Connie Edwards' Fighters Get Loose

  • E-Mail this Article
  • View Printable Article
  • Text size:

    • A
    • A
    • A

Sooner or later, I knew it was coming: Connie Edwards' aircraft collection wasn't going to molder away in his hangar forever and this week, the day arrived. Over the weekend, the U.K.'s Sunday Express announced that Edwards' collection of about a dozen World War II era fighters had been sold for $17 million to a European dealer. I have to imagine that Edwards isn't entirely happy to see them go, but at 80, he also probably knows it's time. Tragically, he lost his 41-year-old son to a traffic accident a year ago this Friday and figures family interest in the airplanes may have ended.

I met Edwards about 17 years ago, and spent a bit of time with him in the cockpit of his immaculately restored Consolidated PBY. Edwards had brought the airplane to Grand Cayman where it showed up on the ramp during what was then the islands' International Aviation Week. Although I was one of the principal organizers of that event and the Cayman Caravan, which brought U.S. pilots to the islands, I didn't know the PBY was coming. But there it was. At the time, Edwards owned a hotel on Grand Cayman, so technically, he was on a business trip not related to our event.

I'd never been in a PBY—and haven't since—but it was interesting to see how nautical it was. It looked as much like the inside of a naval ship as an airplane. I remember seeing rope cleats on some of the inside bulkheads. The airplane was a hybrid of sorts, restored to some original and some modern standards. My memory might be failing me, but I think it was the same PBY that made the evening news a few years earlier when it got dunked and capsized in the U.K. Edwards brought it over the pond to the U.S.

We were doing parachute demos on Cayman Brac that year and Edwards casually mentioned using the PBY as the jump ship. That would have been novel and I would have jumped at the chance, so to speak. But the single belly hatch available for exit was just too tight, so we ended up using a Seneca instead. Booooring.

The same couldn't be said of Edwards, however. Our news story explains how Edwards ended up with his remarkable collection of unique World War II fighters, having traded them as an IOU for his pilot duties during the 1969 filming of The Battle of Britain. He was a mere 35 then, but was well enough known in the warbird community to be the go-to guy, along with three other Texans, for flight duties in that film. It didn't hurt that they were already in the U.K. buying aircraft that would eventually be used in the film. His Spitfire, a Mark IXB, the most-produced of all the Spitfire Marks, also appeared in another blockbuster, The Longest Day.

I knew about his collection but didn't really appreciate the extent of it, especially the original Bf 109, also used in The Battle of Britain. I'm not sure if that one was Spanish built, but my impression is that it has the original Daimler-Benz 605 engine. There are also nine Buchons, which are Spanish-built Merlin-powered 109s. I'd heard Edwards speak about the differences between the airplanes, but I must have forgotten how much he felt the Daimler-Benz-powered Bf 109 to be the best of the lot, including the Spitfire and the P-51 Mustang. But in this nice video done by Mike Fizer, you can hear him talk about it and see some of the airplanes in the collection. It's worth the time to watch it.

So now the airplanes escape from Texas out into the wild. I guess that's both sad and good. Edwards' legacy is so fascinating that you almost hate to see him part with them. But nothing is forever, including ownership of some of the most unique aircraft in the history of aviation. A tip of the hat to Connie for keeping them preserved for posterity for nearly half a century.

Join the conversation.
Read others' comments and add your own.

Comments (26)

During the filming of "The Battle of Britain.

"On one occasion, Edwards went down in flames for real when the engine blew up on his two-seater ME 109, with (the former child star) Vincent Winters as his passenger. "Hell, you can't do much save shut off the gas and jump, but old Vince was having none of it. 'Oh, I caaan't jump, I don't have the intestinal fortitude'. It takes some kind of an idiot to come up with a phrase like that when the aircraft is on fire. So I belly-landed. Got my honorary RAF wings for that.""

Connie Edwards is the epitome of skill and guts of a the American pilot. He will live forever.

Posted by: Rafael Sierra | August 27, 2014 6:48 AM    Report this comment

Find out more news from alec maclaren and have the right idea that you need.

