Building a WW2 plane from scratch, how hard can it be?

Building a WW2 plane from scratch, how hard can it be?

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FunkyNige

Original Poster:

7,648 posts

245 months

Friday 6th March 2009
quotequote all
There's some talk on the Vulcan XH558 thread about what a shame it is that there aren't any Stirlings flying and that the drawings had been destroyed, but why is this such a big deal? I'm sure there are plenty of photos so the outside so the basic structure is known and modern know-how will sort out the details to get it in the air, plus the avionics (or whatever 70 year old wires connected to flaps are called) won't exactly be rocket science to engineers these days, neither will be bracing holding the whole thing together.

So, apart from the money aspect, why can't someone with infinite money (to keep it simple) make one?

Simpo Two

76,317 posts

235 months

Friday 6th March 2009
quotequote all
Amazingly, what was once mass-production is now extremely difficult to do.

These guys http://www.hawker-restorations-ltd.co.uk/ will build you a Hurricane from scratch - if you ask them nicely they'll give you a tour - the complexity and engineering is truly staggering!

Jasandjules

66,743 posts

199 months

Friday 6th March 2009
quotequote all
FunkyNige said:
There's some talk on the Vulcan XH558 thread about what a shame it is that there aren't any Stirlings flying and that the drawings had been destroyed, but why is this such a big deal? I'm sure there are plenty of photos so the outside so the basic structure is known and modern know-how will sort out the details to get it in the air, plus the avionics (or whatever 70 year old wires connected to flaps are called) won't exactly be rocket science to engineers these days, neither will be bracing holding the whole thing together.

So, apart from the money aspect, why can't someone with infinite money (to keep it simple) make one?
Because there are loads of working parts. I suppose if you just wanted something that flew and looked pretty much like a Stirling then it could be done.

But as a rule you need a working copy to reverse engineer I'd have thought?

gopher

5,160 posts

229 months

Friday 6th March 2009
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When I win tonight's Euro lottery jackpot to myself (it's unlikely as I have not participated, but only slightly less likely than if I had) then I would be looking at getting a firm to build be a replica Spit' IX but using modern materials (Although the engine would have to remain as designed for noise purposes).

When it happens I'll let you know how I get on hehe

FourWheelDrift

82,955 posts

254 months

Friday 6th March 2009
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I still have the Stirling Airfix model I made 20+ years ago somewhere in my parents attic. I could up-scale that maybe biggrin

crofty1984

15,292 posts

174 months

Friday 6th March 2009
quotequote all
I think it's the sheer scale. Like you say the base principles are pretty basic.
Of course, you can easily build a lever to move flap x. but the number of systems and getting them to work in harmony is the hard part.

elster

17,503 posts

180 months

Friday 6th March 2009
quotequote all
Took a year to rebuild a buchon from a wreck. That was 3 guys.

So if you had a full team of engineers working on it full time then I think it is quite easily achievable

eldar

17,193 posts

166 months

Friday 6th March 2009
quotequote all
elster said:
Took a year to rebuild a buchon from a wreck. That was 3 guys.

So if you had a full team of engineers working on it full time then I think it is quite easily achievable
Start with something simple, build a BSA bantam from scratch, probably less than a thousand components?

elster

17,503 posts

180 months

Friday 6th March 2009
quotequote all
If anyone would like to donate some cash I have all the guys available within 1 week. Who have all worked on Spitfires, mustangs, buchon, hurricanes, and a countless number of WW1 aircraft.

I will be a tinkerer, but I would like to be paid for this. smile

eccles

12,371 posts

192 months

Friday 6th March 2009
quotequote all
eldar said:
elster said:
Took a year to rebuild a buchon from a wreck. That was 3 guys.

So if you had a full team of engineers working on it full time then I think it is quite easily achievable
Start with something simple, build a BSA bantam from scratch, probably less than a thousand components?
I'm Helping a chap in work build a modern 2 seater kit aircraft (Vans RV8), this kit comes with just about every bit you need, and most of the rivet holes pilot drilled. It has still taken the best part of 2 years to get it to the being in one piece and painted stage, with just rigging of controls and system functions to be carried out.
Working full time it's possible to cut this down to about 6 months, and that's without any design work, manufacturing of components or testing.

Yes, it would be possible, but it would take a very long time and a veritable RBS of money!

Take look at the recent projects where they have rebuilt FW190'S and ME262's, these projects have taken years, and that's with real aircraft to copy.

Edited by eccles on Friday 6th March 21:29

elster

17,503 posts

180 months

Friday 6th March 2009
quotequote all
eccles said:
eldar said:
elster said:
Took a year to rebuild a buchon from a wreck. That was 3 guys.

So if you had a full team of engineers working on it full time then I think it is quite easily achievable
Start with something simple, build a BSA bantam from scratch, probably less than a thousand components?
I'm Helping a chap in work build a modern 2 seater kit aircraft (Vans RV8), this kit comes with just about every bit you need, and most of the rivet holes pilot drilled. It has still taken the best part of 2 years to get it to the being in one piece and painted stage, with just rigging of controls and system functions to be carried out.
Working full time it's possible to cut this down to about 6 months, and that's without any design work, manufacturing of components or testing.

