. regarding TBO´s of DB engines. A forumite, "78587?", involved with "Messerschmitt Foundation", wrote the following:
    Part Overhaul: every 100 Hours, Main Overhaul: every 200 Hours, maximum lifetime: 600 Hours, as by the original DB-documents and (original) approval by German aviation authorities.

    Michael

    I do not know what the difference of "Part Overhaul" or "Main Overhaul" mean, but it might well mean a rebuilt every 200 hours as you wrote. Additionally he wrote, that 600 hours maximum lifetime might be surpassed, if every item is inspected and still in the limits described by the manufacturer (DB).

    Michael

  11. #11
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    The 150 hr full overhaul for the ME109 that I quoted above comes directly from the Transport Canada Dept that issued its flight permit to fly in Canada.
    This is what one of their Inspectors ( whom I know personally ) told me .

  12. #12
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    Hi all , I think you will find that the Hurricane is at Biggin Hill also. Now owned by The Friedkins. I think this is right !!

    Steve"P"
    Last edited by mackerel; 15th February 2013 at 22:51. Reason: Add text

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by mackerel View Post
    Hi all , I think you will find that the Hurricane is at Biggin Hill also. Now owned by The Friedkins. I think this is right !!

    Steve"P"
    Wrong Hurricane. The Russell Group one is the former G-ORGI, originally restored by Paul Mercer. The Friedkin one is a later Ditheridge restoration.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike J View Post
    Wrong Hurricane. The Russell Group one is the former G-ORGI, originally restored by Paul Mercer. The Friedkin one is a later Ditheridge restoration.
    Correct
    As of two weeks ago both the Hurricane and the ME109 were still at Russells
    with no plan of them going anywhere

  15. #15
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    Hey yes sorry about that ! I should have known as I did the wings on AE977 for Tony Ditheridge that the friedkins have !! A senior moment !!

    Steve"P"

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fleet16b View Post
    The 150 hr full overhaul for the ME109 that I quoted above comes directly from the Transport Canada Dept that issued its flight permit to fly in Canada.
    This is what one of their Inspectors ( whom I know personally ) told me .
    @Fleet16b: They are correct with this as well. I found an operation and maintenance manual for DB 601 A and B, issue C, by Daimler Benz, published in October 1940 (of course in German). I believe other engine subtypes of the 60x lineage are described likewise in their respective manuals.

    At II. F, Engine Maintenance it says on page 52:

    6. After approximately 100 operating hours a part overhaul has to be done. Postponing it for 20 hours is possible without any additional work. If it is neccessary to prolong engine operating hours due to operational reasons, the engine has to be checked on site in advance. If checks prove the engine to be ok, the operating hours can be extended to a maximum of 150 hours.

    7. After approximately 200 hours a main overhaul has to be done.
    Postponing it for 20 hours is allowed in case of need (emergency?).

    I translated the above parts myself, so there might be some glitches, but I hope it might be better than a google translation, lol.

    What I get from it is the following:
    Usual recommended TBO´s are 100 and 200 hours.
    Time for part overhaul (100 hours) can be extended to 120, absolute maximum 150 hours.
    Time for main overhaul is 200 hours, only to be extended if absolutely neccessary (wartime? operational needs) till 220 hours.

    source: http://www.avialogs.com/en/engines-c...1undb#download

    Only question I do have (and can not answer myself) is, if it really makes sense financially, to extend the 100 hours overhaul to 150 hours with prolonging possible wear, only to have a main overhaul only 50, or absolute maximum 70 hours later?

    Michael
    Last edited by redvanner; 18th February 2013 at 16:29.

  17. #17
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    Here are a few pix of the Russell Group fighters...taken during two of the CHAA Wings & Wheels car/air events of the past few years at CHAA's Tillsonburg, Ontario, base (I took my 1962 Studebaker Lark to these shows).

    Spitfire MK912/C-FFLC, Mr R's initial post-lawsuit acquisition. I referred to this Spit as "Mad Mickey" for the furious-looking mouse cartoon on the cowl! (And I decided the reg stood for "Conjured Forth From Legal Confrontation"...)



    C-FFLC with another charismatic British classic, a Healey roadster...



    The Spit taxiing at T'burg



    Airshow pilot Rick Volker belts past in the Spit



    Hurricane and 109 to follow...

    S.
    Last edited by Steve T; 20th February 2013 at 06:16.

  18. #18
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    Hurricane XII 5481/C-FDNL at Tillsonburg



    Taxiing in



    Flyby in company with the 109



    Aft view, parked



    109 next...

