Building the Supermarine Spitfire

Work Log

This Worklog is not a complete step by step account of every move in the construction process. This aircraft build meets the requirements of the 51% Rule. CASA requires only that a basic record of text and photos be kept to prove that I built it, and therefore can be registered as Experimental. For this reason I have not gone into great detail here.

The Spitfire airframe is a stressed skin construction. It is designed for strength and lightness. By virtue of the Spitfires curved “egg” shape, it becomes a very strong structure. Skin thicknesses vary in order to provide strength where required. Stringers are doubled and tripled in zones closer to the firewall and engine. A deep main spar carries primary wing loads. The firewall is stainless steel. Joints are riveted. The airframe has been tested to 9g and is rated +6g -4g. Aircraft grade alloy 2024 T3 is used for skin panels.

As the powerplant is not a designated Aero engine the aircraft will require 40 hrs of test flying before being released for unrestricted flight. This I will initially be doing at Watts Bridge. When all bugs are ironed out I will fly it to Redcliffe and finish the Test Flight Programme.

28 Jul 04

Commenced riveting Fuselage skins to Stiffeners and Bulkheads. Fitted Anchor Nuts to all Fuselage Inspection Hatches. 6 hrs.

01 Aug 04

Riveted Tail Wheel Attachment Doublers to Fuselage. Prepared, drilled, etch primed and riveted Aft Spar doublers to Fuselage. Prepared, drilled, dimpled, cleco'd and riveted Torque Boxes and Rudder Pedal Mounts into position. 4.5 hrs.

02 Aug 04

Prepared Centre Section Mainspar and fitted to Fuselage. Bolted in Gear Motor Mounts. 5 hrs.

03 Aug 05

Prepared all Aft Spar Components. Drilled, etch primed and riveted. Temporarily fitted Centre Section Ribs to aid in incidence alignment. Riveted Aft Spar to Fuselage..5.5 hrs.

04 Aug 04

Made up all Elevator Pushrods. Prepared all Forward and Aft Elevator Pivot Arm Components. Drilled, dimpled, etch primed, cleco'd and riveted to Fuselage. 4.8 hrs.

23 Nov 04

Prepared Turtle Deck Sections, drilled, dimpled, etch primed and riveted in Stiffeners. 5.5 hrs.

29 Nov 04

Prepared, drilled, dimpled, etch primed and rivetted Elevator Control Rod Cover.

Prepared, drilled, dimpled and etch primed Forward and Aft Harness Attachment Point Doublers. Fitted Anchor Nuts. Prepared Rudder Cables. 4.6 hrs.

06 Dec 04

Fitted Rudder Cable Guides, Delrin Bushes and Elevator Trim Cable. 2.0 hrs.

30 Jan 05

Painted Cockpit and Fuel Tank Area. Prepared, drilled, etch primed, cleco'd and riveted Cockpit Door Reinforcements. Cut out Door Opening. Fitted Embellishers to Ring Frame.6.5 hrs

31 Jan 05

Prepared, drilled, dimpled, etch primed and painted all Pilot and Passenger Seat Back Components. 3.3 hrs.

01 Feb 05

Prepared all Pilot and Passenger Seat Base Components. Etched primed, cleco'd and riveted to Cockpit Floor, then painted. 6.5 hrs.

02 Feb 05

Prepared Gear and Throttle Quadrant Components. Fitted Anchor Nuts, etch primed, painted and added knobs. 3.0 hrs.

03 Feb 05

Prepared all Rudder, Brake Pedal and Fuel Tank Support Components. Drilled, etch primed, painted, added Grip Tape to Rudder and Brake Pedals and fitted to Cockpit Floor. 4 .7 hrs.

11 Feb 05

Prepared, drilled, etch primed and bolted Forward U/C Mounting Bracket Components to Centre Section Mainspar. Same to Angle Supports on Aft Axle Mounts. 2.8 hrs.

12 Feb

Prepared, drilled, dimpled and cleco'd Windscreen Trim, Lexan and Winscreen Chrome Moly Frame. 2.3 hrs.

14-15 Feb 05

Prepared, drilled etch primed all Aft Centre Section Ribs and Aft Axle Bulkheads. 3.8 hrs.

