David Glen's amazing model ...

This absolutely beautiful one-fifth scale static model of the Spitfire Mk I has been built by David Glen of Whaddon, Cambridge, UK. He writes, "If anyone asked me why I set to build a Spitfire in one-fifth scale, and detailed to the last rivet and fastener, I would probably be hard-pushed for a practical or even sensible answer. Perhaps the closest I can get is that since a small child I have been awe inspired by R. J. Mitchell’s elliptical winged masterpiece, and that to build a small replica is the closest I will ever aspire to possession".

The model is, indeed, detailed to the last rivet and fastener, and has taken David well over eleven years to complete. He admits that there were times when the sheer amount of work involved proved almost too much but an encounter at his flying club with Dr Michael Fopp, Director General of the Royal Air Force Museum in Hendon, England, spurred him on to see the project through. Seeing the near-complete fuselage, Dr Fopp urged David to finish the model, promising that he would put it on public display at Hendon, where it has very recently taken up residence in a splendid case commissioned by the museum from a case-maker in Sweden (how could he bear to part with this masterpiece?).

The model is skinned with litho plate over a balsa core and has been left in bare metal at the suggestion of Michael Fopp, so that the structure is seen to best advantage. The rivets are real and many are pushed into drilled holes in the skin and underlying balsa, but many more are actual mechanical fixings. David Glen says he has no accurate count, but suspects that there are at least 19,000!

All interior detail is built from a combination of Supermarine drawings and workshop manuals, plus countless photographs of David's own, many of them taken opportunistically when he was a volunteer at the Duxford Aviation Society based at Duxford Airfield, home of the incomparable Imperial War Museum collection in Cambridgeshire, England, where, as David says, Spitfires in various marks are a common feature!

The degree of detail, says David, is probably obsessive - to me it is simply amazing! For instance, the needles of the dials in the cockpit actually stand proud of the instrument faces, but you have to look hard to see it! Explaining the flat canopy, David says that the early Mk.Is had them, and since he had no means to blow a bubble hood, it was convenient! Similarly the covers over the wheels were another early feature and they saved him a challenging task of replicating the wheel castings.

David Glen says he is aware that the model has its mistakes, but he will leave the experts to spot them, as they most certainly will! He says, "I don’t pretend the little Spitfire is perfect, but I do hope it has captured something of the spirit and incomparable beauty of this magnificent fighter ... " You bet it has, David, as well as being a supreme example of the model-maker's art and craft!

David is pictured here at the official 'handover' of his model to the RAF Museum, Hendon, on January 25th 2007.

Clockwise from bottom: John Freeborne, Secretary of The Friends Of the RAF Museum; David Glen; Dr Michael Fopp, Director General of the RAF Museum and Marshall of Cambridge Executive Terry Holloway.

Published here by kind permission of David Glen who holds copyright in the model and images and also to the text of an article appearing on the Hyper Scale website from which this item was sourced, also with kind permission.

Thanks to Colin Stevens who provided the link to this material.

Next month, exclusively for modelflight, David explains how he achieved some of the incredible detail on this model!

 

Save the Red Arrows

According to UK national newspaper reports, there has been an admission by the Ministry of Defence that funding for the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team - The Red Arrows - is to be reviewed under the latest Defence spending review and there are fears that funding might therefore be withdrawn, forcing the abandonment of this internationally recognised symbol of the high standards and fine traditions of the British Military.

In response, a petition has been raised on the UK Government's recently introduced E-petitions website to petition the Prime Minister to continue the funding of the Red Arrows.

If you are a British citizen or resident in the UK and are interested in adding your support to the petition, then go to

http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/SaveTheReds/

and complete the petition form. You will then be sent an email in which you simply click a link to confirm your vote.

Brought to your attention by Harold Clark and John Wheater

 

NORFOLK Naval Air Station Virginia - One of the military's largest transports got stuck at the end of a runway atop the I-564 overpass for more than 16 hours. It was unable to turn around at the West end of Chambers Field at the Norfolk Naval Station. The incident forced the closing of the field to all but helicopter traffic and made for a dramatic sight for hundreds of motorists passing beneath it during morning rush hour.

"That thing's like a big building sitting there.'' said motorists. The nose of the aircraft actually stuck out and OVER the Interstate !

The aircraft's nose was so far over the end of the ramp, the crew was unable to see the runway where it was supposed to turn around so the pilot simply had to leave it at the end of the runway. The Air Force C-5 Galaxy, largest airplane in the free world, is almost as long as a football field and as high as a six-story building.

Weighing 420 tons with a full load, it uses a system of 28 wheels to distribute its weight. The aircraft had to wait for a specially made tow bar trucked in from Dover, Delaware! When the tow bar arrived, it was used to hook the C-5 to a tractor that then turned the aircraft around. The plane was not damaged.

The female co-pilot was overheard saying to the male pilot as they exited the plane...

"I told you we should have stopped and asked for directions "

 

That US Air Force C-5 Galaxy that rolled off the runway (above) . . .

Is it the largest aircraft in the world ?

Maybe not - depends how you define large.

Wingspan is a common comparator - no.
Weight is another - no.
Weight of cargo lifted - no.
Maximum takeoff weight of aircraft plus fuel plus cargo - no.
Largest military transport ? Well, maybe.

It seems the Russians have the largest in all the above categories - the AN-225 pictured above.

Click this link to read more and this one to read about the smallest aircraft in the world.

Thanks to Malcolm Logan

 

Recommended reading, from Colin Stevens

"The Air Racer" by Charles A Mendenhall (Specialty Press, ISBN: 0933424019) is a most absorbing book of 4- and 5-view drawings, sketches, details, and specifications on more than 245 racing aeroplanes from 1909, right up to modern Reno racers. A tip from a friend brought it to my notice. It cost me £9.86 from Amazon, and I'm delighted with it. This Amazon link will take you straight to it!

It's one of those books best settled down to when one has given up on the evening TV offerings. The views are sure to tug at the balsa-cutting muscles, and maybe make the pulse race a little.

A typical page is shown right - this one features the Percival Mew Gull. This was extracted from a fascinating website which is reviewed on this month's site seeing page.

Have you read any good books lately that would appeal to modelflight readers? Reviews of full-scale or modelling titles will be most welcome for inclusion here or elsewhere on the site.

 

Share your full-scale enthusiasms with the rest of us on this page - interesting pictures, information, personal flight experiences - whatever, it's all welcome!


Click the pic for enlargement
 

My pick of the month from the new entries in Herb Sieger's Early Birds this month is this 1909 Daimler Lutskoy No.1 monoplane - with a wingspan of 68'11" it was the largest aircraft built and flown in 1909. Apparently the nose propeller was driven by one engine, whilst the two wing-mounted props were driven by another. Designed by Russian designer B. G. Lutskoy, it was built by Daimler in Germany.

Picture and information from Milan Javorsky