Bringing the De Havilland Mosquito back home

As recently announced by John Lilley, Chairman and Managing Director, The People’s Mosquito is in detailed discussions to bring a significant proportion of our Mosquito restoration back to the UK. The decision follows the culmination of months of effort behind the scenes in reviewing and analysing more than 22,300 De Havilland technical drawings, donated in late 2016 by Airbus UK.

Following our decision to digitise the drawings for posterity, Ross Sharp, TPM’s Director of Engineering and Airframe Compliance, has been systemically cataloguing this treasure trove of Mosquito-related data throughout 2017, unearthing the hidden engineering details behind this iconic aircraft’s success.

Up until now, the restoration project would have seen The People’s Mosquito built entirely in New Zealand, under the proven expertise of Mosquito Restorations, Aerowood and Ardmore-based warbird restoration specialists, Avspecs. Following the issue of an Export Certificate of Airworthiness by the Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand, the complete aircraft would have been exported to the UK. This model was not only considered the quickest and ‘easiest’ route to deliver an airworthy Mosquito, it was the only route. Warbird restorers in New Zealand had built up an extensive, but incomplete library of De Havilland Mosquito drawings, which has enabled the teams to successfully deliver two airworthy Mosquitoes for North American customers. These aircraft operate under a Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) Experimental airworthiness certification, which limits those aircraft to essentially air display only.

Under the revised plan, The People’s Mosquito still intends to work with New Zealand-based suppliers in delivering the wooden structural components, including fuselage and wings. However, all forgings, control surfaces, undercarriage, key aircraft systems, as well as engines will be delivered, installed and tested in the UK

Technical data paves the way for a UK-built Mosquito

“The wealth of technical data we have unearthed over the past few months, coupled with an extensive network of specialist aerospace companies in the UK, means we now have the technical specifications and capability to complete the assembly of RL249, here in the UK,” explains John Lilley, Managing Director.

The Mosquito was a superb example of British innovation and engineering. In 1940, when aeronautical designers and manufacturers were focused on metal monocoque designs, Sir Geoffrey De Havilland bucked the trend and delivered a composite airframe that was without equal for many years in terms of performance. The ‘Mossie’ as it became affectionately known, ultimately helped to change the way we build aircraft today.

Supporters will benefit from an accessible project

The decision also reflects many conversations with supporters and members of the public who frequently voiced their ultimate desire to see a Mosquito FB.VI built in the UK. “We were always mindful of that desire to see the aircraft built here, in its spiritual home, but we needed to ensure we had the necessary technical knowledge and OEM specifications to be able to achieve that goal,” adds John. “It’s clear now, we have everything we need. Discussions are underway with UK-based suppliers to make that dream a reality.”

John continues: “We hope to provide further updates on UK partners in the coming weeks.”

Media interest in the project has been considerable, including interest from several documentary makers. The decision to bring the build back to the UK is therefore seen as an enabler for providing TPM’s supporters with unprecedented access to the restoration, as well as providing young people with extensive opportunities for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education.

John continues: “It’s an incredibly exciting time for the project as we progress commercial negotiations with our UK suppliers, but we continue to prioritise fundraising activities as we seek to secure our fuselage through suppliers in New Zealand.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Once complete, the completed, doped fuselage will be brought to the UK ready for the next phase. Our New Zealand partners will then pick up work already started on the wing and tail section following fabrication of wing ribs in 2016.

“We have a considerable amount of work to deliver in 2018 and continue to seek partners and Mosquito enthusiasts willing to support fundraising efforts. Subject to funding, we believe we can have an airworthy Mosquito FB.VI gracing UK skies inside four years.”

22 thoughts on “Bringing the De Havilland Mosquito back home

  1. My first flight was in a DH aeroplane and I am a life-long devotee of the Mosquito. However, a significant chunk of my flying hours has been in the mighty AVRO 8-prop so I’ve recently redressed the situation and have taken a Life Membership of TPM. Good luck to you all and I look forward to seeing that beautiful silhouette and hearing the roar of twin Merlins in British skies very soon. Per Ardua Ad Astra.

