New to me - former covert spy plane back in the UK

Ad: This forum contains affiliate links to products on Amazon and eBay. More information in Terms and rules

buffnut453

Captain
7,956
12,988
Jul 25, 2007
Cambridgeshire, England
Came across this on another forum but Lockheed 12A G-AFTL is back in the UK and just completed an engine test.


View: https://www.facebook.com/UltimateWarbirdFlights/videos/478523674159124

For those who may be unaware, G-AFTL was arguably one of the most important photo recce aircraft of all time. Procured by Sydney Cotton, it was fitted with a covert camera installation and used to capture imagery of Germany's military preparations prior to the outbreak of war in 1939. From mid-May 1939 until late-August 1940, G-AFTL flew numerous covert reconnaissance flights leveraging the extended 1,600 mile range afforded by a pair of internal fuel tanks. She was painted in Camotint, a colour which ultimately became MAP Sky as applied to the undersides of countless Hurricanes and Spitfires during the Battle of Britain.

Some notable achievements included:
  • Photographing the German fleet at Wilhelmshaven...twice. The second sortie took place just 3 days before the outbreak of war.
  • Taking the head of the Luftwaffe, Albert Kesselring himself, up for a joy ride. Kesselring was in the co-pilot's seat while Cotton surreptitiously operated the cameras from the captain's seat to capture imagery of the airfield they were operating from.
  • The last British aircraft to Germany on 24 August 1939, also used as an opportunity to collect more images en route to the aircraft's home base at Heston.

Somehow, G-AFTL survived and spent 78 years in the US. She's now back in the UK and being restored back to her appearance as a covert espionage aircraft, as shown in the photo below:

20190528-152044-Cottonplanejpg.jpg



Here's some more info on G-AFTL's operational usage, including a pic of one of the camera doors beneath the fuselage:

 
Last edited:

Users who are viewing this thread

Back