Itís quite something to build your first plane and then teach yourself to fly but Paul Emmott has taken the challenge one step further. For his first plane, he's converted a 25in span (625mm) West Wings rubber powered scale Spitfire to electric power. West Wings say this is the first time they've heard from anyone who's done this.

Paul, who is 28 and lives at Chatterton near Bury has now built a second West Wings Mark 22/24 Supermarine Spitfire for which he chose blue Solarfilm instead of the tissue, dope and camouflage paint job of his prototype.

The original plane employs a brushless Tornado 2826-1500 outrunner and although quite adequate for the job, Paul installed a slightly more powerful motor for the second model. The battery is a 350mAh 2S Li-Po. Each model has elevator and aileron control and both weigh less than 10g. A powerful hand throw (usually from Paulís dad) is needed but once airborne the Spits are fast and highly manoeuvrable.

Paul modified the balsa kits by using sheet balsa for control surfaces and a fuselage hatch to access the battery and 10 amp speed controller. A small amount of nose weight, equivalent to a one penny piece, was needed to achieve the correct C of G.

The prototype has now had more than 40 flights and within weeks of flying for the first time Paul is now capable of a full range of aerobatics including knife edge passes and flying inverted - not bad!

  • Ripmax distribute the West Wings Spitfire. It retails at £19.99 and is available from good model shops.