    1. Many thanks for the incredible support Dave! It’s that passion that will eventually see us over the finish line! Welcome to the Club – we have some exciting news coming tomorrow 😉

  2. Last year I felt very honoured to have helped get the Mosquito to East Kirkby. I offered to pick up the jigs and wing supports etc free of charge,from ST Albans,not far from where I live,and transport them to Elvington Yorks.I have now made friends with Tony and Elaine the owners of the Mosquito. To be able to see this lovely aircraft taxi along with the Lancaster bomber will be wonderful.I just hope that one day while we are watching these aircraft taxi,a Mosquito will fly over head.

    1. Thanks Mike,

      Tony, Elaine and the team are doing an incredible job with HJ711 and it’s a source of constant inspiration to us to see her taking shape once again. Can’t wait to hear those Merlins roll over for the first time. We’re really excited with the latest phase of our own project and hope to be able to bring everyone more exciting news in the coming weeks as things get firmed up. Watch this space and hold on to that thought – it might take us a few years, but we’re determined to have our bird fly over East Kirkby in due course.
      Best,
      The TPM Team

  3. I’ve been following the project with interest and look forward to seeing a mosquito in UK sky’s again after so meany years. I know the wooden sections of the aircraft are to be new build but what about the rest i see a number of items popping up on ebay are you going to restore original components or is everything going to be scratch built.

    1. Hi Chris,

      where it makes sens to do so, we’re acquiring original parts as well and we would expect this type of sourcing to become increasingly valid as the project progresses. Much of the material you see on eBay etc is of limited use to us – anything that can be reconditioned is naturally of interest. For the time being, funds are focused firmly on securing our fuselage.

  4. Having seen Mosquitos flying over Tangmere back in the 1960s I have always wanted to see this beautiful aircraft flying again. How far advanced are the finances to have it actually happen?

    1. We’ve had the wing ribs build and made by Aerowood in New Zealand Peter. We’re currently working towards raising the next £70k for the deposit required to start work on the fuselage build. You can sign up for our newsletter ‘The Buzz’ via the website, where we’ll providing regular fundraising updates as 2018 progresses.

      Thanks,
      The TPM team

  5. I’ve always been disappointed that the new Mossie wasn’t to be built here, considering that I live fairly close to Salisbury Hall. I’m aware that they were built in other places, but it’s a British aircraft. Being able to bring some construction back here can only be good news. Perhaps the next one could be constructed entirely in Great Britain ?!

    1. Completely open to that Andy and no reason why that can’t happen in the future, but currently the only fuselage moulds in existence are in New Zealand, with Glyn Powell. It’s thanks to his tireless efforts that have we have TV959 and KA114 flying today. Let’s get RL249 on that mould as soon as possible so we can give our UK supporters something to see at first hand.

  6. I tried to join the Peoples Mosquito., I acquired an international Bank Draft in US $ here in Canada & sent it off With Details to join. Anyway after months of waiting , I finally contacted them to find out what happened? So they said their bank won’t accept the money order & wanted to know if they could just destroy the money order & I could pay by other means. So much for the membership & donation!

    1. Hi George, sorry to hear you’ve experienced issues joining the Club. I’ve passed your concerns on to our membership secretary, who will be in touch shortly and hopefully we can sort something out.

    1. It’s certainly been discussed Paul 🙂 The documentary can be called anything the production company likes, but G-FBVI will always be The People’s Mosquito!

    1. Thanks Martin,

      Look forward to welcoming you to our build site one day to have a look round.

  7. I live not too far from the De Havillsnd aircraft museum at Salisbury Hall London Colney. And go visit the museum every so often!! And I think i can recall in late 80’s or early 90’s. Whilst playing cricket in nearby Borehamwood. Seeing a mosquito flying over the museum!! I would love to see that happen again!!

    1. Your memory servies you well Mark! RR299 overflew the de Havilland Museum at Colney on various occasions. With enough support, we can hopefully make that happen again soon.

  8. Well, I think that no matter whet else happens anywhere else this year, that news is my highlight of 2018!

    Excellent news guys, it’s a wonderful pick-up from the gloomy news and weather so far 🙂

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