Today’s airplane photo comes courtesy of fellow aviation enthusiast Glen T., who is located all the way across the globe in New Zealand. It’s a beautifully restored DeHavilland Mosquito parked on the grass at Wings Over Wairarapa…a fitting place for a real airplane to be parked, and an even better place for it to be flown.
The Mosquito came to life in Britain in 1941. Constructed entirely out of wood laminates, the Mosquito proved to be surprisingly durable and developed a fierce reputation. Though she was originally conceived as a fast-attack bomber, the Mosquito served almost every role imaginable: photo reconnaissance, light bombing, dogfighting, strafing, maritime patrol and anti-submarine warfare, and ‘nuisance raids’ during which the Mosquitos would drop two-ton bomb loads over strategic targets. The Mosquito also saw service as a pathfinder aircraft, which would overfly bombing targets and drop flares or use radio aids to let bomber groups know where to drop their payload.
The Mosquito was produced in many variants throughout the war. Some had a clear bombardiers-bubble at the front for a bombardier to sight targets or operate photo recon equipment; others had the front bubble replaced with a stack of Browning .303 machine guns and 20mm cannon. She could carry up to 4,000 pounds of bombs and was occasionally fitted with depth charges to hunt U-boats. Various models cruised between 300 and 360 knots at 20-28,000 feet.
Approximately 7,000 Mosquitos were produced, and of those, maybe 40 have survived the years. The wood-laminate structure proved durable in flight but not in the elements and many Mosquitos have succumbed to a lack of care or been scrapped. Unless I am mistaken, the Mosquito pictured is the only airworthy model that actually flies.
That said, there may be more to come for the Mosquito. The restoration of this mosquito required construction of jigs and tooling, and there are internet rumors that these could possibly allow for construction of a ‘new’ mosquito. Sure, it would be tremendously expensive and take a lot of man-hours, but warbird aviation is a labor of love and I’m sure that there is someone out there playing with the idea.
Come what may, we are lucky to have any Mosquitos left flying. I hope that this bird stays aloft for many years to come.