Warbird Obsession

It’s an addiction. Admitting you have it is the first step.

(John M. Dibbs / The Plane Picture Co.)


(John Dibbs Photography / The Plane Picture Co.)

Meant to replace the Heinkel He 51 and the Arado 68, Messerschmitt Bf 109 prototypes were unveiled at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin, and first flew later that year. The E model was the first mass-production model, and saw action throughout World War II. Approximately 35,000 Bf 109s (of all versions) were produced.

In 1944, flying above Hungary, 2nd Lieutenant Mihaly Karatsonyi of the Royal Hungarian Air Force saw American aircraft approaching. “I could see the handwriting on the wall," he told Busha, "and I knew we were going to lose the war as 1,200 brand-new, shiny American-built airplanes flew toward Hungary against the 40 of us in our tired-out old 109s. It was the beginning of the end for us.” The aircraft pictured is owned by Ed Russell of Toronto, Canada.

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