BUILDERS CORNER

Builder #9: Rob Hart - email for more information

 

Location: Perth, Western Australia

 

Start date: July 2007

First flight: March 5th 2036

History

Although originally from Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia, I grew up in the UK with a private pilot for a father.  My love of aircraft grew from an early age, and the summer flying season was always a joy given the relative proximity of both Duxford and the Shuttleworth Collection at Old Warden Aerodrome.  Whilst slowly punching holes through the sky in a series of Cessna 150s, 152s, 172s and Aerospatiale Rallyes, I got to enjoy the sights of many air show aircraft on a regular basisThis included an English Electric Lightning in full reheat at about 50 feet above the runway at Duxford in times when noise restrictions didn't seem to be a problemGiven I was about four at the time it sure made an impression!

 

But these occasions offered both my father and I the opportunity to indulge our passion for the Spitfire.  Dad certainly echoed many another's feeling by describing it as "simply the most beautiful aircraft ever built", and always nominated it as the aircraft he would fly if given the chance.

 

I still have the photograph of AVR which used to hang in our study; it now provides inspiration in the shed.

 

Shuttleworth, at least in the 70s and 80s, was somewhat unusual in allowing patrons to get up close the collection on flying days, and it was here that I first came into close contact with their Mk Vc. This aircraft was restored partly to support the filming of the "Battle of Britain", and for many years sported clipped wings although in 2000/2001 it was refitted with its original elliptical wings.  I had the pleasure of seeing this aircraft flown by the late UK aerobatic champion Neil Williams, and on one occasion even HE missed the approach into Old Warden's short runway!


 

Growing up I indulged my growing passion for flying with a variety of control line and radio control models as well as (not once but twice) building full size aircraft to my own design in our back yard! My parents were very understanding...

 

Having moved back to Australian, and after the usual period of aviation inactivity during which one establishes career and family, I finally returned to flying and gained my PPL in 2004.  In 1992 I had seen plans for the Pietenpol Aircamper and this became my first homebuild project. I see this very much as the apprenticeship for the Spitfire.

 

My taildragger time has been built in Chipmunks, often described as the "poor man's Spitfire".Somewhere along the line, whilst net surfing and dreaming about Spitfires, I came across Russ's website and realised this poor man might just be able to do a little better.  And thus my journey with the SAC Spitfire began.

 

The Project

I enjoy sharing my flying, and this was one of the reasons I chose to go with the Pietenpol (others included simplicity of design, wood construction, a genuine inter-war aircraft and affordability).  From the start therefore I looked at building the TR IX two seat variant of the Mk IX.  That Russ was including this option in the plan set was merely an encouragement to make the necessary investment and start building.

 

Our local aircraft museum, the Royal Australian Air Force museum at Bull Creek in Perth has a Mk22 Griffon engined Spitfire which has provided a few useful details.

 

Progress I best described as slow and steady.I have commenced with the fin and rudder, and am following Frank Deeth's (builder #5) modified plans for the "peaked", fabric covered rudder appropriate to the TR IX.


Below are a photo of the rib jigs and the completed rib frames, awaiting gussets (May 2009).
  

The first flight date is set to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the original Spitfire prototype K5054. I figure another 27 years should just about see me right!

 These details will be updated as building progresses. Keep in touch, and support Russ's dream!


 
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