Spitfire Aircraft Ultrabat VH-ANT at RAAF Richmond, NSW in October 1990 (David C Eyre)
Country of origin:
Single-seat sporting monoplane
One 45 kw (60 hp) Rotax 532 two-cylinder, horizontally-opposed, liquid-cooled engine
Length 4.9 m (16 ft)
Wing area 8.83 m² (525 sq ft)
Empty weight 145 kg (320 lb)
The Ultrabat was conceived by George Markey in Sydney, NSWdesigned by Graham Swannell and built by Scott Winton and George Markey, as a high performance sporting aircraft. Originally built as an ultralight, it later received a Certificate of Airworthiness in the development category and became VH-ANT (c/n NA231). Subsequently, work proceeded to obtain certification as a homebuilt, and some thought was given to it being produced in kit form.
The design commenced basically as a development of the Sapphire ultralight to give it some aerobatic capability, and was extensively re-designed. In fact it shares nothing with the latter, except for a family resemblance. Power was provided by a 45 kw (60 hp) liquid-cooled Rotax 532 two-stroke engine, with a fuel system for inverted flying installed behind the cockpit.
Most of the prototype was built of fibreglass, the exceptions being the aluminium boom carrying the tail assembly, and the fabric-covered control surfaces. The wing utilised a fibreglass skin with foam core and carbon spar. Production aircraft were expected to be all-composite. The aircraft was stressed to +6 –3 G; and the wing was removable for hangarage or for road conveyance.
During Easter 1987 the prototype was flown as an entrant in the advanced category at the Australian National Aerobatic Championships at Bendigo, VIC, and finished third behind a Pitts S-1 and a Stephens Akro, having earlier been placed second in the same category at the New South Wales State Aerobatic Championships in March that year. The manufacturer announced it hoped to develop the design, and provide more power to make it eligible to compete more competitively in international aerobatic championships.
A second machine was built in the United States, becoming N117B. This was imported to Australia in 1998, becoming VH-RAR (c/n FPP.1) and was described as an Australite Ultrabat Spitfire. It was involved in an accident at Mangalore, VIC in the 1980s and required a rebuild.