One of Europe’s top specialist auctioneers of collectors’ vehicles, H&H are also successful sellers of selected items by private treaty, and are delighted to now be offering the only airworthy Hawker Demon fighter remaining in the world today.
The result of a painstaking 35,000-hour, 18-year restoration, K8203 is understood to have been the 23rd of a third batch built by Boulton-Paul’s Wolverhamton plant to Specification 8/34. Delivered in October 1937, it was initially assigned to No.64 Squadron at RAF Church Fenton, and it is their livery that adorns the aircraft again now. Following spells at No.9 Maintenance Unit at RAF Cosford and No.9 Air Observer’s School at RAF Penrhos, it was apparently pensioned off as a ground training aid for No.1 Service Flying Training School, RAF Netheravon in September 1940. From this point the history is less well documented, but K8203 is thought to have ended up at No.413 (Aldershot) Squadron of the ATC some three years later, with the rear fuselage eventually finding its way into the RAF Museum’s storage facility at Cardington.
The fuselage was acquired by the vendor from Aero Vintage in July 1991, together with a fin, rudder, tailplane, elevators, centre-section, plus some parts of the wings and under-carriage. Other components were rescued from an Irish tip and the supercharged Rolls-Royce Kestrel VDR engine came from Australia, having been originally installed in a Royal Australian Air Force Demon. The over-riding intention was to make the finished aircraft as historically accurate as possible and a great deal of research and development went into the refurbishment of original parts and the manufacture of replacement ones as required. The task of bringing the Demon back to life was entrusted to SkySport Engineering of Sandy, Bedfordshire and a full account of this marathon achievement appeared in the December 2009 issue of Aeroplane Monthly.
Apparently the CAA inspector assigned to the project delayed his retirement specifically so he could personally sign off the test flight programme, and, having been grounded for almost 70 years, the restored Demon finally took to the skies once more in June 2009. Following completion of the test flights at RAF Henlow, a CAA permit was issued the following month, allowing K8203 to make its airshow debut at Old Warden on August 2. The aeroplane is now hangared at this airfield – the home of the world-renowned Shuttleworth Collection – and is regularly displayed there and elsewhere by Stuart Goldspink.
As befits such a superbly restored aeroplane, the Demon has already won two major awards since returning to the skies:
1. The 2010 Historic Aircraft Association’s Conrod Trophy for an ‘outstanding contribution to the preservation and safe operation of historic aircraft’ (awarded to SkySport Engineering).
2. The Freddie March Spirit of Aviation Trophy. This was presented at the concours d’elegance during last year’s Goodwood Revival meeting, to which only 25 of the world’s finest early aircraft are invited each year.
Further details of this unique and exciting opportunity are available from Deanne Walsh at H&H via: UK Telephone – 08458 334455; Non UK Telephone – +44 1925 210035; Email – firstname.lastname@example.org. For information about H&H’s auctions and other private treaty sales, log onto www.handh.co.uk.