On Saturday, November 4, 2023, Planes of Fame Air Museum will be having a very special flying demo with the visit and flight of one of the four de Havilland FB.MkVI Mosquito flying in the world. Doors to the Museum open at 10:00 am and the presentation will be held inside the Maloney Hangar from 10:30 am until 12:00 pm with engine start and taxi at 12:15 pm, museum fly-over from 12:20 pm-12:40 pm and the pilot’s Q & A at 12:45 pm.
The agenda for “Hangar Talk” will focus primarily on the de Havilland FB.MkVI Mosquito aircraft, scheduled to fly following the presentation. The presentation will go over the history of the de Havilland Aircraft Company and the role it played in advancing aviation and it will also dive into the design and development of the de Havilland Mosquito – one of the fastest and most powerful allied aircraft of WWII. The program will highlight the development and combat record of the Mosquito and the many roles it served during WWII.
This Mosquito was manufactured at the de Havilland factory in Hatfield, Hertfordshire, in early 1945 and joined the RAF with serial number PZ474. Arriving nearly at the European war’s end, it only saw service with second-line units. It was delivered to No.19 MU (Maintenance Unit), at RAF, No. 6 SLG (Satellite Landing Ground) St. Brides, Glamorgan, Wales, on April 19, 1945, eventually, the airplane was transferred to the No. 80 (French) OTU (Operational Training Unit), RAF Morpeth, Northumberland, England, May 5, 1945. On June 13, 1945, it was transferred to the No. 132 (Coastal) OTU, RAF East Fortune, Scotland until it was eventually placed into storage, on February 18, 1946.
PZ474 was eventually sold to the New Zealand government, on January 23, 1948, this was part of an order for 90 Mosquitoes for the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF), and was among the last six Mosquitoes of this order to be transferred to New Zealand. After a thorough overhaul, it was flown to No. 1 Ferry Unit at Pershore, Worcestershire. In April 1948 PZ474 was flown to New Zealand and, upon arrival at RNZAF Base Ohakea, it was given a new serial number, NZ2384.
The aircraft during its tenure with the RNZAF served with 75 Squadron until it was eventually ferried to Taieri Aerodrome, near Dunedin, for final storage.
October 16, 1952, the airplane was inspected by Arthur Kaplan and Bob Bean, American representatives of Aircraft Sales, Inc. of Los Angeles, California, along with five other Mosquitoes for purchase from the Government Stores Board by Aircraft Supplies (NZ) of Palmerston North, New Zealand. PZ474 was sold as surplus to Aircraft Supplies (NZ), on July 17, 1953.
The airplane was finally transferred to the United States in 1955 where it went through a series of owners, and in increasingly deteriorating, dismantled condition, until it was purchased by Rod Lewis’ for Lewis Air Legends, San Antonio, Texas, in 2014. This Mosquito was shipped to Avspecs Limited, Ardmore, New Zealand, for restoration. On January 13, 2019, the first post-restoration flight took place with Steve Hinton, Sr. at the controls.
This presentation is made possible thanks to Mosquito PZ474’s owner, Charles Somers, who has graciously made the aircraft available to Planes of Fame via the Charles Somers Warbird Collection in Sacramento, California. Through Mr. Somers’ generosity, the museum will have this aircraft on display from its arrival earlier in October, through to November 20th at the Planes of Fame Air Museum. Steven Hinton will be flying the Mosquito at the November 20th event.
Following “Hangar Talk,” the aircraft will then taxi away and fly over the museum for approximately 20 minutes. Upon its return, guests can interact and ask questions to the museum’s Chief Pilot pilot Steve Hinton. The Museum’s B-17 Flying Fortress will also be open to visitors and guides will happily conduct visitors on an escorted tour of the Museum.