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OY-ALW Miles M.28 Mercury 6 c/n 6268 - Hoogeveen airfield in Holland - 1 July 2018 Hoogeveen airfield (EHHO)

The Miles M.28 Mercury 6 is a single-engine; low-wing; four-seater aircraft with retractable tailwheel undercarriage, built and developed by Miles Aircaft Ltd. in the UK. In 1939, Frederic George Miles, technical director and chief designer of Phillips and Powis Aircraft (Reading) Ltd. original designed the M.28 as a replacement for the Miles M.11 Whitney Straight and Miles M.17 Monarch, but this project was shelved when war broke out. In 1941 Rolls-Royce sold its shares in Phillips and Powis Aircraft Ltd. to Frederick George Miles who became chairman as well as managing director; his wife and brother also became directors and in 1943, the firm became Miles Aircraft Ltd. and George Herbert Miles became chief engineer and chief designer. In 1941, the M.28 project was picked up again and focused on the need for a single-engined training and communications plane. The design was produced as a private venture by Ray Bournon using Miles' normal wooden construction. The resulting machine was a single-engined; low-wing side by side two-seat cabin monoplane with a retractable tailwheel undercarriage: construction of the fuselage was all wood with plywood covering; the wings were low-cantilever monoplane units tapering slightly and of all-wood construction fitted with Miles low-drag auxiliary aerofoil flaps between ailerons and fuselage and hinged air-brakes under the fuselage, the ailerons drooping when the flaps were extended; the tail unit was of the cantilever monoplane type with twin fins and rudders.
No production M.28s materialised, but six prototypes for different roles were built, marked as Miles M.28 Mark I; II; III; IV; V and VI. All these M28 airframes had similar features and were designed to take any motor of about 150 hp.
- Miles M.28 Mark I - the first prototype was designed and built at the Miles Experimental Department in a small sub-factory at Liverpool Road, Reading, and was flown first at nearby Woodley Aerodrome, Reading, on 11 July 1941. This prototype used Class B registration U-0232 for flight tests. The aircraft was a two seat trainer with a single 130 hp de Havilland Gipsy Major I engine; used double wheel steering and had a wide glazed cabin but no rear windows. In 1942, the M.28 Mark I was broken up and the hull with rear unit remained and were fitted with a new wing and fixed undercarriage to become the M.38 Messenger, and was flown first as the M.38 Messenger prototype on 12 September 1942.
- Miles M.28 Mark II - this three seat trainer (with dual controls); powered by 140 hp de Havilland Gipsy Major IIA was designed and built at the Miles Experimental Department at Liverpool Road, Reading, and flown first at nearby Woodley Aerodrome, Reading, on 13 September 1942. This prototype (s/n HM583) used Class B registration U-0237 for flight tests. The type was recorded as M.28B and delivered to the Royal Air Force (Army / Navy Inc) as HM583 for evaluation fitted with a variety of DH Gipsy Major engines; then a 140hp Blackburn Cirrus Major II and 1946 with a 150 hp Cirrus Major III. After being sold by military disposals postwar, it became a civil M.28 Mercury and was registered G-AJVX in 1947. After registration G-AJVX was cancelled in 1950, the aircraft was registered VH-BBK in Australia. On 30 November 1950, the VH-BBK departed Lympne, England, on delivery flight to Australia and arrived Perth, WA at the end of the 64 day delivery flight. In 1955, the M.28 was re-registered VH-KCH. On 20 November 1958, registration VH-KCH was cancelled as 'reduced to spares'.
- Miles M.28 Mark III - a three seat trainer with triple controls for two students and one instructor, powered by an 150 hp Blackburn Cirrus Major III. The Miles M.28 Mark III was built in 1943 by order of the Ministry of Aircraft Production, one of the specialised supply ministries set up by the British Government during World War II for Evaluation as trainer with triple control. The aircraft had with revised wing section; a fixed pitch propeller; control over Joystick and square back window. This prototype (s/n 4684) used Class B registration U-0242 for flight tests, and was re-serialed PW937 when tested by the Royal Air Force (Army / Navy Inc). On 9 December 1946, the aircraft was registered G-AISH with Miles Aircraft and on 23 Ferbuary 1948, registration G-AISH was cancelled and the aircraft was scrapped.
