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Homebuilt Replica Spitfire to Appear in Oshkosh

  • Spitfire
    Bob Deford flies his replica Spitfire.
  • Spitfire
    Bob Deford and his full-scale replica Spitfire, which he’ll fly to Oshkosh on Saturday, July 18.

July 15, 2015 - EAA received confirmation this week that a full-scale replica Spitfire Mk IX will attend AirVenture Oshkosh 2015. It’s a homebuilt warbird of wooden construction, powered by an Allison V-1710 engine turning a DC-3 propeller. Its owner/builder Bob Deford, EAA 314241, of Prescott, Arizona, plans to arrive in Oshkosh on Saturday, July 18.

Deford retired as an airline pilot in the mid-1990s and was just looking for something to do, he said.

“I always wanted a Spitfire, but they’re far too expensive to buy,” Deford said. And how; this past week a restored Mk 1 salvaged from the sands of Calais, France, fetched nearly $5 million at auction.

“Retirement (pay) is good, but not that good,” he said. So Deford decided to build one himself. He purchased a set of plans from a contact in France who had created them based on a display Spitfire Mk IX in the Air and Space Museum at Le Bourget, Paris.

Deford acquired the Allison engine, which he says are much easier to maintain than standard Merlin and Griffon Spitfire powerplants,. He also acquired the DC-3 prop and had it rebuilt for a total cost of $6,500, as opposed to a $100,000 Spitfire prop.

He and a friend went to work on the plane in 1996 and spent eight years to finish it. N1940K was completed in 2003.

Deford says he wants to come to EAA, camp, and fly, and is ready and willing to participate in any way he can.

His original plan was to fly his small plane in for the event but he had engine issues and decided to take the Spitfire instead. He plans to make his way to Manchester, Iowa (C27) then make the short flight to Oshkosh Saturday morning. 

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