CEO - Mike O'Sullivan
I was very fortunate to grow up in an engineering minded family who owned all things flying and mechanical and who were very inventive. They totally amazed me with their ability to make and repair anything and with seemingly little effort. I feel very grateful to my childhood and upbringing as I was totally fascinated by all things mechanical. The greatest thing I learnt was don't let anything stop you from making something work or achieving your dream goal or whatever you want to call it, be it car, boat, tractor or aircraft, restore or build, in my case an overwhelming desire to build a SPITFIRE.
The spitfire I wanted had to be the same as Mr. Mitchell's. Original as possible without the $3.6 million cost to buy. But above all I wanted to fly and experience what all our heroes of WWII had experienced. It had been said by many to be the best and most harmonized of all fighters built. I have certainly found all this to be true, after flying the spitty I found everything else very ordinary. The spitty combines sheer pleasure with high speed flight with the most docile stalls spin necessary and landing of anything I have ever flown
Every time I fly I find myself drifting back in time to when these aircraft and our fore fathers were fighting to save the world from a terrible fate in the hands of one man. Of course I have the benefit of flying a Spitfire without someone shooting at me and can only imagine the horrors they faced. They were in an air craft with truly magical performance, certainly compared to most other fighters of the time which were unstable in design. The Spitfire was built to be just the opposite and this is what we have captivated in the last 20 or so years. Seven years of which, was taken to perfect not only our building and quality but also structural testing i.e. fuselage, wings, engines to destruction and the writing of a construction manual, Out of all this, has come the new Mk26b.I feel the spitfire is not just an airplane but more like a working and flying history adventure.
I received an invitation to lunch with Alex Henshaw at his home and we ended up spending the day together, we were both like kids talking all things Spitfire, it was interesting in that a lot of the same problems Alex and his team had. We have encountered the same problems in production but as Alex said if it was easy everyone would be doing it. A truly amazing man, who has followed us with pride and said we have now made the Spitfire immortal and the memory will never fade. He said it was a pleasure to see them in production again. He could fully understand why we only produced 90% scale aircraft in today's world. Engine reliability and horsepower was the main factor, with purchase cost and hanger space also being an issue. Alex made the comment that for all the problems in manufacturing the Spitfire it has never been surpassed in pure flying for the joy of the pilot. He also made the comment that he had flown many other types of aircraft but nothing comes close to a spitfire to be at one pilot and machine.
I was extremely sad to hear of his passing and very privileged to have had his full support. I, for one will miss him and his advice
My fascination with aircraft most certainly started very young as I grew up in the outback of Australia on big cattle stations or “ranches” as they are called in the USA. On these huge properties the owner is king, and we did pretty much as we pleased.
We had an Avro Anson which was airworthy and I was surrounded by Mustang and Spitfire aircraft and sheds full of parts. Unfortunately these were destroyed and sold before I was old enough to realize what we had.
At an early age I learnt to fly and we used aircraft for mustering cattle and if these were damaged we did our own repairs. My first kit built was a Carlson Sparrow 2-seat 912 powered. I received very little in the kit but built most of it in 1991 and went on to fly her for many happy hours. I then built a Bi-Plane with metal wings. This experience gained made it very clear to me what would really be needed when building a kit aircraft. At this time I was sure I could build a metal Spitty, especially with my memories of my childhood playground, but without the huge operational costs of fuel and maintenance. My “concept” Spitfire flew so well that word spread very quickly and people from all over phoned or drove to ask if they could have one with retractable gear, and that’s how it all started – all those fifteen years ago now.
I was told for many years by the experts that a Spitfire was just too difficult to build from scratch. I also knew that I could not live with myself if I did not try. The one thing in life I wanted to have was to have my very own Spitfire. Being one of the most unique aircraft ever built with regards to pure flying pleasure that man could ever experience, the Spitfire balances power with beautifully harmonized controls.