War Mosquito's maiden flight

Restored WWII aircraft to fly for first time

MICHAEL FIELD
Last updated 16:59 08/08/2012
mosquito
JOHN SELKIRK/ Fairfax NZ

ALMOST THERE: The Mosquito fighter bomber is in the final stage of a seven year restoration.

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One of World War Two's slickest aircrafts underwent a paint job today ahead of its first flight next month.

The Rolls Royce Merlin powered twin-engine Mosquito has been undergoing a rebuild for the last seven years after American aircraft collector Jerry Yagen sent it to New Zealand to be restored.

The aircraft was originally built in Toronto in 1945 and was delivered to the Royal Canadian Air Force who put the plane into storage without it ever seeing combat.

From there it ended up on a farm, rotting until 1978 when the Canadian Museum of Flight and Transport acquired what was little more than a decaying airframe.

It was then bought by Yagen who had it shifted to New Zealand because at War Birds Restoration in Auckland, Glyn Powell had worked out with a boat builder how to create moulds to make the special kind of plywood used in Mosquitoes.

The two Merlin engines - the same that powered Spitfires - came from stock that the Royal New Zealand Air Force inherited after the war.

War Birds' Warren Denholm says the aircraft saw the light outside the hanger for the first time in seven years today as it was towed across to the paint shop.

"There are no Mosquitoes flying today in the world, our aim is to fly in September," he said.

The paint job will be done in the livery of the Royal Air Force's No. 487 Squadron.

The squadron, made up of New Zealanders, took part in the 1944 raid on the Amiens prison in France, destroying a wall and enabling over a hundred Resistance prisoners, scheduled for execution, to escape.

The livery includes the squadron's motto Ki te mutunga, meaning "Staying till it ends".

The Mosquito will get its first flight on September 29 at a War Birds day in Ardmore under the guidance of a couple of experienced military pilots.

Once completed the aircraft will be packed up and sent to Yagen's aircraft museum at Virginia Beach, Virginia.

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- Auckland Now

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