Tailwheel is a rare find and excellent acquisition

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Securing an original Mosquito tailwheel

by Ross Sharp, Director of Engineering, The People’s Mosquito

The surge of interest in The People’s Mosquito project, due, in part, to the acquisition of over 22,000 original drawings mounted on aperture cards, has given rise to some fascinating developments. One of these has been the recent acquisition by the team of a genuine De Havilland DH.98 Mosquito tailwheel. Such items are hard to come by, and this particular example is in good condition for its age.

Made of light alloy, and meant to carry a Dunlop-Marstrand 8.00 x 5 twin-track tyre, this particular wheel carries the correct AH 10191 part number (suitable for all versions of the Mosquito) as well as an AH7049 marking. The latter, it has been said, often indicates Canadian production by such companies as Kelsey-Hayes Wheel Company, an important supplier to the U.S. automotive and aircraft industry. Also clearly visible is the Government ‘broad arrow’, an ancient mark which was first used to indicate Government property as far back as 1330.

Mosquito tailwheels have had a bit of a chequered history. Indeed, the Mosquito prototype, W4050, got its tailwheel stuck in a rut whilst travelling across some rough ground at Boscombe Down, Wiltshire, during its official Service trails with the Aeroplane & Armament Experimental Establishment. This accident, which occurred on 24th February, 1941, caused the rear fuselage to fracture, and was sufficient to cause the fuselage reserved for the PR prototype Mosquito, W4051, to be sent down to Boscombe Down, and utilized in repairs of the badly damaged unit.

Later Mosquitoes were equipped with the Dunlop-Marstrand twin-track tyre, which possessed ‘anti-shimmy’ properties, important in an aircraft whose tailwheel could not be locked in a particular direction. This 8.00 x 5 tyre should be inflated to a pressure of 40 pounds/square inch, (for all Mosquito  fighter types) when the tyre is resting on the ground.

John Lilley, the Chairman of TPM, has examined the tailwheel, and despite having some light surface corrosion in parts, has pronounced it, ‘a good find’. The People’s Mosquito looks forward to acquiring more rare components as we forge ahead in the race to put a de Havilland Mosquito into British skies, once more.

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