16 Feb 05

Drilled holes in Wheel Hubs for Tube Valve Stem. Fitted Tyres, Tubes, Bearings, Disc Pads, Brake Calipers and Axles to Wheels. Inflated 2.9 hrs.

17 - 18 Feb 05

Prepared, drilled, etch primed and fitted Forward Centre Section Ribs, Stiffeners and Leading Edges. 2.5 hrs.

19 Feb 05

Prepared, drilled, dimpled and etch primed all Cockpit Door Components. 2.8 hrs.

20 Feb 05

Fitted Cables to Gear Quadrant and U/C Locking Pins. Checked travel and freedom of movement. 2.2 hrs.

22 Feb 05

Prepared all Joy Stick Components, painted and fitted to Cockpit Floor. All Elevator Control Rod Connections secured. 3.4 hrs.

25 Feb 05

Prepared, drilled, etch primed and riveted Passenger Foot Rests to Cockpit Floor and painted. 1.9 hrs.

26Feb 05

With the help of a few good friends the fuselage was inverted on the stands. Prepared, drilled, etch primed and riveted Centre Section False Ribs, Retract Arches, Lower Rib Stiffeners and Flap Ram Mounts .7.6 hrs.

27 Feb 05

Installed Flap Torque Tubes. Commenced drilling Forward Lower Belly Skins, False Ribs and Forward Ribs.(Hundreds of holes). Could be on this for a few days. 8 hrs.

28 Feb - 04 Mar 05

Still drilling and dimpling Lower Centre Section Skins, False Ribs and Forward Ribs. Having the weekend off!! 6.5 hrs.

07 Mar 05

Finished drilling, de-burring and dimpling all Centre Section Ribs, False Ribs and Stiffeners. 1.5 hrs.

08 Mar 05

Started deburring and dimpling Centre Section Belly Skins. 2.2 hrs.

09 Mar 05 Finished dimpling and deburring all Centre Section Belly Skins. Fitted Flap Motors. 3.3 hrs.

10 Mar 05

Prepared Lower Belly Skins for etch prime. 1.8 hrs.

Assembled and Cleco'd Outer Starboard Wet Wing Components together for trial fit. Hope to get my camera back tomorrow. 2.2 hrs.

11 Mar 05

Off to Archerfield to get some more clecos (Never have enough) and some sealant for the wing tanks.

12 mar 05

Didn't make it to Archerfield yesterday. Etch primed all Belly Skins and Inspection Hatch Doublers. Had a few visitors today so not much else done. 2.2 hrs.

13 - 17 Mar 05

Went to Fiji for a wedding.

18 Mar 05

Anchor Nuts riveted to Forward Centre Section Belly Skins. Started riveting Centre Section Belly Skins to Ribs. Test fitted Lower Wing Fairings. 2.8 hrs.

28 - 29 Mar

Finished riveting Forward and Aft Belly Skins. Trial fitted Aft Fairings and Fairing Ribs. 1.9 hrs.

01 Apr 05

Finally got over to Aviall at Archerfield to pick up 150 more clecos and some sealant needed for the wet wings. Trial fitted Ribs and Stiffeners to Starboard Outer Mainspar. Trial Fitted Upper Wing Panels to Starboard Outer Wing. Perfect Fit!! 3.8 hrs.

02 APR 05

Trial fitted Lower Wing Stiffeners and Panels. Perfect fit!! 1.8 hrs.

04 Apr 05

Disassembled Ribs and Stiffers from Outer Starboard Mainspar. Prepared Outer Mainspar, Trailing edge Spar and Aft Outer Ribs for riveting. Riveted on Stiffeners to Inner Rib. Need more MEK. 4.5 hrs.

05 Apr 05

Prepared, etch primed Aft Ribs. Riveted to Outer Mainspar. Pics tomorrow. 2.8 hrs.

06 Apr 05

Riveted Aft Upper panel to Outer Wing. 1.8 hrs.

07 Apr 05

Prepared, drilled, dimpled, etch primed and riveted Aileron Hinge to Wing. Riveted Aft Lower Panel to Outer Wing. 2.2 hrs.

08 Apr 05

Prepared, drilled, deburred, etch primed and riveted Fairing Panels and Aileron Gap Strip. 1.9 hrs.

