As the title suggests my next project is to build a photo reconnaissance spitfire. The club was gifted a spitfire kit at a previous AGM and as the weather gets worse I have cleared my building board to start the build. I will document the build on the forum as the aircraft will belong to the club. There is an interesting history behind the person who originally bought the kit but was unable to complete it. He was in fact a photo reconnaissance pilot during world war two and flew some very interesting sorties. I have done some research into his past and will include this in parallel with the build log. I am fascinated by aviation and in particular the events of WW2 so I hope you find this as interesting as I do. Certainly building a model with a real history behind it is a first for me. The first photo is of a box but I think is the correct place to start!
Out of interest my dad was also attached to photo reconnaissance in the War. During the Seven years, he was stationed at Gosport, opposite Portsmouth. Not many people are aware there was a big Royal Airforce base there and lots of the aircraft were fitted with aerial cameras. His job was to load the cameras and on return of the aircraft, to process the film images.
The building board has been cleared and the plans laid out, along with an enthusiastic helper. The kit is quite old, but it is nice to open a box and find all the pieces wrapped in paper and secured with rubber bands. I have built my last few models from scratch so it is a real pleasure to lay out the pre cut pieces to get an impression of the Spitfire. I have started with the tail plane and fin although no glue has been used I have identified the pieces in preparation for gluing. Already you can see the elliptical nature of the tail plane which makes the Spitfire so iconic.
Madeira Airport is indeed a tricky place to land. The runway is built into the side of a hill and has been extended on stilts over the sea. With any wind over 5kts, vortices form over the runway and with valleys heading inland at each end of the runway they cause severe and sudden crosswinds so it all adds up to a real handful. The approach to RWY05 is curved and you only line up with the runway at 400'. The tower are constantly reporting the wind readouts from four different anemometers and each one has to be within certain limits that are all different. The First Officer has a very busy time checking all this as you come in to land. Taking off is far simpler. You just select full power and belt off down the runway, turning right as soon as the wheels leave the tarmac. Then you engage the autopilot and think about your next cup of tea!
Back to the build: the tail plane has been glued together and the elevators completed. Just sanding to profile left to do.
I have sorted out the fuselage formers and longerons: again dry fitting some of the formers to test the fit and get an idea of the construction order and method. So far the pieces have been very accurately made and fit together extremely well. I am also amazed at how quickly a kit can be put together. The fuselage is constructed in two halves over the plans then the two halves are glued together, all standard stuff. One of the major decisions is the power plant. I must admit I am keen on making it an electric model. I have a 350W motor spare but guess that it may be too small. I also have a .53 two stroke that is brand new and going spare so either option is possible. As it is a club model I would welcome any suggestions or if anyone has spare accessories that are unwanted they let me know. So electric or glow?