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There is one MiG-21F-13 in Budapest or OK not strictly in Budapest but at the Budaors airfield which was the big international airport of the capital city in the 1950’s. It is just few bus stops with public transport from the city, access is very easy!

The airframe has no engine and it is set on concrete blocks slightly pointing to the sky. It is a historic airframe in many way but what is more important it has served its share of flight time and was put on display here after retirement. Unlikely many “comrades” which sustained some sort of damage during flights and as such were deemed good only for gate guard duties.

 

I often passed this airframe and many times came out to do some measurements of different details, do some photography of it. Every time it was evident that the state of the airframe is deteriorating and someone should do something about it. The aircraft is part of the airfield and as such is Everyone’s property but also No-ones problem so . . .  

 

It was time to do something! Two weeks ago I had an idea. What if I or We would be the ONE’s who do something about it. Quick visit to the airfield and spoke to the man in charge and asked him if it would be possible to do something with the aircraft to make it look better and more worthy of its history. He said why not.

 

So there was no point in waiting for anything, let’s do it! This is not rocket science just a wash of that bird. Let’s get on with it at the first opportunity!!!  : )  : )   : )

 

I asked some friends who in the past participated in similar events only then it was organized by the air force museum. Some said yes and since here we are speaking about just one aircraft, there is a limit of how many of us can get around it to do meaningful work without getting in the way of others.

 

Basically there was just one week to organize everything, borrowed some ladders from the Li-2 people at the airfield, the base owners provided water and electricity, Hungarian weather provided a rain free day (arranging this was not so difficult in view of current heat wave in Europe), took some cleaning stuff from home just as others did. All we needed is a hunger to do a bit of work on this aircraft, and this part of the story was provided by participants with lots of enthusiasm. Some people drove a great distance from far corners of the country to be here!   

 

Basically this was a “Working Bee” event or for those on the other side of the Iron Curtain a Communist Saturday or commonly known as “Subotnik”. In the past it was more a requirement by the employer company, the state, the party or who-ever, for us it was purely a wish to do something good and valuable!

 

Here are some images of what we are up against  with this aircraft at the start of it all.

 

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More soon.

 

Best regards

Gabor

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Wow, she really suffered;  being outside all those years in the rain and the burning Hungarian sun! 

 

Nice to know she is in good hands now 🙂 

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In preparing for the “event” I had a look in my own collection/museum for some things which could be used. It was obvious that hundreds of screws are missing from different panels on the aircraft. Most of them are of different length and diameter which complicates the matter a little but it is possible to do something. Several boxes of mixed airframe panel screws, the type used on MiG fighters were found and prepared to be taken to the “Subotnik” to see what we can use out of them.

 

fsLiSnl.jpg

 

I also looked in my “raw material section” for special rust free steel to make a replica of the IFF antenna on top of the fin. The original antenna was missing and the top surface is also damaged but this problem is beyond our means at the moment. At least the iconic antenna should be replaced!

 

It is purely by accident (not really) that I have an original antenna of this type. Have to add that even though they look the same for the onlooker with the 3 Odd Rods in reality there are many versions of it and there is one specific type for the fin top on MiG-21’s. Even if I have the original antenna I was not prepared to part with it for this project (will never see it again), but it was fairly easy to make an exact size copy of it from the stainless steel dug out from my stash. The three “rods” were welded to the appropriately sized and drilled base plate. Stainless steel will not rust with time and looks perfectly OK on top of the fin.

 

xpGRu9d.jpg

 

Best regards

Gabor

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  • 4 weeks later...

Work is continuing on the one/one scale MiG-21F-13. Have to admit that since the August date when a complete wash was made of the fuselage, little visible new progress was made, although in the background a lot of work and preparation continued. The weather holding this Saturday it was a perfect opportunity to go back to the aircraft and do a little measuring, drawing, fitting and testing of new parts.

 

There should be a big antenna on top of the after cockpit glass cover. It has been missing for ages, which resulted in millions of bee’s invading that area as well as rain and snow getting in, which is not a good thing. Made a temporary aluminium cover, where the antenna should be. Fortunately had exactly the same glass fibre antenna base here at home so making a template for the cover was easy.

 

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Of course (unfortunately) all navigation lights are long gone but replacement units will be made and fitted to the aircraft. (The tail light was far too high for anyone to get it.)   : )   : )   Using one original, it was possible to test the fit, now the manufacturing will begin of new nav. lights.

 

xceDiqN.jpg

 

National markings and aircraft numbers are fortunately in pretty good condition so it was no problem placing tracing paper over them to copy the exact dimensions and shape. Painting templates will be made from this in time. It is interesting that three different types of aircraft numbers were used over its lifespan, fortunately it is possible to trace all three of them. Also many stencils were copied on tracing paper to get the exact font and size of letters used originally in the paint shop. But this is only for a long term project.

 

yiMmy3Z.jpg

 

One of the most problematic missing parts is the underbelly fuel pylon. Now this will be hard to crack but we try.  : )    : )

 

In the mean time I wrote an article about the work carried out on this aircraft for our monthly Hungarian aviation publication AeroMagazin.

 

PwCoftz.jpg

 

vxllY72.jpg

 

Best regards

Gabor  

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Hats off to you and your crew. 

I wish more here in the US would show interest in preserving more of the display aircraft that have been scattered around the country. If they're not inside a proper museum, they're often left to rot away and vandalize. 

Great work!

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Hi Mario & Storm,

 

Thanks for the kind words! We try our best and have a lot of fun in doing it!  : )  : )

 

Unfortunately here the souvenir collectors over past decades also worked hard, but also the weather!  The MiG-21 is inside airfield perimiters but this does not help much. Still we do our work with lots of enthusiasm and hope that visitors to the airfield will like the end result.

 

I believe it is up to local aviation fans (where ever around the world) to get together and do something like this and try to preserv aircraft for everyone to see in the best possible way.

 

Best regards

Gabor

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