09 Apr 05

Started prep work for wheel well. 2.0 hrs.

10 Apr 05

Commenced prep of Wet Wing. Trial fitted all Wet Wing Ribs and Baffles. 2.6 hrs.

13 Apr 05

Commenced work on Starboard Aileron. Trial Fitted Ribs, Control Horn and Panels. 3.3 hrs.

14 Apr 05

Trial fitted Starboard Aileron Components. 1.8 hrs.

21 Apr 05

Drilled Pilot Holes and trial fitted Wingtip Ribs and Skins. 2.2 hrs.

23 Apr 05

Cleco'd Outer Flap and Aileron Components. Pilot drilled trailing edge. 1.9 hrs.

24 Apr 05

Prepared and drilled Outer Flap Hinge. Prepared, drilled, etch primed Flap and Aileron Outer Pushrods. 2.4 hrs.

27 Apr 05

Test fitted Outer Flap and Aileron to check Trailing Edge Alignment. 1.0 hr.

03 May 05

Prepared, drilled, deburred, dimpled and etch primed Wingtip Components. Cleco'd in position and commenced riveting. Checked Trailing Edge Alignment with Wingtip. 2.2 hrs.

04 May 05

After final check of alignment, Aileron Hinge to Wing, Skins and Ribs pilot holed and drilled. 1.6 hrs.

09 May 05

Prepared, drilled, dimpled and deburred Aileron Components. 2.0 hrs.

10 May 05

Etch Primed Aileron Components. Final alignment check prior to riveting to Aileron Hinge. 1.6 hrs.

11 May 05

Disassembled cleco'd Aileron and Outer Flap. Etch Primed and riveted into position. 1.8 hrs.

23 May 05

I will not be duplicating pics for the Port Wing. Prepared Port Wing Mainspar. Prepared, deburred, dimpled and etch primed Port Aft Spar. 2.8 hrs.

24 May 05

Prepared Aft Port Wing Ribs. 1.5 hrs.

31 May 05

Etch Primed Port Aft Wing Ribs. Riveted to Mainspar. Riveted Aft Ribs to Trailing Edge Spar. Prepared and Etch Primed and fitted Port Aft Rib Stiffeners. 2.3 hrs.

01 June 05

Prepared and Etch Primed Aft Skins. 2.5 hrs.

06 June 05

Hangar Frame is up. Doors Frames are on.

07 June 05

Trial fit of Pitot Tube Components. .8 hrs.

08 June 05

Prepared Pitot Tube and Static Components. Fitted Pitot Static Lines and Connectors in Port Wing. Cleco'd Aft Wing Skins. 3.1 hrs.

09 June 05

Prepared, Etch Primed and riveted Port Wheel Well Components. 1.9 hrs.

12 June 05

Not much done this weekend due to many visitors. However took the opportunity with many hands on deck to rotate the fuselage upright.

13 June 05

Trial fitted Vertical Stabiliser Components. (Fin Post, Ribs Leading Edge and Skins). 1.6 hrs.

16 June 05

Prepared, riveted, deburred, dimpled and riveted Door Components. 2.4 hrs.

17 June 05

Prepared, drilled and dimpled rear Window Frame and Lexans. 1.2 hrs.

18 June 05

Prepared and test fitted Instrument Panels. 1.6 hrs.

19 June 05

Stab Frame complete. Skins and Frame drilled, de-burred, dimpled and ready for test fit to fuselage. 2.5 hrs.

20 June 05

Prepared, drilled, deburred, dimpled and etch primed Vertical Stab Components and both Horizontal Stab Mount Stiffeners. Riveted Stab Mount Stiffeners to Fuselage. Fitted Upper Pivot Bracket to Fin Post. 4.6 hrs.

21 June 05

Prepared, drilled, de-burred, dimpled, etch primed and fitted Aft Cover Plate. Fitted Fin Post. 1.8 hrs.

22 June 05

Fitted Lower Pivot Bracket to Fin Post. Riveted all Vertical Stab Components. 2.5 hrs.

23 June 05

Made up Aft Elevator Control Rods. Connected Tail Wheel to Leaf Spring. 1.8 hrs.

