The ancient Chinese tale of Aladdin tells of an impoverished young man tricked into retrieving a magical lamp from a booby-trapped cave. Taking a minute to think about it, the stories of Aladdin and the Calgary Mosquito Society may actually have a lot in common.

When Aladdin entered the magical cave he was greeted by treasures beyond compare. In the cave Aladdin discovered gold, silver and jewels - our treasure was the Mosquito and Hurricane carefully packed away in a warehouse.

Unlike the previous warehouse, which was suffering from a leaky roof, the new facility is nice and dry, and the planes are secure within a fenced and locked compound. The roof doesn't leak here, but someone has hung tarps over the wooden bits just in case. On the floor we discovered crates and neat stacks of airplane bits. In all the years that our members have been around watching these planes, no one remembers them being on such open display. In fact, at first glance I was struck by how complete these airplanes are. Last year's feasibility study said they're 95% complete and today I believe them.

Rather than elaborating on the details, I'll let the photos do the talking for me. I hope you enjoy seeing these teaser images. I suddenly find myself even more excited (is that even possible for a CMS board member?) at working on these wonderful airplanes.

There's a lot of irony in this warning which is painted on a panel from the Hurricane. It seems that even 40 years ago people were already trying to purchase the collection. (T. McTavish)

Looking like a giant fishbone the Hurricane fuselage is in terrific shape. Almost all of the streamlined flying wires are still intact, as is the pilot's seat, rudder pedals and control column. (T. McTavish)

To some its just a box of parts, but looking closely and there's the engine oil tank which formed a portion of the wing leading edge and the covers for the gun bays. (T. McTavish)

Usually the first pieces to get damaged, the thin-skinned Hurricane cowlings are in beautiful condition and 100% complete. (T. McTavish)

Some of the flight controls on the Hurricane show signs of "hangar rash" but the rudder and vertical stabilizer are in beautiful shape. (T. McTavish)

The Hurricane's achilles heal - the wing centre section. constructing parts for this area is very labour intensive. Thankfully there's good news... (T. McTavish)

... there's no damage to the complex 12-sized spar caps and only one spar attach lug is missing (although it too may be buried in a box). A cursory inspection didn't uncover any corrosion. (T. McTavish)

Some time in the distant past, work was done reskining both of the Hurricane's outer wing panels. This could have been done as far back as the 1970s. Unfortunately much of this work now suffers from all sorts of dents, dings and scratches and will have to be redone. (According to Lynn Garrison, most of this work was probably done in 1965/66 - July 27, 2011) (T. McTavish)

When looking at unrestored artefacts there are wonderful discoveries to be made - big and small. Take for instance the wing panels. There are the faint remains of fabric covering the gun ports and shell ejector slots. Surprisingly they were yellow in colour. Although most of the identifying features of both planes have been erased, the remaining markings on the wing raise an interesting question about conservation verse restoration. (T. McTavish)

It definately wasn't a Messerschmitt, but one tube on the Hurricane's fuselage shows damage from several small-calibre gun shots. Yet another interesting piece of history. (T. McTavish)

Another interested find regarding markings was the Mosquito's horizontal stabilizer. Spartan's planes were painted all silver. Why then is the lower side of CF-HMS's stabilizer white? There's even overspray on the undersides of the elevator. Could this have been a repair, or maybe some type of rock guard? (T. McTavish)

One unique feature of the Spartan Mosquitoes was the custom-made belly cover, they didn't use the original bomb bay doors. This unique piece has thankfully survived. (T. McTavish)

What's an airplane without some wheels to roll on? The tread pattern is interesting, I've only seen it one other time. If anyone knows its purpose please contact the CMS. (According to Greg Morrison of the Bomber Command Museum of Canada the pattern is similar to the wear indicators on the tires of a DH Tiger Moth - December 7, 2011)(T. McTavish)

Apparently purchased seperately from the airframe, the collection includes two Merlin engine QEC (quick engine change) units. Hopefully they're still preserved on the inside. (T. McTavish)

For a wooden airplane the Mosquito has an amazing amount of metal in it, including two massive radiators. That's a standard shipping pallet it's sitting on. (T. McTavish)

Only a small amount of CF-HMS's Spartan markings survive, most of them on the vertical stabilizer and rudder. Again, this raises the conservation verse restoration question. (T. McTavish)

Another unique Spartan modification was the addition of a window in the rear access door. Imagine looking through this window at the ground 35,000 feet below. (T. McTavish)

Like chests full of treasure, wooden shipping crates held uncounted hidden gems; treasures that have remained forgotten since they were packed away almost 50 years ago. This particular box contains the life raft compartment hatch and the plastic fairing that covered the LEAR ADF antenna. Artifacts like these are extremely important because most of these obsolete antennas were simply tossed in the garbage. (T. McTavish)

Here we see the landing gear legs and at least one mud guard. Without laying everything on the floor for a complete inspection, it's clear that both planes are in terrific shape. I noticed the Hurricane is missing one landing gear door and the Spartan-built auxiliary fuel tank which was mounted in the bomb bay (and present when the plane was shipped to Cold Lake in 1989) are both missing. (T. McTavish)

Of all the parts the Mosquito wing is in the worst shape and it'll take a lot of work to make it right. Thankfully others have already blazed a path through this challenge and the CMS will be able to learn from their experience. (T. McTavish)

Even without the manuals, we're pretty sure these screws were not original equipment. (T. McTavish)

As his brother I hate to admit it, but it turns out that CMS board member Scott McTavish did a pretty accurate job tracking down the markings for RS700's military career. A portion of original fabric still remains on the lower fuselage, and what's that? Its PRU blue from her days at No.58 Squadron peaking out from beneath the silver dope. (T. McTavish)