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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 18, 2015 - If you happen to see a gorgeous Spitfire Mk IX on the field this week, you may think it’s a veteran of World War II restored to its former glory.

But it’s actually a homebuilt warbird of wooden construction built by Bob Deford, EAA 314241, of Prescott, Arizona. Deford, who retired as an airline pilot in the mid-1990s, 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; a restored Mk 1 salvaged from the sands of Calais, France, recently 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 an Allison V-1710 engine, which he says are much easier to maintain than standard Merlin and Griffon Spitfire powerplants.

He also acquired a 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 intended to come to EAA, camp, and fly…and is ready and willing to participate in any way he can.
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