24 June 05

Prepared, drilled, de-burred, dimpled, shaped and etch primed Vertical Stab Leading Edge and Side Gussets. Riveted same and Aft Turtle Deck Section to Fuselage. Painted Engine Mount in Pot Belly Black. 5.6 hrs.

25 June 05

Trial fit of Horizontal Stab to Fuselage. Prepared, drilled, deburred, dimpled Rudder Frame, Ribs and Skins. 2.4 hrs.

30 June 05

Fitted TailWheel Components. Prepared, drilled and de-burred U/C Gas Strut Mounts. Bolted to Centre Section Outer Ribs. 2.2 hrs.

18 July 05

Prepared, etc primed and riveted Rudder Skins. 1.6 hrs.

19 July 05

U/C legs back after having axle brackets welded into position for correct toe-in.

20 July 05

Springs and Dampers pressed into Oleos and bolted in. Axle Brackets painted Pot Belly Black. 2.5 hrs.

21 July 05

Gas Strut Inner Mounts drilled, de-burred and bolted onto Oleos. U/C legs fitted into Wings and Control Horns and Micro Switch Blades bolted. Gas Struts fitted to U/C. Brakes and Axle Assy bolted to Oleo. Wheels and Tyres fitted to Axles. Aircraft now on its Wheels. 4.4 hrs.

22 July 05

Commenced preparation of Port Outer Flap and Aileron Components. 2 hrs.

29 July 05

Painted both Instrument Panels, Windscreen Frame and Windscreen Trim. Riveted Hinge to Entry Door and Fuselage. 1.7 hrs.

31 July 05

Trial fit of Port Outer Wing to Centre Section. Commenced riveting of Port Wing Aft Skins. Prepared, drilled, de-burred and dimpled Aileron and Outer Flap Packer Strips. Temporarily clecoed all Port Aileron and Outer Flap Components. Trial fitted to Wing for trailing edge alignment. Drilled out Outer Flap Hinge to Wing. 5.8 hrs.

01 Aug 05

Drilled out Port Aileron and Outer Flap Skins and Ribs 1/8". .9 hrs.

03 Aug 05

Disassembled Port Aileron Components. De-burred all 1/8" holes, dimpled Ribs, Skins and Trailing Edge. 1.9 hrs.

13 Aug 05

Hangar Doors are on


16 Aug 05

Laid up with the flu for the last three weeks. Nothing done!

26 Aug 05

Etch primed all Aileron and Outer Flap Components and reassembled with clecos. 2.8 hrs.

27 Aug 05

Riveted and Sikaflexed Rear Window Lexans. 2.4 hrs.

30 Aug 05

Prepared, drilled, de-burred, dimpled, etch primed and riveted Port Aileron Gap Strip, Port Aileron Hinge and Port Outer Flap Hinges to Wing. Finished riveting Port Aft Wing Skins. 4.7 hrs.

09 Sep 05

Riveted Skins and Hinge on top side of Port Aileron and Outer Flap. Drilled pilot holes and trial fitted Port Wingtip Ribs and Skins. 3.3 hrs.

10 Sap 05

Drilled out pilot holes 1/8", deburred and dimpled all rivet holes in Port Wing Tip. .9 hrs.

11 Sep 05

Etch Primed Port Wing Tip Components. Prepared, deburred and etch primed Wing Leading Edges. 1.7 hrs.

12 Sep 05

Riveted Port Wing Tip into position. Finalised riveting of Port Aileron and Port Outer Flap Skins. 3.0 hrs.

20 Sep 05

Sealed Port Fuel Tank Spar Rivets. Fitted Starboard Gear Retract Motor. 2.5 hrs.

21 Sep 05

Prepared, drilled, deburred, etch primed and riveted Cockpit Fresh Air Scoops. 1.9 hrs.

22 Sep 05

Fitted Internal Cockpit Fresh Air Outlets. 2.4 hrs.

27 Sep 05

Prepared, drilled and deburred Port Wing Fuel Tank Ribs and Stiffeners. Test fitted same to Wing. 2.4 hrs.

28 Sep 05

Prepared, drilled, and deburred Port Wing Fuel Tank Baffles. Fitted Port Retract Motor and Emergency Release Cable. Prepared Aileron Control Rods. Fitted Rod Ends. 4.3 hrs.

