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Old 01-01-2009, 08:24 PM
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Arroyo Grande, CA
Posts: 719
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Default RE: Sterling Spitfire

Hi Chris,

What you said about quality materials getting more expensive in the 1960's and 70's must be true. The Spitfire kit I recently bought on eBay seems to be a far cry from the one I built in the early 1960's. Just this morning I took an hour to remove the contents from the box and really look everything over. The balsa density varies from fairly hard to unbelievably hard. Die cutting doesn't seem to suffer much, which surprised me. The lower nose block is the hardest piece of balsa I have ever seen. I measured the part, calculated the volume, and then weighed it. Worked out to be 23 lb. density. According to my wood density table, white pine is 26 lbs, so this nose block is a lot closer to pine than to balsa.

Some of the plywood is indeed luan as you mentioned about the Berkeley kits.

There are a number of things that make me think this Spitfire is a late-production kit. The nylon bellcranks I mentioned before. Also, the plans show the wing attached with dowels and screws rather than rubber bands. The instruction mentions "four channel fully proportional system of aircraft only frequency..", which certainly wasn't state of the art in 1964.

As far as building the Spitfire, I'm not sure. I really want to do it, but my list of projects seems to be getting longer instead of shorter. Right now I'm winding up a full scale Curtiss Robin and I have another Robin waiting in the wings. In addition, I have a full size Jenny project that has been waiting to move to front & center. I also have an L-2 Taylorcraft that I use for tailwheel training and it's really needing to be re-covered. Then there are the models. I'm in the middle of an Aristo Craft F3F right now.

All this stuff about diet and exercise & longevity gets a lot more relevant when you look at the things you want to do and then look at yourself in the mirror. Wow, got to get busy.

Happy new year to all, Dick