The Mosquito is unique among World War II fighters because it is made primarily of wood, not metal.
The Royal Air Forces’ (RAF) “fast bomber” first flew in November of 1940. In order to keep weight down, the speedy plane was constructed primarily of spruce, birch plywood, and balsa wood. This building method had the added bonus of preserving war-critical duralumin and steel for other military aircraft projects. The Mosquito was powered by a pair of Rolls-Royce Merlin V-12 engines, similar to those seen in the RAF’s Spitfire and Hurricane.
The “Wooden Wonder” Mosquito became one of the fastest, far-flying, and most versatile aircraft of World War II. Examples operated as bombers, fighters, fighter-bombers, night fighters, reconnaissance planes, and trainers. The last of the over 7,700 examples built flew well into the jet age, retiring in the early 1960s.
History of the Artifact
The FHCAM’s Mosquito was built in Leavesden, England, as a training aircraft in 1945. The plane was among the last of the type to be retired from RAF service in 1963. Turned over to the Imperial War Museum (IWM), the Mosquito appeared in the 1964 film 633 Squadron.
After filming, the plane was displayed in an IWM facility until 1988. The plane was traded to the FHCAM in 2003 and sent to Avspecs Ltd. In New Zealand for restoration to flight status. It returned to the skies in late 2016. While the plane retains some aspects of a trainer, additions were made to give the Mosquito the appearance of a wartime FB.Mk.VI fighter-bomber.
Did you know?
Training Mosquitos, like this one, are equipped with dual controls and can be flown from either side of the cockpit.