    S.

  19. #19
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    Bf109E CF-EML, seen probably much as it currently looks, but this shot and the next one were taken in one of CHAA's hangars at Tillsonburg, rather than at Niagara South airfield where Mr Russell's fleet was based.



    Ace's office...



    Parked with the Hurricane during a spell of very British weather...



    CF-EML taxiing out for its duo display with the Hurricane.



    Goes without saying, I miss seeing these...but then I'd have declared nuts anyone who told me 15 years ago that I would see a DB-engined Messerschmitt airborne over southern Ontario...ever! Thanks, Mr Russell.

    S.

  20. #20
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    ...Oh, and as to the centre section issues with the Hurricane...CWH would not likely operate the aircraft aggressively, so the restrictions would be less important to the museum than to many potential private operators.

    If I ever find myself sole winner of one of the bigger LottoMax pots...somebody'll have to be ferrying a certain Hurricane the few miles northwest from Niagara South to Mt.Hope. I wouldn't even care I'd overpaid a smidge...

    S.

  21. #21
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    If the Russell 109 is for sale, where is it listed? Not with Courtesy Aircraft Sales, Classic Fighter Sales or Platinum Fighter Sales.
    SEEKING LOCKHEED P-38 PARTS, WILL BUY OR SWAP.

  22. #22
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    Not sure about restrictions on centre section -seems a little odd to have any restrictions of that kind.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by David Burke View Post
    Not sure about restrictions on centre section -seems a little odd to have any restrictions of that kind.
    My sources stated that is some questionable corrosion issue with the centre section , so absolutely no aerobatics allowed with this aircraft.
    Transport Canada ruling.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by David Burke View Post
    Not sure about restrictions on centre section -seems a little odd to have any restrictions of that kind.
    There's at least one Hurricane in the UK that is restricted from performing aerobatic maneuvers

  25. #25
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    Very odd that they would clear it for flight with issues of corrosion.

  26. #26
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    I imagine that this aircraft is flying with its original centre section rather than having been restored with new spars etc.

  27. #27
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    I remember seeing the Hurricane when it was being pieced back together by Jack Arnold at Seneca airfield near Cayuga, Ontario; at that time it was a bare frame painted all silver, and I suppose there could've been pretty much anything under that paint! Regrettably I never got a photo of 5481 back then. This of course was long before she went to the UK for rebuild to fly...1977 or thereabouts. (My uncle was part-owner of an Aeronca Champ based at Seneca around that time.)

    The remaining Russell warbirds seem to be sort of tacitly for sale, but not actively marketed. A while ago I heard a figure of $14 mil mentioned on the 109; no idea how near the actual mark that was, but that's probably too high in the present market for the 109 and Hurri together! As an aside, sort of, anyone have any info on plans for the Harvard (C-FFLR irc) Mr Russell also had?

    S.

  28. #28
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    Thanks for all the updates Steve on RAG. I like yourself consider myself very lucky to have had the opportunity to see his collection fly in Canada and across the border.

    I had a chance to chat with some of the Gatineau lads from VWoC last fall and I asked about the RAG Hurricane and I was more or less told that its original center section had some pitting issues....sorta similar to what was perhaps found in the Whereats Hurricane. Yes both could be flown with that condition but perhaps with some limitations.

    Andrew

  29. #29
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    Why are warbird prices such a taboo subject? AFAIK; P-38 "Glacier girl" sold for $7,000,000, P-51's sell from $1.5 to $2.5 Million, P-40's around the $1.5 million, F4F's $850,000. Obviously there are alot of variables involved. I'm just throwing out ball park figures to question the $14,000,000 that is mentioned above as a possible asking price for the 109. If it's true, then he's not advertising one of the world's most expensive warbirds. Must be a new selling style I've not heard of before.
    Steve T, I appreciate your post, and this is NOT a critisizm of it, just strikes me as strange.
    SEEKING LOCKHEED P-38 PARTS, WILL BUY OR SWAP.

  30. #30
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    The aircraft have never really been advertised for sale.
    Over the years there are been many rumours of what Ed is asking for the ME109
    The most consistent has been $10,000,000. I have never heard $14 million until reading it here.
    In reality Ed has never publically put a price on any of his aircraft.
    These rumoured prices may or may not be realistic .
    He has experienced people close to him that would that would give him an accurate assessment of their value. Knowing Ed and his people, I doubt those prices are from his camp.

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