The PE SAAF Museum reached an important milestone with the installation of the propellers for the full scale model SAAF Supermarine Spitfire IX.
The project, which started in March 2010, is being built for the museum by the Woodpecker Trust, the Friends of the Museum and volunteers. The project has been possible thanks to the support from the SAAF Museum, donors, local and international visitors as well as technical experts.
The aircraft, a replica of the famous WW2 fighter only has its main wings to be installed and will then be largely complete – save for painting and minor items.
The Curator of the Museum, Captain Mark Kelbrick said, “The Spitfire model will become a key exhibit in the Gunnery Hall when completed, and will have the markings and colour scheme of the Spitfire which the SAAF fighter pilot, Group Captain Sailor Malan flew during the war.
The project which began as a humble first-try, is becoming a world class model thanks to Rob Tribelhorn who has toiled endlessly and also the kind assistance of organizations such as the RAF Officers Club in Johannesburg, and specialist businesses such as Plastics By Graymaur which filled a technical gap of moulding the propellers.
Wayne Williams of Graymaur visited the Museum during a kiddies birthday party and was so impressed with the project that he offered to make a mould of the propellers using their hi-tech 3D computer CNC Router machine.
Rob Tribelhorn, “The mould was then used to cast four fiberglass propellers which made a 3.2 meter total diameter. They were then painted and fitted to the front spinner.”
To read more on the Spitfire project go to www.saafmuseum.org.za
If anyone wishes to donate money or materials towards the project and also view the aircraft being built in the workshop, they should visit the museum and ask to speak to either Rob Tribelhorn himself, a staff member, or a Friend of the Museum. The museum is open Tues – Thursday and Sat/Sun.
By Don Bell
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