Regular readers of Warbirds News know we’ve been following the progress of Jerry Yagen and the Military Aviation Museum’s de Havilland DH.98 Mosquito, from its shipment from New Zealand to the announcement of its first public appearance. The plane has been being assembled over the past few weeks at the Military Aviation Museum’s facility in Virginia Beach, Virginia, with the assistance of technicians from Avspecs Ltd of New Zealand, who had completed the assembly and initial test flights of the plane at their shop in the Southern Hemisphere before disassembling it and packing it into three shipping containers for the month-long oversea journey to its new home in the states.
The project, which has resulted in what is believed to be the world’s only airworthy Mosquito, has been an 8-year and reportedly four million dollar odyssey for Yagen and the museum. The Mosquito’s unique glued balsa and birch wood construction conceived to minimize metal usage during wartime, made for an extremely lightweight plane, that while an exceptional performer, had no shot at longevity as the animal glues that held their molded wood fuselages together made for a plane that literally decomposed, and quite rapidly if exposed to the elements.
Perhaps for the sheer challenge of the project, Hagen located a mouldering pile of wood that had once been a Mosquito but still had much of its metal bracketry and other non-wooden items intact and had a body fabricated from scratch by Mr. Glyn Powell of Papakura, New Zealand, based upon jigs and molds he had completed by hand over the course of a decade for a static display Mosquito commissioned by the Canadian Historical Aircraft Association. An airworthy Mosquito, being something of the holy grail for aviation enthusiasts, as word got out that Hagen was resurrecting one, needed rare parts necessary for the restoration were offered up to aid in the project. Landing gear brakes from England, a pair of engines from Australia, instruments and a propeller from Canada, a seat found (un)surprisingly enough on eBay, “One by one, these pieces all came out of the woodwork” says Yagen.
The plane has been finished in the colors and marking of the 487th Squadron of the Royal New Zealand Air Force that, flying their Mosquitos, took part in the daring Allied raid dubbed “Operation Jericho” where Allied bombers attacked the Amiens prison in German-occupied France, causing extensive damage to the facility and enabling over a hundred Resistance prisoners, who were scheduled for execution, to escape.
The plane underwent ground testing for FAA inspectors last week, which it passed with flying colors and while the air tests for certification to fly in US airspace was originally scheduled for last Friday, uncooperative weather on that day and over the weekend caused delays in doing the flight certification. This morning the plane took to the air and was put through it’s paces without incident, though it is still awaiting final certification from the FAA which is expected shortly. The public debut for the Mosquito is scheduled for the Military Aviation Museum’s Warbirds Over the Beach Air Show on the 18th and 19th of this month.
Here is the video of the take off.
Thanks to Jon Brawner, one of the mechanics at Fighter Factory, for sending the video to us!
Wow – what a great restoration! Hope the glue holds! Can’t wait to see it up close and in person!
What a great job by the Fighter Factory team! Jerry Yagen should be happy!
Great job by who? This aircraft was built and test flown by Avspecs in New Zealand.
I think you’re mixing up the mosquitoes, this article is about 4 years old and Avspec’s Mosquito was only recently finished. Note the camouflage on the Mosquito in the video.
This is Avspec’s first Mosquito for Jerry. Once that was gone, they built a second. That is now gone to the USA, and they are onto their third.
Glen is correct. This is KA114, proudly built right here in New Zealand, about 7km from my house. 114 got the full FB camo scheme, with the second one (built for Paul Allen) left NZ in the silver anti-damp finish with temporary roundels
So glad to see the Mosquito flying. It’s. one if my favorite planes!
Thats awesome ! Would love to see a flying example in the U.S.
This Mosquito flew at the Fighter Factory in Virgnia 🙂
Pretty fascinating looking plane.
That’s one cool plane! Hopefully now that one has been done others will follow.
My nephew showed me this website and it has been fantastic reading through it all over the last few days. As a WWII Veteran I think it is great what you folks are doing. Keeping the spirit of flight alive is what this country needs more of these days to cure what ails it. Keep up the great work. I look forward to all the news coming soon!
Yours in Flight,
Thanks for the kind words Warren!
So incredibly impressive.
My grandfather flew (and ditched) as a test pilot for de Havilland in the early 1940’s and this literally gave me chills to connect with this part of my heritage!
Well done, and thank you
I am glad you liked the article, thanks for the kind words!
Please, tell me this Magnificent Bird will be at Oshkosh.
Just watched a British TV show all about the guys who made re-flying an original Mosquito. Absolutely brilliant and I would just like to thank everyone who made the re-build possible, what a stunning aircraft!! You guys. hopefully are justifiably proud and if you aren’t. you should be!….. Oh. and I’d love to help you restore another if you ever need ! Fingers crossed.
