Sunday

De Havilland DH98 Mosquito

The Mosquito is one of the greatest aircraft of all time, with its fantastic wooden construction, and outstanding performance.

This aircraft began life as an FB.40 serialled A52-19, but was converted while still on the construction line at De Havilland Bankstown to a trainer T.Mk.43 and re-serialled as A52-1053. Taken on charge by the RAAF on August 6 1946, the aircraft went into storage at 3 Aircraft depot at Archerfield, Queensland.


Sold to the RNZAF on December 18, 1946, it was delivered to Ohakea on April 2,1947 (by F/L R.K. Walker and F/L F.Whitely), and again went into storage as NZ2305. After being declared surplus it was sold to Mr Robin Coleman in May 1953 for 50 pounds, and was held on his farm on Galpins line near Marton.

In 1967 the derelict aircraft was donated to Motat and recovered by a group of volunteers. It was in terrible condition with borer and rot affecting large parts of the aircraft structure, from the massive wing spars to the delicate balsa and plywood fuselage. MOTAT volunteers faced a difficult challenge to repair this damage and replace many missing parts.

Spare-timer restoration commenced and continued on and off for the next 20 years years. Work was undertaken by several groups, including teams led by Peter Dingwall and later by Dave Stewart. During this period the Mosquito was moved between various temporary workshops. In 1974 it was towed on its wheels from Western Springs to the MOTAT hanger at Ardmore, then in 1981 towed back again to the Belfast hanger at Meola Road.

The fuselage separated from the wings at some stage and repairs and repainting completed before work again came to a stop. In the 1990's a cradle (from an old cherry picker chassie) was formed to allow the fuselage to be repoitioned easily. In this form the aircraft was on display for some time in the main hanger.

The aircraft wings were rebuilt by the RNZAF Museum in Christchurch to an amazing condition and returned to Motat in exhange for the P47 on display the museum for some time. After further time in storage the two major components were reassembled in 2006.

By 2007 the aircraft was generally complete and spent some months outdoors while the Belfast Hanger was repositioned and renovated. Back inside in 2009 the propellers (actually Lockheed blades) were fitted and work continues on interior fittings.

Photos
- Aircraft undergoing further interior work 2009 (Richard Wesley)- Completed aircraft on display outside during major hanger works 2007 (Richard Wesley)
- wings and fuselage reunited and work continuing on engines and preparation for repainting 2006 (Richard Wesley)
- fuselage in storage 2003 (Richard Wesley)
- aircraft at Ardmore 1980's (Shorty, Wings Over Cambridge Forum)

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