March 27, 2012
By Jim Moore
The warbirds, so proliferous that Sun ‘n Fun organizers had to turn some away for the first time this year, command plenty of attention—vintage warriors turned time machines that ignite the imagination. Much the same can be said for the 90-percent scale, all-aluminum Spitfire kit offered by Supermarine Aircraft, an aerobatic two-seater that is nearly the match of its inspiration, according to company founder and CEO Mike O’Sullivan.
“It flies and operates nearly identical to the original,” O’Sullivan said, noting the kitbuilt experimental can pull 6 positive and 4 negative Gs—with a responsive touch and a look that says both “lethal” and “fun.”
The price tag—$168,000 for the airframe kit and about $46,000 for the engine—is far short of the multi-million-dollar asking price that would be attached to any full-scale, vintage Spitfire, one of the most famous fighters of World War II.
“My aim was to have an aircraft that was true to original as possible, not just a painted up look-a-like,” O’Sullivan reports on his website. “I really did want to fly and realize what our forefathers experienced.”
With a build time of about 1,200 hours, the all-aluminum aircraft made its first appearance at Sun ‘n Fun this year and drew plenty of attention. The fuselage and wings come largely assembled, and a builder assistance program is available.
Sun ‘n Fun veteran attendee Bernie Jager said the kit, and other products like it, are the main draw that keeps him coming back.
“Something like this,” Jager said of his main interest. “What’s new, what have you not heard about.”
SocialFlight users can now publish events via Facebook and Twitter.
Thought about participating in a charitable flying event? Many nonprofit groups host a day at the airport in which volunteer pilots can give flights to eager fledglings. Check with your local airport about what may be scheduled for 2014.
A small team of specialists at NASA’s Langley Research Center has taken to the skies in a Falcon jet hunting bugs.
AOPA thanks our members for their continued support in protecting the freedom to fly.