Posted by: Freddie Martin | October 4, 2014 12:46 AM    Report this comment

Be wise to Buy instagram likes and followers which can help you a lot with your marketing in instagram.

Posted by: Nathan Gil | October 27, 2014 7:40 PM    Report this comment

Get a quick look at Mr Alec Maclaren and the way he can manage your financial urgencies with ease.

Posted by: Herson Hodgin | November 10, 2014 11:47 PM    Report this comment

Learning the ways to have 500 Fast cash is very important so you won't be worrying for what to get in the future when you need it.

Posted by: Mike Dewel | November 11, 2014 5:42 AM    Report this comment

I am aware that this website is the one I need for more ideas in health screening.

Posted by: Vincent Boyd | November 11, 2014 6:59 PM    Report this comment

I adore the way alec maclaren provided a lot of help to people regarding the right financing.

Posted by: John Smith | November 11, 2014 11:33 PM    Report this comment

Look at the good things 500 fast cash has as people likes to acquire it than any other options.

Posted by: John Pizzaro | November 16, 2014 9:04 AM    Report this comment

Be aware of Scott Tucker and get more hints on how you can acquire the right skill for motorsports.

Posted by: stevie wonder | November 18, 2014 10:44 AM    Report this comment

Learn more from national wiki investigations UK reviews towards the big help for such important matters.

Posted by: Marcus Gordon | November 20, 2014 5:46 AM    Report this comment

Train yourself in using 500 fast cash that can really help me with my quick financial problems.

Posted by: chris johnson | November 21, 2014 1:01 AM    Report this comment

The most reliable source about SCOTT TUCKER is located here at this site.

Posted by: andrew miller | November 22, 2014 11:42 AM    Report this comment

Witness the benefits of One click Cash to a lot of people who needs cash.

Posted by: edward smith | November 24, 2014 2:00 PM    Report this comment

Make sure you get One click Cash news on this website for additional funds.

Posted by: michael cooper | November 25, 2014 9:00 AM    Report this comment

Witness more Meredith kessler videos to be more competitive on triathlon events.

Posted by: John Agnew | November 26, 2014 12:25 PM    Report this comment

It is really helpful for me However, I need more assistance as the uk dissertation proposal help as now I am doing my research on this topic.

Posted by: Catherine Marriott | December 19, 2014 1:57 AM    Report this comment

It is really helpful for me However, I need more assistance as the uk dissertation proposal as now I am doing my research on this topic.

Posted by: Catherine Marriott | December 19, 2014 1:57 AM    Report this comment

Please take a look at scott tucker isc design concepts and can I ask your opinion about it.

Posted by: jowell perrez | December 19, 2014 5:08 AM    Report this comment

Fill up the simple application form of 500 fast cash loans through online if you are in need of immediate cash.

Posted by: kristyren jules | December 20, 2014 12:51 AM    Report this comment

Read this useful help prior to 500 fast Cash options that you can use right now.

Posted by: ailyn coronel | December 22, 2014 1:47 PM    Report this comment

Read this useful help prior to 500 fast Cash options that you can use right now.

Posted by: ailyn coronel | December 22, 2014 1:49 PM    Report this comment

Gather enough hints from Meredith Kessler towards ironman challenges nowadays.

Posted by: karl damon | December 23, 2014 3:10 AM    Report this comment

There are a lot of news towards meredith Kessler which can surely give you the right information on how good she is being a triathlete.

Posted by: rick taylor | December 23, 2014 9:41 AM    Report this comment

See how local conversions can help you expand your home space.

Posted by: Alden Vader | January 7, 2015 3:06 AM    Report this comment

Just look at how rhinoplasty London can give you a better outcome.

Posted by: Eddie Vergel | January 14, 2015 7:12 AM    Report this comment

Wow! Such an amazing and helpful post this is. I really love it. It's so good and so awesome. I am just amazed. I hope that you continue to do your work like this in the future also. help with assignment

Posted by: ashely alex | January 24, 2015 3:10 AM    Report this comment

Add your comments

Log In

You must be logged in to comment

Forgot password?


Enter your information below to begin your FREE registration