Owning a genuine airworthy Spitfire would be out of reach for most aviators but nevertheless, there is another option available: You can build your own Spitfire. In fact, General Aviation News has a lengthy article where Mike O’Sullivan, the CEO and founder of Supermarine Aircraft, talks about the kits his company sells which allow would-be fighter pilots to build a 90% scale replica Spitfire.
Mike noted that if you wanted to find an original Spitfire, you might need to pay as much as $300 million but his replicas cost closer to $300,000 and take an average of about 1,200 hours to build. Moreover, all of the prefabricated metal components are pre-cut and pre-drilled using a computer-controlled cutter to ensure uniformity of all parts – making the aircraft easy to assemble.
However, cockpit instrumentation is completely up to the builder who can even opt to install a glass cockpit into their Spitfire but apparently most builders stick to more authentic steam gauges. Likewise, paint is also up to the builder with most choosing a known design that was used during the war.
As for Mike’s aircraft, his is blue and it has an American flag and the name High Lady emblazoned on the side. Apparently, the aircraft pays homage to a Spitfire that was the first one to fly over Berlin on March 6, 1944 right after the first American bombing raid on the city.
Moreover, it may come as a surprise to many World War II buffs that Americans were flying Spitfires during the war. In fact, High Lady flew as part of an American squadron that had 250 Spitfires – all flown by Americans.
If you want to learn more about how you can build your own Spitfire, check out the website of Mike’s company at SuperMarineAircraft.com. Also included on the website are plenty of pictures and videos.