This is the only flying example of the Mosquito in the world? thats pritty cool, but soon there will be a second joining the ranks
http://vicair.net/projects/mosquito they’re mosquito has just gone into the paint shop for its paint bath
Thanks for the info!
what a great site at last a air worthy mosquito back ware she belongs in the air it doesn’t get any better than that
I served my apprenticeship at DH Hatfield and was lucky enough to fly in what was then the only Mossy. Unfortunately lost some yars ago. My old boss and good friend at STC was a navigator on Mossies in WWll, selected for that position because he was only 5′ 5″ tall.
Hope we’get to see in UK.
Saw your mention of Hatfield and it brought back memories of living nearby when my father was stationed at Bovington in the early 50’s. The factory was building the Comets then and we heard the jet engines running at what seemed like all hours. We lived in what was called the “Tudor House” and it was located on the grounds of a nursery. Do you know it?
The Lake Champlain CVA-39 was returning to America via the Suez Canal in 1953 when a Mosquito flippped over onto its back and skimmed our flight deck by no more than 20 feet. Our skippper was outraged, but I was in absolute admiiration of the pilot.
Just watched the Utube of the first flight of the rebuild of a Mosquito whcih was made on 7 th May 2013.
I had tears in my eyes as I was watching that beautiful plane. My father, Ralph Marcus Hare, was on the original design team of 9 men working in secret at Salisbury Hall near London Colney, Herts. He was in fact the last surviving member of that team which included Sir Geoffery de Havilland. He never flew in the Mossie but often spoke about and gave many lectures on its construction of which he took part in whilst producing the prototype. There have been others claiming to be on the design team since my father’s death, notably in a recent documentary, but they were not part of the original team as my father was the youngest member and would have been 100 this year!
Glyn Powell was in touch with my father for many years during his mammoth venture of a complete build. Dad was able to give help and Glyn frequently sent back reports on its progress.
We were in Auckland in December 2011 but were unable to find Glyn and thus unable to see the Mosquito.
I would like to thank Glyn and all those who have helped to get this plane off the ground and into the place it was intended. I kniw how much Dad would have loved to have been at its maiden flight as he was at the original in 1940.
Best wishes to all Mossie enthusiasts!
Marian Nicholls (nee Hare)
Hi Folks !
Nice plane.I worked on the Mossies on a Squadron in The Norwegian Air Force in the early
fifties.A beautiful plane with no “trics” No eletronics that faied ! I would have loved to see her
in the air again..
With greatings from Brazil,where I now is living. Tomas
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Kermit Weeks has his Mossie parked in the Eagle hangar at EAA Oshkosh museum. I last saw this fly during the 60th anniversary of the Battle of Britain some years ago. I still believe it is airworthy, however I haven’t heard of it flying since I last saw it. Pretty amazing especially when it flew with a Spitfire and Hurricane. Probably won’t see that pairing again in my life time.
Great job guys. Congrats. Hope to see your Mosquito on the show circuit.
We have one we’re trying to put back together. It’s in boxes right now waiting for its new life here in Calgary AB Can. If you’d like to be involved go to calgarymosquitosociety.com
Could use all the help we can get!
I’m not that much of a online reader to be honest but your sites really nice, keep it up!
I’ll go ahead and bookmark your website to come back in the future.
Thanks very much! We look forwards to your continued visits, and hope you continue to enjoy our work.
did you guys know that a great no. of mossies were built in canada by canadian craftsmen with western spruce ie. sitka spruce stronger than steel wate for wate YES ITS CALLED DE HAVILLAND TORONTO ? yaeh and the y were equipped WITH TWO PACKARD BUILT MERLIN ENGINES yeah you limeys designed it but you were not alone in the war . if not for the empire later the common wealth you brits would be saying VVVEEE VIILL DOO IT MY WAY!!!!!! ya and spreking deuith
John, easy please.
you got my message baby eat it
Gentlemen & Ladies…I just happened upon your Mossy website while explaining to my caregiver about my childhood hobby of flying my model planes @ DH Downsview “airport” in north Toronto in the 1940’s….it triggered so many great visions as a 12 year old staring through the chainlink fence awestruck @ each beautiful plywood Mosquito aircraft taxiing onto the tarmack for it’s flight check prior to going off to war…ahh Memories @ 84!!!!
My very best to you and your projects.
M.Mendel Bocknek, M.D. [former F/L RCAF 412th Sq. Rockliffe, ON.]
Fantastic work old chaps….Brilliant to hear that the
Wooden Wonder still flys….The film of the original chaps hedge hopping over Holland and France to roll bombs thru Nazi doorways amazed me as a kid. And the Merlin Purr….Unforgetable.
I would very much to purchase an operational DH-98 Mosquito
Beautifully flown by Keith Skilling in New Zealand after the re-build. Keith flies the Corsair & many other Warbirds aircraft.
