I have titled this first report Phase 1.5 because it reflects the nature of this project; the lines between the phases are somewhat fuzzy and there's been some overlapping. The original plan called for us to move the Mosquito, inventory the various parts and report to the City of Calgary about what we required and where we were going to get it. Phase 2 was to conserve everything requiring immediate attention and start restoration of the fuselage.

The problem was that we needed to insure no further damage occurred to the aircraft and we have limited space to work in. The solution was to get things organized. Every component was sorted, photographed, inventoried and then carefully packed away in numbered crates until they're required.

Once the Mosquito arrived in Nanton we were still faced with a pile of parts, boxes of unsorted, unlabeled parts, and no clear way of identifying what was where. (Jack McWilliam)

The propellers were a classic example of this. They took up a large amount of space and suffered from a lot of mechanical damage over the years, plus we questioned their internal condition. Gordon Thompson from Aero Propeller of Calgary Ltd. arrived with his lunch box sized tool kit to remove the blades and give us a quick assessment of the hub. Each blade and hub now has an individual box for their safe keeping. With all our components safely in storage (the engines were already full of oil), we can stop building crates and move to the next challenge.

Gordon T. disassembles and inspects one of the Mosquito's Hamilton Standard propellers. We were happy to find they were packed full of grease and in very good condition. Even the 'hangar rash' on the trailing edges could be repaired. (Jack McWilliam)

Here's where it all starts, with a single component being numbered, digitally photographed and carefully placed in a custom-made crate. (Richard de Boer)

Keith H. shows the next step, where each part is carefully checked against the illustrated parts catalogue and a part tag is created. This information, plus the photograph was then recorded in an electronic database. (Richard de Boer)

We have been collecting manuals, blueprints and networking with others to find sources for our missing parts.

Our volunteers have also been busy constructing mock up boards. These will allow us to remove parts from the fuselage and install them on the mock-up in the exact position. When it comes time to reassemble everything we won't find ourselves looking into a crate of parts, scratching our heads and wondering where things go. As we go through the crates, we can also assemble systems to identify what parts are missing and what we'll need to find. It will also limit the exposure time to areas like the fuselage where it's difficult for some of us to repeatedly crawl in and out of the tight space.

One solution to the space problem is to create mock up boards. Not only do they hold the pieces in the right places, they'll make it easier to work on an entire system before installing it back inside the airplane. Here we see the copper engine fire extinguisher bottles. (Richard de Boer)

Another holding fixture was created for the canopy by Andy W. We were surprised to learn that the canopy had been sitting loose on the fuselage for decades - including several road trips across Calgary. (Richard de Boer)

When the Mosquito was originally built, they were assembled like a plastic model kit, with two halves of the fuselage glued together after the components had been installed. Now, as our volunteers are discovering, like Ken P., there isn't much room to work inside. (Richard de Boer)

Now our hardworking volunteers are constructing special fixtures to hold the fuselage and the wing. It's important to stabilize the structure before we start working because the fuselage was compromised in the critical area of bulkhead 4, so extra care is required before lifting. If we're not careful, we could snap the fuselage in half. Our plan calls for the fuselage to be shored up in the same locations that de Havilland used during construction. A special lifting cradle will be also be built that was designed by the crew at de Havilland Heritage Centre in England for lifting their Mosquitoes.

Jack M., Dave A. and Dick S. discuss the next big step - the design of the fuselage holding fixture. Extreme care must be taken to avoid having the fuselage snap in half. (Richard de Boer)

It might seem that things aren't moving quickly, but I'd like us to use small steps and ensure we miss as little as possible. Case in point, Lionel Clark has been diligently hand sanding the escape hatch with 6,000 grit sandpaper. I was hoping we might find a layer of colours beneath the white that would give us a color time-line, but what we found were somebody's finger prints between two layers of white paint. Lionel has also discovered some maintenance or warning markings that we haven't sorted out yet.

I would like to thank the restoration crew for their efforts to get us through Phase 1.5. The challenges are starting to ramp up now but feel free to jump in with the rest of us. Or just stop by to check up on things, there seems to be an endless supply of donuts.

Jack McWilliam