The Bf108 first flew in June 1934. The aircraft was quite advanced for its time - being all metal with retractable undercarriage, and innovative features such as Handley-Page slats. The aircraft was used for a number of record attempts, and one of these record breaking aircraft was named 'Taifun'. The name was subsequently applied to the type.
New Zealand's sole example of the Bf108 is registered as a Noord 1002 Pinguin. However, the aircraft was built in 1943, prior to the manufacturing plant being moved to France (June 1944), and can be considered a real Messerschmitt. During its wartime service, the aircraft was shot down twice. Rebuilt in March 1945, it was given the Noord c/n 103. The Luftwaffe aircraft was surrendered in Belgium in June 1945.
The aircraft entered the civil register as OO-NET. Exported to the USA in 1968, the Bf108 became N108H in 1973. It then passed through a succession of owners in New Hampshire, Colorado, Nevada and Texas before reaching R.L. van Buskirk in Vero Beach Florida. Rebuilt by Piper Aircraft the aircraft received a 300hp Lycoming in place of the original inverted V4 Argus engine. This along with the installation of butane guns, and a Bf108 style paint scheme allowed the aircraft to be employed in film work.
In March 1989, the Bf108 was exported to South Africa. There it was registered ZS-WFI to C. van der Walt of Wonderboom, near Pretoria. Maurice Hayes and Colin Henderson travelled to South Africa to check the aircraft out before importing it to New Zealand in March 1996. They registered the aircraft as ZK-WFI with their company 'Fighter Trainers ltd'. The aircraft is now registered to 'In Touch Travel Limited'.
Last Update:- 6 March, 2002
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© 1998 Phillip Treweek, all rights reserved