|Why not 100% scale Spitfire
Lately we have had some people ask why we do not build a full size, 100% spitfire. We have been building 80% and 90% Spitfires for around 16 years and we have sold 92 to date, so we know that building a 100% Spitfire is not as easy as one would think.
That extra 10% seems small until you start to do the numbers, real number.
The extra 10% for our 90% Spitfire uses approximately 40% extra material. The undercarriage has to be totally rebuilt and upgraded as do the wheels, brakes and axles to name only a few of the components. Main and wing spars must be re engineered and inline with the original and strong enough to carry the now bigger undercarriage.
Engine – This is where the cost, time and money really goes. As there are no Merlin engines any more we need to build one or convert a small V8 or V12, hot rod it up to get 800-1000hp, that is if you want anything like the real Spitfire performance. Don’t forget 100% is a BIG aircraft.
Performance – Now all our customers are NOT ex military pilots so don’t be fooled into thinking 10% isn’t that much extra, it is a much bigger aircraft in power and weight. This is suddenly a very big dangerous aeroplane compared to our much lighter Spitfire Mk26b and unstressed V6-V8 engine.
Safety – Authorities around the world have realised that a stall speed of 45kts is a generally safe speed to land when things go wrong. It is known that the higher the landing speed in an engine out situation is NOT a good thing and is NOT always survivable. An aircraft with a high stall speed needs to be landing on a prepared runway not an unprepared field as our 90% Spitfire can.
We at Supermarine Aircraft Pty Ltd and all governments want people to fly on weekdays and Saturdays then be able to mow their lawns and enjoy their families on Sunday not be in hospital or worse.
Pilot – As I said the people buying our Mk26b are in the mature age group 40-80 years, yes 80, this is not a misprint. I have been told many, many times they could buy 2 genuine Spitfires – full size, but they do not want the danger of it all going wrong or plain and simply running costs as an engineer would be needed full time and 2-3 people to pull the aircraft in and out of the hangar. Remember now you only get one aircraft in the hangar NOT 2.
Instead of a kit price of $AUD$175,000.00/$USA192,300.00(depending on currency exchange) you are suddenly looking at paying $AUD800,000.00/$USA868,000.00(depending on currency exchange) plus engine $AUD100,000.00/$USA920,000.00(depending on currency exchange) and instruments, paint, etc, etc.
Then the paper war starts.
We at Supermarine Aircraft Pty Ltd spent over 10 years and quite a few million dollars just to get our 80% and 90% worked out, flying and approved by various countries.
I would be out of business if I was to now build a 100% Spitfire as there seems to be very, very few buyers due flying and maintenance costs for such a large aircraft. Our 90% Spitfire is affordable for many, many people and for the more astute flyer wanting a manageable and affordable war bird. Make no mistake our 90% flies like “the real deal” according to test pilots. For me the bottom line is companies need to make sales to stay in business enabling them to supply parts etc., and I don’t think I could if I was to build a 100% Spitfire…………….Well not for long?
Please feel free to comment.