DH9: From Ruin to Restoration

The Extraordinary Story of the Discovery in India and Return to Flight of a Rare WWI Bomber

Guy Black

In 2000, aircraft restorer Guy Black of Aero Vintage located the hulks of at least two Airco DH9 bombers in a remote part of India. Here the whole intriguing story is told - fully illustrated step-by-step - from discovery to recovery, through to research, restoration, re-construction and first flight, all in fascinating, meticulous detail.
Date Published :
November 2019
Publisher :
Grub Street Publishing
Illustration :
illustrated in full color throughout
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Hardback
ISBN : 9781908117335
Pages : 192
Dimensions : 9 X 6 inches
Stock Status : In stock
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In 2000, upon hearing rumors of aircraft parts being found in a maharaja’s palace in India, Guy Black took a trip that would lead to the most unexpected discovery of his life. Hidden away in a former elephant stable of the maharaja’s palace in Bikaner, Rajasthan was the hulks of at least two DH9 bombers. This was a truly remarkable and important find for no example of this WWI aircraft existed in Britain. Recognizing their importance to the UK’s aviation heritage, and excited by the challenge of restoration, Guy set about negotiating their purchase and returning them back to England.

In DH9: From Ruin to Restoration, Guy Black details the intriguing history of how these two rare aircraft (D-5649 and E-8894) came to be in India under the Imperial Gift Scheme. He also reveals the extraordinary efforts in recovering these two aircraft and the extensive restoration project undertaken to bring them to their former glory. With D-5649 restored as a static and proudly on display at IWM Duxford, he then set about getting E-8894 back to airworthy status.

The book then moves on to the highly anticipated flight of E-8894 and the years of frustration that followed until its maiden flight with ‘Dodge’ Bailey at the controls on 13th May 2019 – making it the only WWI bomber flying anywhere in the world. Told in meticulous detail, this fully illustrated book includes a foreword by Andy Saunders and is a must-have of all WWI and aircraft enthusiasts.

About The Author

Guy Black is the owner of Retrotec Ltd, an aircraft restoration company. His interest in restoration came after serving an apprenticeship with Weslake & Co.; a company world famous for their expertise in piston-engine technology. After initially setting up a company dedicated to restoring historic racing cars, Guy – alongside Angus Spencer-Nairn – began collecting historic military aircraft. This collection became Historic Aircraft Collection Ltd and is now one of the largest private collection of military aircraft in Europe today. Some of the aircraft that Guy and Retrotec have restored in the past years are displayed in museums worldwide including the RAF Museum, Imperial War Museum, the USAAF Museum and the National Aviation Museum in Canada.


"The most comprehensive work to date on the DH9, this book is recommended for warbird buffs, restorers, and World War I air war historians."

- Air Power History

"...a tour-de-force book on aircraft restoration and is recommended highly."

- Over the Front

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