British Spitfire Builders Attract Support

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A group of aviation enthusiasts in the U.K. is steadily moving ahead with an ambitious plan to build a fleet of 90-percent-scale Spitfires, and the interest sparked by the project may have helped to save their local airport. Paul Fowler, owner of The Enstone Flying Club, attracted a lot of publicity with his plan to build a squadron of Spitfire replicas. The project drew visitors to the airport, and the local support to keep the field active seems to have been a factor in thwarting a proposal to build a solar powerplant on the field that would have interfered with flying. "It would be a tragedy if we lost this airfield, as it's one of the few places left like this in the country, and the chances of finding a place like this again are zero," Fowler told the Banbury Guardian.

The club has two Spitfire replicas in the works and is now offering shares to supporters who might want to be part of the project but don't want to be on the builder team. The first kit is more than half done and is expected to fly in April or May. The club also offers tailwheel training in a J3 Cub. "You could not find a more appropriate training aircraft for the Spitfire," says the club newsletter. "The J3 Cub has it all, a bit of a handful in crosswinds, challenging on hard surfaces, not a great view from the rear seat when solo ... 25 hours tailwheel experience is all that is required."