Hawker Hind L7181

Hawker Hind Hawker Hind

Hawker Hind (G-CBLK), L7181, manufacturer's serial number 41.H82971, is an Afghanistan Air Force survivor. It was constructed in 1937 and originally issued to (5 Gp.) 211 Squadron based initially at RAF Grantham, the squadron moved to RAF Helwan, Egypt in the spring of 1938 and the Hinds being shipped to Aboukir on the 28th of April that year. After service there, the RAF sold L7181 in April 1939 to the Royal Afghanistan Air Force. Little is known about its use in Afghanistan prior to its discovery at Kabul Airport in 1967.

In 1970, the Afghan Government donated four airframes to the Shuttleworth Collection, the RAF Museum and National Aviation Museum of Canada; the whereabouts of the fourth was a mystery, until it was learned that the Canadian museum took two aircraft, to make one out of the two, as they had the last choice of airframes. Both aircraft however, were in similar condition, and thus only one was restored, whilst the fourth remained in storage. This fourth aircraft was acquired by Aero Vintage in 1995, and its restoration has now commenced, with the work on the engine being prioritised. At present the unrestored fuselage, on its undercarriage, is on display at the Imperial War Museum Duxford, in Hangar 3, alongside the HAC fleet of aircraft.

It is now known that the aircraft's identity is L7181. This was shown following the removal of the clip on one of the interplane struts, which had for years been hiding the RAF serial number. During the recovery process from Afghanistan, all the data plates were removed from the aircraft for safekeeping by a member of the recovery team. After some hunting the original data plate has now been reunited with the aircraft, which confirmed its identity as L7181. The Kestrel V engine for the aeroplane was missing, but an unused Kestrel V was obtained from a museum in Holland.

Some work has commenced on the aircraft, but lack of time and opportunity has put this temporarily on hold.

Hawker Hind
Wing Span :
37ft 3in (11.35m).
Length :
29ft 7in (9.02m).
Height :
10ft 7in (3.23m).
Power-plant :
Rolls-Royce Kestrel V 640hp.
Weight :
5298 lb (2403kg) loaded.
Maximum Speed :
184mph (298km/h).
Service Ceiling :
26,400ft (8045m).
Range :
430m (692km).
Armament :
1x 0.303in (7.7mm) Lewis machine gun in the rear cockpit.
Bomb load :
Up to 510 lb weight of bombs under wing, on racks.