Few people have heard of it, yet many consider John Blankenbaker's KENBAK-1 to be the first commercial personal computer.

Koss introduced these headphones over 40 years ago, and they remain affordable favorites to this day.

Update: Supermarine Spitfire Mk26b Kitplane

We first mentioned Supermarine Aircraft in mid 2005. Over 35 of their 80% scale Spitfire Mark 26 fighter replicas are now flying, and another 40+ kits are under construction around the world.

All business Many potential buyers asked about the possibility of a 100% scale version. The company decided against it, simply because such a large aircraft would require significantly higher landing speeds and extremely skilled airmanship.

Instead, they developed the Spitfire Mark 26b. This 90% version offers a roomier cockpit with tandem seating for the pilot and a passenger. It has a maximum cruise speed of 170 knots and a 260 hp GM V6 engine that gives a 2400 fpm climb rate with a service ceiling of 18,000 ft.

The airframe is tested to +6 / -4 Gs, allowing limited (and fun) aerobatics such as loops and wingovers. Most of the really hard work has already been done for you, but you'll have to put in another 1200 hours of fiddly effort to turn your kit into a lean, mean playing machine. The final product will be an 90% scale easy-to-fly reminder of the original without the multi-million dollar price tag.

Removable wings make storage easy.

The company says, "The kit is sold only as a fast build option in which the metal airframe components are jig assembled at the factory. All fuselage bulkheads are pre-cut, formed and mounted on a central spine during Factory kit construction. The main spar, wing assembly and empennage sub assemblies are also pre-built using jigs in the factory. The fuselage is supplied to the kit builder as a pre-constructed assembly. This ensures structural integrity is maintained."

The modern Spitfire is extremely well-behaved. It flies itself off the ground easily and the 48 knot stall speed (clean) ensures that you'll have time to think as you pass over the fence on short final. It shows no tendency to balloon, so beautiful 3-point landings should be easy with a bit of practice.

The price for all this fightery goodness? $175,000 (Australian) gets you a 90% fast build kit. Add $45,500 for a GM ISUZU V6 naturally aspirated engine and $2,750 for optional dual controls. You'll also need to source your own instruments and paint.

Supermarine Spitfire Mk26b [Supermarine Aircraft]


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