Mears Spitfire

Brake Test Video
Work Log 5
Final Progress
The Kit
Landing Gear
Fuel System
Work Log
Work Log 2
Work Log 3
Work Log 4
Engine Log
Other Habits
Firewall Forward
First Start Video







Tips on building a Supermarine Spitfire for a non-builder


1.      Flush riveting is for outside surfaces and less wind drag. Donít waste time or go to the trouble to dimple anywhere else.


  1. In chapter one the manual show pics of the top wing stub skins on ďtemporarily ďÖthat meant they didnít have a photo handy at the time. Donít even mess with those top skins until one of the final assemblies.


  1. When you mount the landing gear cable bracket to the inside of the fuse. The long end faces to the rear. In the most rearward holes.


  1. The manual says to install the passenger foot rest in the first chapter. Way before installing the landing gear motors. Donít fall for that trick. Donít put those foot rest in until AFTER the landing gear motors or you will have to drill them back out.


  1. Build the seat on the bench, and install it as one assembly. Building it IN the plane DOESNíT work.


  1. Plus, the front seat bulkhead position is not clear in the manual. The bulkhead flange faces forward.


  1. Before you mount that seat front bulkhead to the fuse. Make the appropriate measurement for the joystick installation. Use the actual joystick part, not the tape measure.


  1. Install the windshield on the plane. DONíT do this one on the bench and install. Make sure the feet on the bottom of the windshield frame are up against the fuse BEFORE you start.


  1. There are no instructions for installing the gas struts on the landing gear. Good luck. Go to my web page and look at the installation. (also look at #24) 


  1. Before you install the landing gear, get the pin (The pin that holds the motor shaft to the arm) out of the gear motor sack. Fit that pin in the bellcrank while its on the bench. Itís a bitch once its in the plane.  The pin should pull out freely by the emergency release spring)


  1. If you choose to put anv lights on your plane. Start planning to do the wiring before you get it all closed up.


  1. you must drill your own valvestem hole in the wheels.


  1. There are doublers #223 and #270. two of each. They double where the seat belt anchor goes. There are 4 locations and 4 doublers. This is not explained very well in manual. My first thought was one inside and one outside on each side since I didnít notice the rear seat belt anchor points. Keep in mind, at this portion of the build, the anchor point is just some holes in the fuse, and thereís holes everywhere. Its 4 doublers in 4 locations.


  1. When trial fitting, its best to remove the protective tape. Believe it or not, that tape is just thick enough to mess up your measurements and the fit.


  1. The gas cap bag has lots of extra parts and covers. One is the gas cap as covered in the manual, the other is for the cowling to access oil and or water, but thereís nothing in the manual about that.


  1. When you drill the stiffeners for the wings, turtle deck, or whatever, make sure that you leave enough room for your dimpling tool to fit.

  1. Manual says to rivet in turtle deck in chapter one. Donít do it. If you plan on running any kind of electric items (lights) it needs to be done before you close up the fuse. Plus if you rivet up the turtle deck before you install the stab, you gonna really be pissed.

  1. Chapter one says to install the rudder cables. One of the last chapters says to hang 160lbs. On each of these cables for one hour before installing. Supermarine says to not worry about it and install them as is. You make the call.


  1. There are half ribs between the leading edge and the main spar that are not mentioned in the manual. There are a few pictures of them here and there. Make sure you find these and install them before you install the wing stiffeners.


  1. Donít rivet the landing gear controls inside the cockpit until you have the cables installed. You just cant get to the bolts when its mounted.


  1. The manual says to temporarily install the top wing skins on the fuse. First off, I donít know for sure why you even do that. Next time I wouldnít bother. The bottom breastplate and main spar is what lines everything up to the bottom wingskins. Then make everything else fit to these bottom skins. This is where I got in trouble trying to make my leading edge line up using the top skins.


  1. Be prepared when you turn the fuse over it will be top heavy. Have something ready to install on each end of the main spar to hold it level. I used 1Ē square steel tubing.


  1. You will have to split the flap motor cases to turn the mounting hole 90 degrees.


  1. Mount the gas shock bracket on the landing gear BEFORE you install the gear.

  2. Install the two anchor nuts on the wiper arm (landing gear) on the bench before installing the landing gear.

  3. Install the breakers on the bus and wires to the breakers before installing wiring harness in the plane. Also install all switches to harness before installing harness in plane.

  4. My landing gear came with the struts assembled, so I assumed they were assembled correct. Come to find out, in the drawings book...not in the construction manual, there's a pic of a maximum length of the landing gear leg fully extended. My landing gear is too long and must be shortened. I didn't discover this until another builder brought it to my attention. And I've already installed my gear...completely. So now I'll have to go back and shorten them a couple of inches.

  5. It would have been pretty easy to put the wing spar on the plane and make the aileron pushrod while it was all out in the open. The manual never says when to build it. Nor does it say the length it should be. Come to find out the length is on the parts sheet, and it says to check that length on the plane before you cut the rod.

  6. Hindsight......If I had it to do over again, I wouldnt rivit the sheet metal on the bottom of the center section aft of the trailing edge of the wing. It would have helped immensely in aligning up the flaps to the fuse.