Warbirds

LOST MOSQUITO BLUEPRINTS DISCOVERED JUST BEFORE DEMOLITION OF FORMER DE HAVILLAND FACTORY

The drawings have been donated to The People’s Mosquito charity group that is planning to use them to restore a de Havilland Mosquito back to airworthy condition

According to The Telegraph, more than 20,000 engineering drawings and diagrams for the de Havilland Mosquito have been found in the corner of a wartime factory, just days before bulldozers were due to destroy their hiding place.

The drawings, on microfilm cards, is thought to be the most complete set of engineering drawings for the multi-role aircraft.

The drawings have been donated to The People’s Mosquito charity group that is planning to use them to restore a Mosquito back to airworthy condition.

John Lilley, The People’s Mosquito chairman, said the drawings had been found earlier this year by an engineer just before the former de Havilland building in Broughton, near Chester, was to be demolished.

He said: “He understood the tremendous historic value in these engineering drawings and how useful they could be. The building itself was soon to be demolished and the contents discarded. It’s incredible to think that they might have been lost forever.”

As explained by The Telegraph, the charity hopes to bring back in airworthy condition a Mosquito night fighter that crashed at Roayl Air Force (RAF) Coltishall, in February 1949, while serving with No 23 Sqn.

Ross Sharp, engineering director for the project, said: “As you can imagine, restoring an aircraft that is 70 years old presents several challenges, one of which is a lack of information on the building techniques, materials, fittings and specifications. These plans enable us to glean a new level of understanding and connection with the brilliant designers who developed the world’s first, true, multi-role combat aircraft.”

The Mosquito was designed by Sir Geoffrey de Havilland and was one of the fastest operational aircraft in the world when it entered service in 1941.

To preserve scarce metal reserves and for speed of production, the plane was made from pieces of wood, pressed and glued together in moulds, earning it the nickname “The Wooden Wonder.” Exactly 7,781 were eventually built, the last one on November 15, 1950. 6,710 of them were delivered during WWII.

The Mosquito first flew at the end of 1941 and was first made known to the public after the successful raid by four of them on Sept. 25, 1942, on the Gestapo Headquarters in Oslo. When over Oslo with their bomb doors open, they were attacked by two Luftwaffe Focke-Wulf Fw 190s which happened to be in the air when they arrived. One was shot down, but the others were able to outrun the Fw 190s, who gave up the chase 60 miles out to sea.

Thanks to its high speed the Mosquito was also the perfect aircraft to perform reconnaissance missions over Germany.

Now the discarded drawings revealed early planes to carry torpedoes, possibly to attack the Tirpitz.

There is also a blueprint for stowing desert equipment in the rear fuselage, in a drawing marked ‘Mosquito Mk I, Tropics’

Only three Mosquitos are today in flying condition, one in Canada and two in America.

The restoration will cost an estimated £6m, with only a fraction of the money raised so far.

Mr Lilley concluded: “No other aircraft has amassed such a remarkable combat record in so short a time, flying so many different types of mission and excelling in each one. Even today, it remains one of the world’s most successful multirole combat aircraft, and it was all British, made by men and women who only a few months earlier had been building furniture and mending pianos.”

Additional source: Royal Air Force

Photo credit: Crown Copyright, De Havilland photographer for Ministry of Aircraft Production

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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