The flatpack fighter: Build a Spitfire for a mere 130,000

The flatpack fighter: Build a Spitfire for a mere 130,000

12th July 2007
Daily Mail

The distinctive silhouette against the clouds and the spinetingling roar of its engine caused thousands of young British boys to look skywards.

Many dreamed of one day flying a Spitfire, the aircraft credited with helping to win the Battle of Britain against the Luftwaffe.

Now, more than 60 years after its starring role in World War II, anyone with 130,000 in loose change and a double-garage can have their very own version of the iconic fighter plane.

Already 22 of the almost life-size aluminium kits have been snapped up by flying enthusiasts eager to experience the thrill of piloting the world's most famous fighter plane.

Echoes of the past: The new spitfire flies past the White Cliffs of Dover in Kent, as the original did during the Battle of Britain

The 90 per cent scale Supermarine Aircraft Mk 26 Spitfire kits cost 100,000 and need up to 1,200 hours and a further 30,000 to complete.

Powered by a GM V6 engine, the sleek aircraft can fly at speeds of up to 222mph and reach altitudes of 18,000ft.

With 700 hours of construction work already completed, the Australian-built kit is shipped to customers with all major components already formed. They must then spend a further two years fitting together the hundreds of parts.

Businessman and Spitfire fan Kieran Padden, who imports the model Spitfire, says demand for the ultimate boy's toy is on the rise, with four more orders on the books.

Hard graft: Keiran Padden, who imports the model Spitfire

Mr Padden, 62, said: "The aircraft is superb. Everyone who flies it says: "I have got to have one of these.

"It is so easy to fly. Even old Spitfire pilots I have spoken to say it flies just like the original. It's lighter but has the same performance, so it's much more agile.

"These kits appeal to individuals or groups who love the Spitfire and everything it stood for. It is the nearest anyone will get to the original for a tenth of the cost.

"The manufacturers have even recreated the sound. Every time I hear it, the hairs on the back of my neck stand up."

Produced by British firm Vickers-Armstrong, the original Supermarine Spitfires were used by the RAF and Allied forces in World War II.

The streamlined features and thin wing cross-section of the singleseater planes allowed them to fly faster than other contemporary designs, helping Allied pilots to defeat the Luftwaffe.
lone wolf
Hope it handles on the ground better than the original. Spit's narrow undercarriage tended to be a tad unstable. Be great to have a squadron of them. Beautiful airplane.


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