Thursday, 11 February 2016
Australia’s only Fw-190 will be one of the star attractions in the 2016 flying display. The aircraft, owned by Raptor Aviation, arrived in Albury, NSW in July 2015 and Wings Over Illawarra will be the first opportunity for members of the public to get up close to this magnificent aircraft.
Focke-Wulf 190-A8 werk nummer 173056 was manufactured in Cottbus, Germany in July 1944. The original data tag for the aircraft displays the letters “NAT” which suggest it was manufactured at the Focke-Wulf plant in Marienburg, Germany however this plant was destroyed in an air raid on the 9th of October, 1943 while producing Fw190D-9 long range fighter bombers. It is believed a number of aircraft sub-assemblies including w/n 173056 were rescued from the Marienburg ruins and transported to Cottbus, Germany for final assembly.
History suggests w/n 173056 joined Gruppe I of Jagdeschwader 11 (I./JG11) in late July/early August 1944. Jagdgeschwader 11 was a German fighter wing operating under Luftflotte 3 (Air Fleet 3) - one of the primary divisions of the German Luftwaffe in World War II. On August the 17th 1944, Luftflotte 3 was ordered to withdraw to Reims after concentrating most of its efforts on attempting to hamper Allied tanks pushing on towards Paris. By August the 30th 1944 Reims was liberated by allied ground forces and almost immediately, the United States Army Air Forces IX Engineer Command 850th Engineer Aviation Battalion cleared Reims airport of mines and destroyed Luftwaffe aircraft.
It is not known exactly when w/n 173056 was retrieved from Reims however in 2000 Don Hansen of Louisiana USA and his engineering firm PAI Aero commenced the restoration project. Major components were supplied by Flug Werk of Germany while the engine is a 1900HP Russian Ash 82T. An original BMW801D engine was available at the time however it was deemed too complex and unreliable in comparison to the Ash 82T. After a ten and a half year restoration Fw 190A-8, w/n 173056 took to the air on October 9th, 2011.
From 2011 to 2014 the aircraft completed its test flight regime at the hands of experienced test pilot Klaus Plasa. In late 2014 the aircraft was purchased by Raptor Aviation P/L of Australia and in July, 2015 the aircraft arrived in Albury NSW where it was re-assembled by Hazair P/L and once again test flown by Klaus Plasa.
The Fw190 is painted in the scheme of “Red 1” flown by German Luftwaffe Ace and recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross, Hans Dortenmann. Hans Dortenmann was credited with 38 victories in some 150 combat missions, with 16 victories over the Eastern Front and 22 over the Western Front. He recorded 18 victories with the Fw 190 D-9, the most successful fighter pilot with this type.
The aircraft will be based in Albury for the foreseeable future while Hazair P/L and the owner become familiar with the equipment. In due course the cockpit will be returned to its original condition including all original German instruments. The Fw-190 will visit various airshows around the country for warbird enthusiasts to enjoy this important piece of history.