Fiat G.46-1B

Fiat G

NC.32/I-AEHE/BAPC.79 – c/n MM52799

At the H.A.M. from Mid-1971 to May 1983*

It would appear that by the standards of the time, the B.H.A.M. had developed quite a knack for locating and acquiring rare birds including this Fiat G.46 trainer. She was initially delivered to the Ministero di Fesa Aeronautica in 1959 and was then quickly passed to the Italian Air Force where she would go on to serve for 10 years. She was finally placed into storage during 1969 and would remain there for around a year before being somewhat graciously presented as a gift to the H.A.M. for its collection. However, because the aircraft required some attention and was not at the time airworthy, she had to be flown into Northolt by the Italian Air Force in one of their C-118 Liftmaster transport aircraft. .

It would be some time before the Fiat was delivered to the museum however, being as the Italian Air Force had in the meantime been made aware of Tony Osborne’s involvement with the Biafrans during the conflict and his attempts to procure aircraft for them. With this aircraft needing just a small amount of work to make her airworthy again, it was decided instead to road the aircraft to Shorham where she would for the time being remain in storage. Indeed, it would seem that this aircraft did not actually become part of the museum’s collection until mid-1971 (after the Budge Bros. takeover) after which she was painted in an all silver colour scheme without serial numbers or a registration and initially put on display within the newly built hanger, although by 1974 she had been relegated to the museum compound.

With the museum’s closure came her would be saviour in the form of Visionair who also purchased the H.A.M.’s Mitchell, although by the end of 1983, ownership had been passed on to the British Air Reserve who left her to languish on the former museum site until 1985. In 1991 she was sold on again, this time to the Aircraft Restoration Company at Duxford where she would again find herself being restored to museum exhibit standards. Then in 1994, she disappeared abroad to France where she would stay until 2002, finally returning once more to the U.K. in a partially dismantled state and with a number of vital, internal parts missing. As of 2015, she was undergoing a thorough restoration which will hopefully see her being returned to the air under the ward and stewardship of Phil Earthy of Norwich.

With thanks to Tony Avis for providing extra information for this page.

 

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