- Miles M.28 Mark IV - a four seat light transport aircraft with oval rear window on each side of the cabin; powered by a 145 hp de Havilland Gipsy Major IIA, driving a constant speed propeller. This prototype (s/n 4685) was designed and built by Miles Experimental Department sub-factory, Liverpool Road, Woodley, and flown first at nearby Woodley Aerodrome, Reading, on 10 July 1944. This prototype (s/n 4685) used Class B registration U-0242 for flight tests. Originally intended for use by RAF Air Transport Auxilliary. Painted in PR blue with red & blue roundels. In 1945, registered G-AVGX; in 1947 HB-EED and in 1948 restored to the register as G-AVGX. In 1953, registered as VH-AKH in Australia and in 1955 re-registered VH-AKC. On 31 December 1963, registration VH-AKC was cancelled as the Certificate of Airworthiness was permanently withdrawn due to DCA policy and the aircraft was stored in a hangar at Archerfield Aerodrome, Brisbane, Queensland. Its fate is not known.
- Miles M.28 Mark V - Post-war four-seater powered by Cirrus Major III. Square rear windows. This prototype (s/n 6697) was registered G-AJFE with Miles Aircraft on 7 March 1947. Registered HB-EEF in Switzerland in June 1951 and restored as G-AJFE on 9 November 1954. Broken up after it was substantial damaged in an emergy landing at West Hyde on 13 March 1955.
- Miles M.28 Mark VI - Post war four-seater powered by Cirrus Major III. Round rear windows. On 26 January 1946, the Miles M.28 Mercury mk.VI prototype (s/n 6268) was registered G-AHAA in the UK with Miles Aircraft Ltd., Reading. On 24 May 1946, the G-AHAA was registered with British Overseas Airways Corporation (British European Airways Division), Northolt. In the period 1946-49, the registered owners changed a number of times: the aircraft was that years used by BEAC among others as the personnel aircraft of Sir Harold Hartley, the Chairman of BOAC / BEAC. From 31 July 1946 untill 1 July 1947, the G-AHAA was registered with Sir Harold Hartley, London; from 19 July 1947 untill 1 January 1948, with British European Airways Flying Club at White Waltham, and from 27 January 1948 untill 8 March 1949, with British European Airways Corporation. From 31 March 1948 untill 1 January 1952, the aircraft was registered with K.E.Millard and Co. Ltd., Wolverhampton and based at Pendeford airfield. From 4 January 1952 untill 3 November 1954, the G-AHAA was registered with Adie Aviation Ltd., a small air charter and maintenance company at Croydon Airport. On 18 November 1954, the G-AHAA was registered with F.G.Miles Ltd., a maintenance company of the former owners of Miles Aircraft at Shoreham aerodrome. On 31 August 1956, registration G-AHAA was cancelled as exported to Germany. In September 1956, the aircraft was registered D-EHAB in Germany with Hans Kublbeck, Augsburg. In 1968, the D-EHAB was registered with Heinz Kirchner, Frankfurt. In September 1976, the Miles M.28 Mercury 6 was exported to Denmark. In April 1978, after years of restauration, the aircraft was flying again, this time as OY-ALW. The OY-ALW became part of the Dansk Veteranflysamlung, Skjern. On 8 March 2003, the OY-ALW was registered with Hans Magnus Kolby Hansen, c/o HansenGroup, Lem. Since, the Miles was flying every summer, in and out a privat 415 mtr farmstrip in Denmark; the rest of the year it was in hangarage at Stauning Airport Denmark untill it was sold in 2018. On 1 July 2018, the Miles M.28 Mercury 6 OY-ALW was flown to its new home in the UK.

On 1 July 2018, the 1946-built Miles M.28 Mercury 6 OY-ALW was seen at Hoogeveen airfield (EHHO), while on delivery to the UK. The OY-ALW is the only remaining fly-worthy Miles M.28 Mercury aeroplane worldwide.

page last updated: 01-07-2018
Copyright © Jack Wolbrink, Emmen, the Netherlands

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