Warbirds Online recently visited Pay’s Air Services at Scone, NSW to catch up with progress on the restoration of Warbird, Supermarine Spitfire IX MH 603.
This aircraft is undergoing an extensive rebuild to flying condition. The Pays team are making great progress, despite also working toward preparations for the first flight of Hawker Hurricane XII 5481.
The priority of late has been the restoration of the wings which have moved on appreciably since our last visit and are now largely complete structurally with the addition of leading and trailing edge structures and most of the skins cut and ready for riveting. Naturally there are still a myriad of tasks and the mounting of the landing gear to be finalized, but they certainly now look like a set of Spitfire wings rather than a meccano set project.
One noticeable aspect now is how thin the Spitfire wing is in comparison to the Hawker Hurricane wing despite being armed with the same weapons – in the case of this Spitfire, 2 X 20mm Hispano cannon and 2 X .50 calibre machine guns. Currently the Spitfire and the Hurricane are both in situ at Scone, NSW so the comparisons between the two types are easy to see.
As always we were highly appreciative of the high standard of work going into all the restoration work and the riveting alone is a work of art to behold.
The Spitfire will no doubt progress at an accelerated rate once the Hurricane flies later this year. We didn’t ask for a completion date as these things are a matter of “when it’s ready’. The fuselage is also structurally very advanced, so it shouldn’t be too long until another Spitfire joins the Warbird scene in Australia. Nonetheless the progress on each visit is certainly appreciable.
Warbirds Online extends our thanks to Ross Pay and the Pay’s Air Service team for taking the time to explain the work being carried out, as these Warbird restorations are not open for viewing by the general public.
We will continue to provide ongoing progress reports on the restoration of Supermarine Spitfire IX MH 603.
© John Parker 2015