Yes, it would be possible, but it would take a very long time and a veritable RBS of money!

Take look at the recent projects where they have rebuilt FW190'S and ME262's, these projects have taken years, and that's with real aircraft to copy.

Edited by eccles on Friday 6th March 21:29
I think you are comparing amateur aircraft builders to the professional ones.

If you had a team of 10 people and lots of machinery you could build anything you wanted in year pretty much.

G'kar

3,728 posts

156 months

Friday 6th March 2009
quotequote all
Think the difference between restoration of an old car and IVA (or formerly SVA) on a scratchbuild.

Then add the stringency of aerospace regs.



eccles

12,371 posts

192 months

Friday 6th March 2009
quotequote all
elster said:
eccles said:
eldar said:
elster said:
Took a year to rebuild a buchon from a wreck. That was 3 guys.

So if you had a full team of engineers working on it full time then I think it is quite easily achievable
Start with something simple, build a BSA bantam from scratch, probably less than a thousand components?
I'm Helping a chap in work build a modern 2 seater kit aircraft (Vans RV8), this kit comes with just about every bit you need, and most of the rivet holes pilot drilled. It has still taken the best part of 2 years to get it to the being in one piece and painted stage, with just rigging of controls and system functions to be carried out.
Working full time it's possible to cut this down to about 6 months, and that's without any design work, manufacturing of components or testing.

Yes, it would be possible, but it would take a very long time and a veritable RBS of money!

Take look at the recent projects where they have rebuilt FW190'S and ME262's, these projects have taken years, and that's with real aircraft to copy.

Edited by eccles on Friday 6th March 21:29
I think you are comparing amateur aircraft builders to the professional ones.

If you had a team of 10 people and lots of machinery you could build anything you wanted in year pretty much.
I think I can call myself 'professional' with 26 years experience in aircraft maintenance with quite a few of those years doing sheet metal/structural work, and access to just about all the tools and equipment you need. The other chap has 10 years on me and this is his 5th home built aircraft.

I would suggest that if you think you can build, from scratch, 'just about anything' in a year, then you have very little idea of what's involved in building aircraft, even something as relatively simple as a WWII type.

eharding

12,060 posts

254 months

Friday 6th March 2009
quotequote all
Simpo Two said:
Amazingly, what was once mass-production is now extremely difficult to do.

These guys http://www.hawker-restorations-ltd.co.uk/ will build you a Hurricane from scratch - if you ask them nicely they'll give you a tour - the complexity and engineering is truly staggering!
Indeed....I was down at Airframe Assemblies at Sandown last week, looking over the Spitfire restorations they have in progress - absolutely stunning attention to detail, and, as you say complexity. The millions of pounds these things cost isn't largely down to price inflation owing to competition between potential owners who can stump up the million or so asking price - although the degree of authenticity of any once example has an effect on the value - but simply because the time, effort and materials required to restore them costs that much....and once you've bought one, the insurance, operating and maintenance budgets are similarly eye-watering.

From-scratch replicas, as opposed to restorations of the original article, are fairly plentiful, but suffer from two factors: If you want something built on a commercial basis, then you have to jump through all of the painful and expensive certification hoops, because although what you're trying to sell might *look* like a vintage warbird, inside it won't be, it will be something quite different. Alternatively, the homebuilt route involves far less regulation, but the rules on what can genuinely be produced under the homebuilt regime mean you end up with a scale replica; if you like that sort of thing, fine, but you're not really going to kid anyone that you've got a Spitfire.

As for...

gopher said:
When I win tonight's Euro lottery jackpot to myself (it's unlikely as I have not participated, but only slightly less likely than if I had) then I would be looking at getting a firm to build be a replica Spit' IX but using modern materials (Although the engine would have to remain as designed for noise purposes).

When it happens I'll let you know how I get on hehe
...why would you bother? - its a bit like saying you'd have a 1930'd Blower Bentley replica, but with all of the body panels made out of carbon fibre; as Father Dougal would have it..."That's a bit mad, Ted"

eccles said:
I'm Helping a chap in work build a modern 2 seater kit aircraft (Vans RV8)
I went out for a blast in an RV8 (G-HILZ) a couple of weeks ago - stunning bit of kit - goes like stink, very comfortable, scope to equip it with more gadgets that your average Airbus, and certainly capable of Standard level competition aerobatics - although I'd recommend that your mate fit a full inverted oil system and a C/S prop if that is in prospect. There is also a growing band of RV owners taking part in formation training (and its a hell of a lot cheaper to run than a Yak!) - if he hasn't already, tell your mate to take a look here. Some nice photos of G-HILZ (and a dodgy Herman Goering look-alike) here


Edited by eharding on Friday 6th March 22:03

elster

17,503 posts

180 months

Friday 6th March 2009
quotequote all
eccles said:
I think I can call myself 'professional' with 26 years experience in aircraft maintenance with quite a few of those years doing sheet metal/structural work, and access to just about all the tools and equipment you need. The other chap has 10 years on me and this is his 5th home built aircraft.

