Great progress has been made on the restoration work being carried out by Vintage Fighter Restorations at Scone NSW on two Mk IX Supermarine Spitfires, MH603 and MH415.
Supermarine Spitfire HF Mk. IXb MH415
Since our last report in August, the restoration on Spitfire MH415 has made significant progress. The wings were previously dismantled and a start had been made on restoring them in their purpose made jigs – Vintage Fighter Restorations has two sets of wing jigs now to allow for faster turnaround of their Spitfire projects. In just 3 months both wings are nearly structurally rebuilt and near to being reskinned. The wing rebuilding requires a great deal of complex work and accuracy to ensure they are exactly geometrically and aerodynamically correct and fit perfectly onto the restored fuselage. Given the provenance of this Spitfire it is also important that as much of the original material is preserved and re used. As the condition of the aircraft was exceptional when received this has been possible with the exception of the main spars which have been replaced for practical as well as safety reasons although the original spars were also in exceptional condition.
Considerable progress has also been made on the aircrafts fuselage which has commenced fit out, as it is now structurally complete with electrical, hydraulic and fuel systems being installed as well as the cockpit frame and canopy. The aircrafts engine mounts were also installed at the time of our visit. A myriad of other components are also undergoing restoration ready for refitting to the airframe at it nears completion.
Supermarine Spitfire IX MH 603
The other Spitfire under restoration at Vintage Fighter Restorations is Spitfire IX MH 603. This aircraft has also made rapid progress in the last few months since the wings were trial fitted in July. The fuselage, wings and empennage have all been given their final coats of paint and all of the markings have been completed except for stencils etc. which will be applied when the aircraft is reassembled.
Current work on this aircraft centers on the final fit out of the fuselage and wings which was taking place on the day we visited. Currently the wing gun bays are being adapted to fit internal additional fuel capacity and the detail panel work around the radiators is being completed. Given the advanced state of the work on this aircraft it should not be very long before the wings are refitted for the last time and the empennage, all of the control surfaces as well as the completed engine mount followed by the Merlin itself. Once the aircraft is fully assembled all of the necessary testing and adjustment can take place prior to a first flight for the first time in several decades.
As with any restoration the final stages of fit out and testing can be fraught with delay and frustration however it is hoped that the first flight of this Spitfire is also not too far off being airworthy.
Warbird Restorations – The Future
Ross Pay and the team at Vintage Fighter Restorations (VFR) are very excited about the prospect of these two Spitfires being completed but are also turning their thoughts to the future and the next phases in the growth of the company. Several projects including more Spitfires are already being considered and the opportunity to take on board new projects from customers is also available. VFR has assembled a sizable group of dedicated workers who have the capacity and skills required to complete almost any Warbird restoration project and are actively seeking customers who can benefit from their expertise. With the current exchange rate and the in-house expertise at VFR it is an attractive proposition for any Warbird owner wishing to have their project come to fruition. VFR also has access to several project Supermarine Spitfires of different Mk’s available for potential owners and or investors. VFR welcomes those who would like to canvass the opportunity to have their Warbird restoration project completed or have VFR source one for them.
Vintage Fighter Restorations can be contacted via the VFR Website.
© John Parker 2018