I remember when the project first caught the attention of the aviation media and it was stated at the time that they were given permission to designate the replicas as Mk25 and Mk 26. My understanding is that the Me262 replicas in the US have been given factory serial numbers because they are so close to the original (but still replicas).
This thread has been hijacked by some overly precious armchair pilots. There a number of replica aircraft out there which use the original name. Mustang, FW190 to name two. There are also other aircraft with the name but no resemblance to the original. Mustang again, Texan etc. It's easy to sit back and criticise but when these armchair experts get up off their backsides and buy a genuine Spitfire they will have paid for the right to complain. I'm sure that if given the chance to fly a MK 25/26 they wouldn't knock it back because of the name.
It reminds me of the story, real or not, when two enthusiasts were at an airshow and criticising the paint scheme detail on a warbird when a someone nearby (the owner) turned and asked them "what colour is yours?"
Meanwhile the MK25/26 owners are having more fun than you can poke a stick at.
There are currently 2 more airframes partially syndicated - EN-E and EN-J. Not sure of the latest syndicate numbers, but I do believe that some further shares have recently been taken up so we may be close to cutting metal on at least one of those. Hangar space is a limitation though; carrying out much of the build with the wings fitted (as has been the case with EN-A) may be a luxury that cannot be repeated for the later frames (the wings are removable for transport and only actually need to be fitted for rigging of the ailerons and flaps; I understand that most of the remainder of the build can be done with them removed and stored separately). I'm also told that so much has been learned by the EN-A build team that they anticipate much quicker completion of the second and subsequent aircraft; that said, however, she is a stressed-skin monocoque like the original and there is hardly a straight line on her, so it isn't exactly Airfix or Lego!
I believe that there is a lot of pent-up interest that is currently sitting on various fences - having doubts, exactly like you, BEags. When EN-A flies (and I'm sure the media will be there in force, not just the Oxford Mail!) I anticipate that we will see a step change in pace on the project as a whole. In the mean time, we syndicate members-in-waiting have little choice but to sit on the sidelines, do our LAA metalwork courses (sensibly a mandatory requirement for tin-bashing novices like me) and wait for the remaining slots to fill up. Doh.
BEags, following your (as always) extremely pertinent and helpful advice on revalidating my lapsed PPL, I am now in the process of reacquainting myself with the mighty 'Dog and (weather permitting, which so far it hasn't been) sharpening my aerobatics and formation skills in anticipation.
With luck (and I stress that this is purely my personal view) there could be 3 ac flying by the end of 2013.
Location: Quite near 'An aerodrome somewhere in England'
Well, it'd certainly be great to see a 3-ship of MK26 aeroplanes flying together in 2013; let's hope that will catalyse interest and more will then follow.
As the MK26 is a non-EASA Annex II aeroplane, there will be no need for an aerobatic rating; however, any pilots wishing to conduct aerobatics on the MK26 would be strongly recommended to take the AOPA/BAeA Basic Aerobatic Course if they have no previous aerobatic experience.
Once again, good advice. However I should add that, since no Mk26Bs are yet flying in the UK, and despite the manufacturer's claimed +6/-4 limited aerobatic clearance (limited because the engine has no inverted oil system), the Mk 26B will not be cleared for aeros in the UK until and unless the LAA says otherwise.
Chap at my local airfield has a Mk26, I believe it was bought from Aus and shipped to the UK where he flew it on its Aus reg for a while and was able to fly aeros in it. As soon as it got transferred onto the LAA he had to stop, crazy eh, same aircraft, same airspace just different paperwork.....
Have the same issue with my own aircraft where its fully aerobatic everywhere in the world other than the UK!
I have about 50 hr in our two now, I fly them at many air shows and museum flyins , it's a 90% scale airplane and about 90% of the people that see it love it, the other diehards still like it but the same bull about not being real, the problem is find one flying to bring to an airshow, here is the cool thing I fly mine to an airshow, fly in the show give a few rides , and then don't have to work on a thing, she is a blast
I order to address earlier posts, the reason the originals were (still are) trickier to fly is because of the way they were made. Over-engineered for reliability to account for variability due to the build process, i.e. war-time, and to allow those early pilots with very little training to make a good fist of flying it, and to be able to get it back on the ground in one piece, despite having less training hours than most newly qualified PPLs these days. Current copies don't need the reinforcing for machine guns either!
From those who I've heard of who have flown both, (not many to chose from nowadays) it is clear that the 90% copy flies the way the original ones did on a good day.
Aside from the legal complexity, whether it deserves the name is down to subjective personal opinion. The current Healey 3000 "replica" has a space frame chassis, ABS brakes and reliability the original could never match. Some say it's better, (technically it is) others say it doesn't have the character of the original, which depends on your definition of character!. On the legal side, Healey have sold them the Healey Motor Company name to market it as the HMC 3000.
Same goes for Vanwall. The current replica, or reproduction, as it is called, goes faster and handles better. What upsets purists, and outrages me is that you can spec it with a Ferrari engine. The very team that Vanwall were set up to beat. And did.
Can you call the Mk26 a Spitfire, you can if it matters to you. Think of it another way, how many people call their vacuum cleaner a Hoover? Tens of thousands more then Mr. Dyson would be happy with. Less emotive, but same legal implication.
As has been written in several posts, most currently flying Spitfires have been rebuilt so many times can they genuinely be original? If they can, then are the current Hurricane copies/reproductions (100% scale and built to the same drawings and methods) more genuine than restored Spitfires, as those Hurricanes are not restored and rebuilt, but are fabricated as they were done all those years ago?
I can only imagine my old CO telling us to "buckle up and fly the darn thing" if he were still here to vent his wrath. If you've got the stick in your hand, that view out of the window, and THAT wing profile to look at, the emotive side of you really doesn't care what name it carries. If it does, you're flying for very different reasons from me.