I would suggest that if you think you can build, from scratch, 'just about anything' in a year, then you have very little idea of what's involved in building aircraft, even something as relatively simple as a WWII type.
Apart from the building a couple of aircraft with my dad, none at all. As well as watching a lot of friends build a variety of aircraft. Many winning PFA rally awards. I do know what is involved in doing as I have watched and taken part.


eharding

12,060 posts

254 months

Friday 6th March 2009
quotequote all
elster said:
eccles said:
I think I can call myself 'professional' with 26 years experience in aircraft maintenance with quite a few of those years doing sheet metal/structural work, and access to just about all the tools and equipment you need. The other chap has 10 years on me and this is his 5th home built aircraft.

I would suggest that if you think you can build, from scratch, 'just about anything' in a year, then you have very little idea of what's involved in building aircraft, even something as relatively simple as a WWII type.
Apart from the building a couple of aircraft with my dad, none at all. As well as watching a lot of friends build a variety of aircraft. Many winning PFA rally awards. I do know what is involved in doing as I have watched and taken part.
I'm getting confused between eldar, elster and eccles now....so, right...who wants the carbon-wing spitfire, and who wants to build it for him in 12 months?....and which one is the cake?

Uncle Fester

3,114 posts

178 months

Friday 6th March 2009
quotequote all
How hard can it be?

Very.

Building from new is different to restoration of an existing aircraft.

The weight of red tape alone is enough to stop it ever getting airbourne.

elster

17,503 posts

180 months

Friday 6th March 2009
quotequote all
Uncle Fester said:
How hard can it be?

Very.

Building from new is different to restoration of an existing aircraft.

The weight of red tape alone is enough to stop it ever getting airbourne.
Very true rebuilding usually takes a lot longer as usually you are sat around waiting for the inspector to check every 10 minutes.

If you were building a new aircraft allowed to get on with it, had the plans. If you couldn't build it with 25-30000 man hours we have a sorry state of engineering in the country.

As with kit aircraft most builders take around 1000-2000 man hours to stick aircraft together. Usually this is done in sheds.

eccles

12,371 posts

192 months

Friday 6th March 2009
quotequote all
eharding said:
eccles said:
I'm Helping a chap in work build a modern 2 seater kit aircraft (Vans RV8)
I went out for a blast in an RV8 (G-HILZ) a couple of weeks ago - stunning bit of kit - goes like stink, very comfortable, scope to equip it with more gadgets that your average Airbus, and certainly capable of Standard level competition aerobatics - although I'd recommend that your mate fit a full inverted oil system and a C/S prop if that is in prospect. There is also a growing band of RV owners taking part in formation training (and its a hell of a lot cheaper to run than a Yak!) - if he hasn't already, tell your mate to take a look here. Some nice photos of G-HILZ (and a dodgy Herman Goering look-alike) here


Edited by eharding on Friday 6th March 22:03
Yup, full inverted oil system fitted, although it's a fixed pitch prop.
He used to own a Pitts a few years ago, and the chap who owns the other half is ex red arrows, so I think aeros will be on cards in the future.

I'm seeing him tomorrow (finish fitting the wings and final fit of the empennage)and will mention the Rv forum to him.

eldar

17,193 posts

166 months

Friday 6th March 2009
quotequote all
eccles said:
eharding said:
eccles said:
I'm Helping a chap in work build a modern 2 seater kit aircraft (Vans RV8)
I went out for a blast in an RV8 (G-HILZ) a couple of weeks ago - stunning bit of kit - goes like stink, very comfortable, scope to equip it with more gadgets that your average Airbus, and certainly capable of Standard level competition aerobatics - although I'd recommend that your mate fit a full inverted oil system and a C/S prop if that is in prospect. There is also a growing band of RV owners taking part in formation training (and its a hell of a lot cheaper to run than a Yak!) - if he hasn't already, tell your mate to take a look here. Some nice photos of G-HILZ (and a dodgy Herman Goering look-alike) here


Edited by eharding on Friday 6th March 22:03
Yup, full inverted oil system fitted, although it's a fixed pitch prop.
He used to own a Pitts a few years ago, and the chap who owns the other half is ex red arrows, so I think aeros will be on cards in the future.

I'm seeing him tomorrow (finish fitting the wings and final fit of the empennage)and will mention the Rv forum to him.
Rule 1 of engineering, build a million of something, unit cost bugger all. Build one, and go bankrupt. Rebuild ing a WW2 plane is for the very seriously rich, or make something which which was similar.

If you were doing something simple, like a Mk1 Cortina, would you really ignore 50 years of progress, and not make a better car?