An SE5a that was first built over 30 years has now residing at Shuttleworth in anticipation of displaying during the 2019 season.
The privately owned SE5a was first built during the late 1980’s by John Tetley, in his workshop at home in Yorkshire, as an authentic reconstruction of the SE5a flown by Hank Burden in 1917-18 in No. 56 Squadron.
In the early 2000’s the airframe was moved to the French Memorial Flight at Le Bourget, to complete the build with their own Hispano Engine. As part of the deal they were permitted to fly the aircraft for 10 years, at which time it would return home to John.
In 2014 it was purchased from John, and re-fitted with a 1918 Wright Martin Hispano Suiza engine, a late Model I engine uprated to the 180hp dry sump Model E – the type that would have powered the original aircraft – by Guy Black’s engine team at Retrotec. The carburettor was rebuilt by Vintec, and Hercules Propellors reproduced a perfect copy of an original Hispano Suiza 180hp propellor, finished in Burden’s colours.
Michael Souch’s team at Aero Antique undertook the meticulous inspection, checking and renovation of the airframe. The undercarriage was rebuilt as to Hank Burden’s notes, and control wires replaced and spliced as original. The linen fabric was re-finished in a darker, more original, shade of PC 10. Reference to the Shuttleworth SE5a helped with maintaining period originality.
The aircraft is as authentic as possible in every respect, incorporating many original parts and components including an original fuel tank, Lewis gun and magazine, the control column ring, the Aldis sight, and all instruments. The wheels and tyres were sourced from TVAL in New Zealand, and the dry-sump oil tank copied rivet by rivet from an original period SE5a tank.
The aircraft is based, at Shuttleworth for 2019 – expect to see it displayed during the upcoming season.