Bellamy Pfalz D.III
20th Century Fox purchased the film rights of Jack D Hunter’s “The Blue Max” and the film was to be a multi-million dollar production, and the stars were to be the full sized reproductions of World War I fighters constructed for the film- two Pfalz D.III biplanes, two Fokker Dr.I triplanes, two S.E.5a scouts and three Fokker D.VII biplanes.
The reproductions had to be built in a hurry to meet the time frame for shooting and were constructed in different locations.One Pfalz D.III reproduction each was constructed by Personal Plane Services (G-ATIF, ZK-FLZ) and the other by the Hampshire Aero Club (reported as G-ATIJ and G-ATIG).
The availability of these aircraft would see them appearing in more movies. “Darling Lili” of 1970 was a vehicle for Rock Hudson and Julie Andrews. A musical comedy, the building of six S.E.5a reproductions added to the Allies squadron. These were based on the Currie Wot airframe and were referred to as Minis due to their not being full size reproductions. Appearances in “You Can’t Win them All”, “Von Richtofen and Brown” (aka “The Red Baron”), and “Zeppelin”, followed. The latter two movies saw fatal crashes and the aircraft were soon after dispersed to private collections.
One of two produced for the movie 'The Blue Max' in 1965, c/n PT16 ex EI-ARD, G-ATIJ, N905AC, ZK-JPI, was built by Viv Bellamy of the Hampshire Aero Club in England from drawings by Ray Hillborne. The aircraft was presented in a spurious seven colour lozenge paint scheme for the filming. After spending some time in Ireland, the aircraft was later sold to Frank Ryder and operated from the a museum in Alabama. In the mid-1980's many of the 'Blue Max' aircraft were purchased by the 'Fighting Air Command' and moved to Hartlee Field near Denton, Tx. At that time the aircraft was was presented in a black fuselage and purple wings and was no longer airworthy. The aircraft was acquired by the Omaka Fighter Collection and imported into New Zealand in September 1999. The collection is managed by the 14-18 Aviation Heritage Trust, which is chaired by Peter Jackson.
Both of the Pfalz replicas and one Fokker D.VII now belong to New Zealand film director Peter Jackson's 1914–18 Trust, with the Viv Bellamy-designed Pfalz being on display at the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre in New Zealand. All three aircraft are kept in fully airworthy condition.