07 Oct 05

Dimpled Fuselage Mounting Holes for Windscreen Frame. Prepared Cockpit Door Latch Components. 2.4 hrs.

08 Oct 05

Painted inside Cockpit Door and fitted Door Latch. 1.8 hrs.

09 Oct 05

Prepared Passenger Air Vent Components. Drilled and tapped Frame. Fitted Air Vents. 2.5 hrs.

11 Oct 05

Fitted Anchor Nuts to both Wheel Well and Aileron Bellcrank Inspection Hatches. Fabricated and fitted Port Wing Undercarraige Arch Filler. 5.5 hrs.

12 Oct 05

Prepared, deburred, sealed and riveted Port and Stbd Wing Tank Ribs, Baffles and Stiffeners. 4.8 hrs.

19 Oct 05

Prepared, drilled, deburred, etch primed and fitted Anchor Nuts to Stbd Wing Fuel Vent Inspection Hatch Doubler. Drilled and Tapped Windscreen Frame through Upper Fuselage Stringers. 3.4 hrs.

21 Oct 05

Trial fit of Centre Fuel Tank. Drilled holes into Ring Frame for Passenger Fresh Air. Prepared, drilled, deburred, etch primed and riveted Passenger Fresh Air Scoops. 2.7 hrs.

26 Oct 05

Commenced prep of Elevator Frame Components. Drilled, deburred, and dimpled Elevator Frame halves. 2.8 hrs.

28 Oct 05

Sealed and riveted Windscreen and Frame into position. My daughter Lee did first hangar test flight. 2.1 hrs.

31 oct 05

Aligned Stab with fuselage and drilled mounting holes. Checked Stab incidence at 0 deg. 1.9 hrs.

02 Nov 05

Prepared, drilled. deburred, dimpled and riveted Horizontal Stab Underside Skins. Cut and glued foam blocks onto Underside Skins to prevent "tin canning". 3.4 hrs.

03 Nov 05

Prepared, drilled, deburred and dimpled Elevator Trim Tab Cable Outlet Components. Prepared, drilled, deburred, dimpled and trial fitted Upper Horizontal Stab Skins. 2.9 hrs.

05 Sep 05

Measured and cut out Elevator Trim Tab from Starboard Elevator. 3.7 hrs.

06 Nov 05

Trial fitted and drilled Elevator Hinges. Checked alignment of Elevators with Stab. Fabricated ends of Trim Tab. Drilled, deburred and dimpled Trim Tab Skins and Hinge. 7.8 hrs.

09 Nov 05

Deburred and dimpled Elevator Hinges and Upper Elevator Skin Leading Edges. 3.8 hrs.

10 Nov 05

Etch primed Stab Upper Skins. Riveted Elevator Trim Tab Cable Outlet Fairing and Stbd Upper Skin. Drilled, deburred, etch primed and fitted Stab Anchor Bracket. 4.2 hrs.

11 Nov 05

Riveted Upper Stab Skins. Prepared, etch primed and riveted Elevator Trim Tab Components. 3.8 hrs.

13 Nov 05

Prepared, drilled, deburred, dimpled and etch primed Elevator Skins and Elevator Control Horns. Cut and glued foam blocks to Elevator Underside Skins. Bolted on Elevator Control Horns. 7.5 hrs.

15 Nov 05

Riveted Elevator Skins. Fitted Elevator Trim Cable. Finished drilling Aft Stab Mount holes. Bolted Stab to Fuselage. Mounted Elevators to Stab. 5.9 hrs.

16 Nov 05

Trial fit of Canopy. 5 hrs.

17 Nov 05

Epoxied 2.4kg of lead shot to inside of Elevator Horns for counterbalance. 1.5 hrs.

27 Nov 05

Trial fitted Port Centre Section Upper Skins. Drilled out all holes to 1/8". 2.8 hrs.

28 Nov 05

Bolted Engine Mount Frame to Fuselage. 2.2 hrs.

29 Nov 05

Successfully ground run engine on test bed to intialise the ECU. All parameters within limits. No vibration. Looks and sounds great!. Hoisted engine into position. Fitted Forward engine Shock Absorber Mounts. 5.6 hrs.

30 Nov 05

Fitted Rear Engine Shock Absorber Mounts. .8 hrs.