It is the dream of all private pilots to walk into a hangar, perform a pre-flight check, and taxy out in their very own WW2 fighter aircraft. Unfortunately, the cost of acquisition of, say, a P-51 Mustang, can be up to $2 million and the running costs are quite staggering. Flying a Second World War fighter, then, has had to remain a pipe-dream for most pilots.
This was the situation in the early 1970s, when W.A.R. Aircraft Replicas International, Inc. was formed in Florida, by Jim Kern, Ken Thomas and Warren Erberspacher. The company had the idea of building 1/2 scale replicas of famous WW2 aircraft, using a common wooden internal framework, clad in different shapes of polyurethane foam to create the desired shape for each aircraft type. A layer of fibreglass is laid over the foam shape and strengthened with epoxy resin, then painted in an appropriate camouflage scheme. The wings (which are removeable for transport) have a very strong, laminated plywood main spar, and all of the types are stressed to +6/-6 G. It was decided to sell sets of plans for the aircraft, following production of the prototypes, rather than concentrate on the production of finished aircraft. The first aircraft type they reproduced was the famous Luftwaffe fighter, the Focke-Wulf Fw 190A-3. The original was designed by Kurt Tank, and was a great shock to the pilots of Spitfire Mk Vs of the RAF’s Fighter Command, when first met in battle over the Channel Coast in 1941. The Spitfire Mk V was completely outclassed by the Fw 190, and it became a technological race between aeronautical designers and engineers for the rest of WW2 to come up with better-performing aircraft.
The W.A.R. design team had decided that a modified version of the VW engine (putting out about 70hp) might successfully power their version of the ‘Würger‘ (Shrike), but the VW engine was found to be rather underpowered for the 1/2 scale Fw 190. Instead, many of the pilot/builders chose the Continental Motors Inc. O-200-A of 100 hp, although Lycoming O-235 and O-290 of 115/130 hp are alternatives. The O-200 gives a sprightly 165 mph maximum speed, with 135 mph cruise at 3.2 gallons/hour. This gives a respectable 3 – 4 hours cruising range.
The aircraft shown here, G-CCFW (PFA # 081-12729) was built by David Conway of Carterton, Oxfordshire in 2003. It is superbly finished as ‘White 9′ of 1./JG 54 “Grünherz“, of the Luftwaffe, as flown by Feldwebel Karl ‘Quax’ Schnönner (46 victories) who became an ‘ace’ flying as the ‘Rottenflieger‘ (wing man) of the famous Major Walter ‘Nowi’ Nowotny. G-CCFW is seen here taxying out for departure from Cotswold Airport, Kemble in Gloucestershire.
W.A.R. Replica aircraft can be immense fun to fly; possibly the only problem with the design was the fact a ‘flat-four’ engine had to be used, rather than a radial engine. Now, it would seem that the Australian-built 7-cylinder Rotec R2800, of 110 hp, is an option for your W.A.R. Fw 190, which will lend an added air of authenticity to your replica fighter!