Some aircraft just double as works of art, and the Mosquito is one of them, alongside the Spitfire, SR71, B-17 and Short Sunderland
I remember the sight and sound of the Mosquito so well. When I was a child in Liverpool in the fifties, the Meteorological Office had one. Every day, at 11 am., it flew up the River Mersey estuary from Speke Airport. Our living room had a great view the city and the river and I spent a lot of time looking through an old pair of binoculars. My father assembled several WWII aircraft and explained the unique construction of the Mosquito to me.
Iam the nephew of flying officer R G Dawson of 464 squadron RAAF who was downed in MOS SZ999 in March 1945 returning from a raid on Gestapo headquarters in Denmark . His final resting place remains unknown although his aircraft was believed to have been hit by German anti-aircraft fire and crashed in the bay soon after.He was passionate about flying and had a particular endearment to the Mosquito.
Hi , I have always been impressed by this beautiful plane, and , its always been my favorite, ever since , the movie called 633 Squardron , I have fallen in love with this aircraft , I even put together models when ,I was only a kid. Im 63 years now and its one of my bucket lists that someday., that , I Would be able to see one up closed. keep up the good work in restoraging these magificents warbirds . by, the way , 633 squardron happens to be my favorite movie of all time. LOVE THE SOUNDTRACK ALSO. From, a loyal in Texas ……
I recently saw that magnificent machine in person. What a thrill to see a legend up close.
During WW2, my father worked at James White, Shopfitters, on Gateshead’s Team Valley Trading Estate. I was amazed to be presented with a wooden Scooter one Christmas Day! No metal toys in those wartime days. He also delivered parts to Burnley in a Bedford MWD truck, and took Mum and me along once. We had to stay outside the gates while he went in and unloaded. Everything on that scooter, axles, wheels, was made from mahogany apart from the steering pin and its brackets. After the war, he told me it was made from Mosquito off-cuts.
So glad to see Mossies in the air again! My father was on Mosquitoes at R.A.F. Exeter, Devonshire, during the war and they had only just been retired when I joined the Royal Air Force in 1957. You will be horrified to know that on Guy Fawkes night, 5th November 1959, to amuse the children of the ‘married patch’ at R.A.F. Locking, we burned a totally complete (but not airworthy) Mosquito instead of the traditional bonfire….. The exploding air tanks, etc., kept all of us at a respectful distance! May we be forgiven!
I read somewhere once that the Mosquitoes weren’t successful in the tropics because the glue used in their manufacture wouldn’t stand up to tropical conditions, is that true?
Yes. Delamination and part separation was a common occurrence after prolonged exposure to the high humidity and rains in the tropics.
I was privileged to see a Mossie in the paint booth some years ago at Duxford in Cambridge, England. She had just received primer coat. I found myself marveling at the beautiful lines of the airplane as I stood there taking it in. I really admire the Brits they sure knew how to design an asthetically pleasing aircraft. The Mosquito and the Spitfire being just two of many examples. If anyone should find themselves fortunate enough to be in the UK a trip to Duxford is well worth the effort. Especially in the winter months when many of the aircraft are in the museums shop facility for maintenance. The technicians seemed more than willing to take time to talk to visitors. 😉
Just want to let you know that I went to the Abbotsford B.C. airshow in 2015 and saw the Mosquito that Viking Air in Victoria B.C. had rebuilt for its owner. It is finished in the guise of “F” for Freddie of WW2 fame. I watched the flight demo as it flew with a P 51 B/C and a spitfire. What a beautiful performance and the music of 4 merlin engines! The restoration of this mosquito to airworthy status is superb. I feel very privileged to live so close to so many beautiful aircraft in the Pacific Northwest in Canada and the USA.
Please can you tell me if a Mosquito plane was flying over Yeovil today? Many thanks for any replies.
There are currently no flying Mosquitos in all of Europe, so you must have seen something else. Thanks for writing in though.
I saw a Mosquito flying at Oshkosh with a Lancaster in 2015.
You saw the same Mosquito mentioned in the article 🙂
For the record – this aircraft wasn’t just flight tested in New Zealand. Its first public display was at Wings Over Wairarapa airshow, Masterton, in January 2013, prior to shipment overseas.
These historic war birds (Mosquito) were famous during WW.2 as with the Spitfire, Tempest, Hurricane and Avro Lancaster. I would hope there would be more discoveries of ruined plane wrecks to restore them to revive the sacrifices many made to make us all free, thank you. Whether you were in the cockpit of a fighter, a soldier with boots on the ground, or a support crew kudos to all who nobly served against Hitler (Germany), Japan and Italy, etc. Without the United States, UK and Canada, etc. the world we know today would be different. Our brave soldiers fought for their land, families, country, neighborhoods, honor and freedoms to their immeasurable credit and many lost their lives so we can be free. Those moral lessons need to be absorbed in today’s chaotic world by many foreign nations. Never forget the past because we are in the future, because of those who took up the cause to make the world a better place, and there is much work in progress. Thank you for restoring this piece of history to honor those who had the courage to serve to protect us from evil. We can do better…