Restoration History

The project has just moved into the ITL Aviation hangar at Fielding in December 2003 ready for the project start. Although originally built at the Castle Bromwich factory in September 1944, the aircraft had also been re furbished in Israel. The restoration at ITL Aviation will return the aircraft to "new", zero time condition By February 2004 the fuselage jig is being built up around the fuselage which has had the outer skins removed. Around 25 years on a pole had taken its toll on the lower fuselage in particular. The airframe had been attached to its pole mount by bolts through the lower longerons which were then cut through when it was removed
June 2004 and frame refurbishment is underway. Because of the way the aircraft had been mounted for display, considerable damage had been done to the bottom longeron behind the main join. Both bottom longerons have been replaced with newly fabricated units July 2004 and datum longerons have been re furbished and some frames. The bottom longerons, datum longerons and top longeron form the main longitudinal structure of the fuselage with the frames (from frame 5 the firewall, to frame 19 where the tail section is bolted on) providing the shaping for the skins. The Mk IX is essentially a Mk 5 with two stage Merlin and heavier gauge skins as well as a number of minor modifications
October 2004 and rebuild of the cockpit coming and part of frame 5 (which includes the carry through spars) is nearing completion. The firewall originally contained an asbestos fireproof material between the sheet layers. In one of the few concessions to progress, this has been replaced with a modern material. The area forward of the cockpit housed the two fuel tanks.  January 2005 -  a number of fuselage frames have been refurbished, repaired or replaced. Original skins are used to check alignment and fit. The battery tray structure can be seen to the right of the rear fuselage.
February 2005 - disassembly of one of the wings begins. Like the fuselage, the wings will be completely stripped down to individual components. The main components of each "D" section are the spars, spar webs and nose ribs plus a myriad of other fixtures and fittings, virtually all Spitfire specific August 2005 - fuselage structure completed and re skinning of the fuselage has started in earnest. Sheet to the original specification has been sourced from England to maintain the authenticity of the rebuild
October 2005 - fuselage taking shape. The rebuild of PV270 has been as faithful to the original factory specification as is possible and original materials are used throughout - including British aluminum, rivets and AGS fittings  December 2005 - fuselage skinning largely complete.  Access doors left off to assist access to the inside structure. The "shape" of the Spitfire is complex requiring a number of curved panels to be "wheeled" into shape using the same techniques used in wartime Spitfire production.
February 2006 - Pete Burgess working on the alignment of the rebuilt canopy. The canopy guide on the port side includes a section fitted to the cockpit door. The latch assembly on the door could be set to have the door partially open which in turn stopped the canopy slipping forward in the event of a take off accident March 2006 - Tail section taking shape in the jig. Key elements such as spars were re built because of corrosion to the originals
May 2006 - looking forward into the rebuilt fuselage with pilots seat fitted and empty instrument panel. The structure midway down the fuselage was the support for the slide in radio tray allowing it to be easily removed for servicing. An original TR1143 radio set as fitted to this aircraft in the factory has been obtained for historical completeness (although modern radio, transponder and ELT will be fitted) July 2006 - one of the wing "D" sections rebuilt and waiting to be mated with the spars and spar webs. The leading edge skins are one piece and "wheeled" into the complex shape required. The "D" sections are the key to the enormous strength of the Spitfire wing
August 2006 - starboard wing structure after refurbishment and being trial assembled using the original spars. The structure for the ammunition magazines for the Browning machine guns can be seen in the centre. Although new main and rear spars have been fabricated, the spar webs and most of the wing ribs have been restored September 2006 - Joe Deere working on the upper one of the two fuel tanks. Total fuel capacity is only 85 gallons so additional tanks are to be fitted where the cannons were originally mounted on the aircraft. This will almost double the range of the aircraft. Only the bottom tank was gauged so no indication of fuel remaining was given to the pilot until the top tank was empty
November 2006 - These components are from one of the wing "D" sections. They are mostly original parts with some new replacements built where the originals were damaged. The original components are bead blasted to remove surface corrosion, inspected/crack tested, re anodised and painted before returning to the airframe December 2006 - new spars being mated with the spar webs prior to joining with the previously completed "D" sections. Each wing has two spars which are made of multiple sections fitting inside each other and then bent to achieve the required wing dihedral. The assemblies also carry the fittings to attach the wing ribs.  The spar sections reduce the further out on the wing, starting with six and dropping down to half of one section at the wing tip
January 2007 - tail section rebuild nearing completion with completed fuselage in the background. Fuselage belly skins, access doors and some side panels have been completed but left off to enable access for wiring and systems fit out. The bottom skins on the tail plane include fixing by brass screws to wooden bearers as there was no access for riveting February 2007 - starboard wing ribs and structure being assembled onto the completed starboard "D" section. Because of the good condition of the original wings, virtually all of the fittings associated with the mounting of the machine guns and cannons have been preserved, including the adjusters used to harmonise and aim the guns
March 2007 - the tail section has been completed ready for internal control fittings. Restoration of the rudder is progressing and restoration of the elevator has yet to start April 2007 - skinning has begun on the starboard wing
May 2007 - the completed tail assembly has been bolted to the main fuselage June 2007- The engine mount assembly is fitted to the fuselage frame 5 and to the jig. The tubular structure has to cope with the huge torsion loads imposed by the 1,500 hp Merlin engine
July 2007 - The second of two newly built flaps nears completion August 2007 - Wing skinning well advanced
September 2007 - trial fitting one of the radiator intake assemblies. Each intake assembly houses two radiators - on one wing a coolant radiator and oil cooler and on the other side another coolant radiator and the intercooler radiator. October 2007 - view of the fuselage and wings in their respective jigs with the tail assembly removed for final shimming
November 2007 - construction of the wing tips underway.  December 2007 - general view of progress at the end of the year
January 2008 - starboard wing with radiators and shroud fitted  February 2008 - the medium sea grey final coat being applied to the underside of the flap area
March 2008 - Port aileron nearing completion April 2008 - the arrival of our re furbished Merlin 70 engine was a significant milestone
May 2008 - Engine is installed in airframe June 2008 - Undercarriage assemblies are aligned in wings