MH434 News

 The Battle for Malta - BBC2 and BBC HD

3rd January 2013

Monday 7th January will see James Holland's documentary 'The Battle of Malta' go out on BBC2 and the BBC HD Channel at 2030 GMT. MH434 features in the production which presents a fresh analysis of the World War Two battle for the tiny Mediterranean island of Malta.

In this documentary, Holland argues that the real importance of Malta's position was its offensive role, which has been largely undervalued.

Caught in the crosshairs of a massive struggle between Britain and Germany to control the shipping waters of the Mediterranean, by 1942 Malta had become the most bombed place on Earth. Whilst the level of brutal attacks may seem out of all proportion to the islands size it actually only serves to underline its importance - for Malta held the key to the entire war in the Mediterranean and North Africa.

Click Here for a full synopsis of the programme.

 MH434 at the Malta International Airshow 2012

5th October 2012 - By Sarah Hanna

Paul Bonhomme returned '434 to Duxford on Tuesday 2nd October, after an epic journey to Malta for the 70th anniversary of the Island being awarded the George Cross.

The trip had involved an enormous amount of planning, but once all of the technical aspects had been taken care of, the main intention was to enjoy the experience from beginning to end.. The aeroplane was flown down via Valence, Figari and Palermo, arriving 2 days after it left it's home, straight into a press conference for the Airshow. Thursday was spent going over the aircraft - OFMC chief engineer TIm Fane had flown out to be 'support' for the duration.

On Friday, Paul was allowed to display over the Grand Harbour. Standing on the Saluting Battery, watching him sweep in to the historic arena, then display 434 so beautifully for a mesmerising few minutes, was an experience of a life time. Luckily for us all, Paul Johnson was on hand to take some amazing pictures.

The air display over the weekend looked as though it might be pressured by the Red Arrows being unable to attend at the last moment, but happily, the crowd was larger than last year's and the general consensus was that the Spitfire being there, particularly when it flew with the Air Malta airbus, was a triumph.

A fairly full social agenda was involved too - including the British High Commission for drinks, a reception given by the Head of the Armed Forces, Malta, and various other 'must attend' functions connected to the air show. Everywhere we went the warmth we were greeted with was wonderful, although we would probably single out the Malta Aviation Museum for their immense generosity and thoughtfulness.

A big thanks to Ian Sheeley at TSA for putting us forward for the opportunity, and to Joe Ciliberti, President of the Malta Aviation Society, along with his team, for the hospitality, help and support we were given. A big thanks too for the Armed forces of Malta for hangaring the aeroplane so beautifully and helping out with the requisite manpower where needed.

All of us at OFMC are hugely proud of the success of the trip, and being allowed to participate in such a wonderful occasion.

 MH434 on 'Heroes of the Sky'

25th September 2012

MH434 will be featuring in a new Channel 5 series 'Heroes of the Sky.' Presented by Lord Ashcroft, Heroes Of The Skies is an ambitious, ground-breaking programme that tells the stories of some of the most heroic airborne combat missions from history.

 MH434 flies with the Jetman

17th September 2012

As part of a celebration of Aviation, Yves “Jetman” Rossy took to the skies with fellow “Breitling Flyer” pilot, Nigel Lamb in the renowned MH434 Spitfire. In this unique close-formation flight, the iconic aircraft offered a stark contrast to the futuristic Jetwing, the cutting edge of Swiss innovation.

’434 had been invited by Toni Küpfer, former president of Bex Aeroclub to display at the airfield’s annual ‘fly-in’ where the aircraft has been a favorite participant since its first appearance in 1976.

Bex aerodrome, near Geneva is also the home base of the pioneering aviator Yves Rossy and serves as a perfect development area for his famous Jetman project.

Yves comments:
“To take this occasion to fly in formation with this wonderful machine is an incredible experience. We were very fortunate to have the assistance of the TBM Avenger to act as a camership and I would really like to thank everyone involved, at Bex, Old Flying Machine Company and Breitling to help make this happen.

Since my technology is getting more and more reliable I am very confident about these types of flights. I can relax and enjoy such a fantastic experience. Under my wing I am free, I have the perfect view!”

For Yves Rossy, this is the latest in the series of formation flights, having most recently reenacted a ‘superman’ flight flying alongside a DC3 aircraft to the delight of the 20 passengers onboard.

 MH434 to participate at the Malta International Airshow

1st September 2012

Paul Bonhomme will be flying ’434 down to Malta the week starting 24th September for the airshow celebrating the 70th anniversary of the siege.

Arranged with the help of the British air display organisers, TSA, we are due to display on both days of the airshow, which various luminaries of the Island are set to attend, including the President and Prime Minister. The Red Arrows will also be participating and it is hoped that ’434 will be able to lead them in formation on both days.

It is particularly apt for MH434 to have been chosen to fly at Malta in this anniversary year, as the Malta Aviation Museum houses a Hurricane there that was flown by Pat Lardner Burke in 1941. Pat, of course, was the principle pilot associated with MH434 during its RAF service, and it currently bears his markings - including the kills he scored over Malta during those incredibly hard times.

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