It is now about 18 years since I started on this project to build (restore) a flying Mosquito.
The fuselage of the Mosquito is built in two halves on wooden or concrete moulds. This is the only way you can get
the double curvature in the ply.
As the moulds had all been scrapped after production ceased in 1950 I was faced with the problem of building them.
I was told by people who knew about these things that it was impossible! Well they were nearly right! It certainly
was not easy.
I had to start from the original lofting data and with the help of Chris McMullen, a top boatbuilder, I lofted it out and
built the moulds.
The mould itself is not too much of a problem it is the positioning, very accurately, of the bulkheads and numerous
other members, including the main wing pickup fittings in slots in the mould. I had to position them in space and
build the mould around them. Working with a 36 foot long wooden mould with the natural atmospheric conditions
made a difference to measurements, depending on which day you measured them. This is why the Canadians
first used concrete moulds
Unlike an all metal aircraft, with wooden construction one is not able to reuse parts of the wooden structure in the
restoration. The only option is to build the whole wooden airframe anew.
I am building absolutely faithfully to the original drawings and specifications. All original materials are used except
for the glue. I am using Epoxy which is a far superior glue and makes a beautiful job of it. As well as being stronger
it has excellent waterproofing qualities which overcomes one of the problems the Mosquito gave in service,
The first fuselage off the moulds has gone to the Mosquito Bomber Group at Windsor, Ontario, who are building a
wing for their static Mosquito bomber. We have now built a fuselage, tailplane fin, wing and flaps for Gerald Yagen’s
Fighter Factory in Virginia USA. That is the entire wooden airframe which is now down at AvSpecs being fitted out.
I have started on my own Mosquito, NZ2308, working on the wing spars and ribs. The jigging for the wing is an
enormous job, the main wing assy. jig took 6 months to make and involved some very accurate engineering,
especially with the drill plates for drilling the spars for the engine and undercarriage brackets etc which must be
drilled absolutely precisely.
It is basically of standard wooden construction but the detail , accuracy and tolerances required are mind boggling.
However, as I keep reminding myself, it’s all been done before
When the wooden airframe is finished then comes the assembly of the thousands of metal parts and fittings. You
just wouldn’t believe how many metal parts there are in an aircraft built “entirely of wood”. We have 6 containers full
of these metal parts which I have accumulated over the years from around the world. And we still don’t have all of
them! We are looking for any Mosquito parts. Each one has to be cleaned up, inspected and NDT'd repaired where
necessary, the paper work written up and a serviceable tag fitted and the reject rate is high. However almost all of
these metal parts will be original and will form a large percentage of the completed aircraft.
We are now in a position to build a Mosquito either airworthy or static.
The Mosquito we are restoring is an Australian built T MK43, which is a dual control Mosquito, the Australian equivalent of the British T MK3. It began life on the Bankstown assembly line as a FB MK40, A52-20, and was converted to T43 status as A52-1054. It was one of four purchased by the RNZAF in June 1947 and flown across the Tasman Sea in 4 hours. Not bad for an aircraft type which first flew in 1940! It’s RNZAF number is NZ2308. It was disposed of in 1955 and ended its days on a farm at Riwaka in the north of the South Island, but at least it was saved from the bonfire, the fate of most of the 80 odd other RNZAF Mosquito’s.
My plan is to fly this Mosquito back across the Tasman to Bankstown where it was born all those years ago.