This is my second report on our progress on the Mosquito and even though the weather has stalled, we haven't. It's been a productive few months on the project culminating with the fuselage being lifted into the new fixture.

This part of the project took a fair length of time to complete but the devil is in the detail. The fuselage needed to be removed from its old wooden cradle as it has suffered from delamination, mechanical damage and a level of disassembly.

The Salisbury Hall crew at the de Havilland Aircraft Museum in England was instrumental in giving us a basic idea about how to lift the fuselage. Following the de Havilland crews' lead, the lifting beam was built with a few modifications.

The canopy, which provides structural support, was no longer attached to the fuselage. This required the team to reinforce the fuselage internally. With the number of skins missing and not knowing if the primary structure was compromised, rigidity was key. We elected to go with an 8 inch I-beam with spreader bars on each end. The object was to have the straps lift vertically and the big I-beam not droop. The security and rigidity of the fuselage during the lift was confirmed by mounting a laser in the cockpit aimed at two targets aft, one on bulkhead 4 and the other on the tail bulkhead. A movement of just over an 1/8 of an inch was observed at the start of the lift and did not increase throughout the move.

The second part of the project was to construct a new cradle or fixture and install the fuselage. One of my pet peeves is the construction of fixtures and jigs that are a one of. We could have welded large I-beams and built a full blown jig, instead I chose to use square tubing in square tubing, to keep the cost down and provide more flexibility. The fixture is bolted together so once the fuselage comes out it can be knocked down for storage or can easily be reconfigured to accommodate a different fuselage.

Prior to lifting the fuselage all efforts were made to lighten the aircraft as much as possible. As I mentioned before, we were not simply pulling all the parts out. We have built mock ups for every fuselage bulkhead stations and every part removed from them was transferred across to its corresponding board.

Moving forward we will further brace the structure in place and start to map it in more detail. A level of cleaning has already started but will continue. We will then focus on the fuselage structure, one area at a time.

This job has been a culmination of many small jobs with many people who provided ideas, technical support or just picking up items that may have seemed insignificant at the time. My stress level has dropped now that this hurdle has been cleared so with summer approaching (I hope) we look forward to everyone popping by to have a look.

Jack McWilliam

While it may appear that progress has been slow, volunteers like David D. have spent hundreds of hours removing pieces from the fuselage, combining them with parts from the storage boxes and mounting them on mock up boards. This keeps everything sorted and assembled to simplify reinstallation at a later date. (Richard de Boer)

Weeks in designing, months in the making, dozens of pieces come together to be assembled into a super-sturdy fixture that will hold the Mosquito fuselage straight throughout restoration. Its also higher, which means no more contortionist acts to get inside. (Richard de Boer)

Rather than fabricate a fixture that can only on a Mosquito, the team constructed a modular one that can be disassembled or easily modified to suit other airplanes. Here, Cam and Dave drill the corners of the fixture where bolts will pass through to connect the inter-locking segments. (Richard de Boer)

While others work on the fixture, Dave S. happily gets dirty preparing some of the beam's parts for assembly. (Richard de Boer)

Witht the beam assembled, it was time to start getting ready for the BIG lift. (Richard de Boer)

As most of the team prepares to start positioning the lifting hoist, the lower cradle in its striking Spartan colours of grey and red stands ready to receive the Mosquito fuselage. (Scott McTavish)

To ensure the weight of the fuselage was properly supported, contoured trestles made of plywood were matched to the bulkheads. (Scott McTavish)

Getting the beam and trestles in place was a very important step. The centre section over the wing was compromised years ago and the fuselage could have snapped in two. (Scott McTavish)

Airborne at last. The fuselage comes free from its wooden cradle for the first time in decades. A laser in the nose showed that the fuselage bent less than 1/8 of an inch during the lift. (Scott McTavish)

Slow as a snail - the fuselage settles down in its new home. Although the fixture is large, two people can easily push it around the workshop. (Scott McTavish)

Success! Much to our videographer's disappointment, the transfer was without drama owing to the excellent planning and execution by Jack, Dick and the entire team of volunteers. (Scott McTavish)

After a year of hard work and preparation, the Mosquito's fuselage rests in its custom-built fixture. The next step will focus on major repairs to the wood. (Scott McTavish)