2016's Q2 Report

What Have We Been Up To In The Past Three Months?

Welcome to the summer of 2016. The Hurricane's engine is ready for installation; we purchased another gun, held our Mosquito Celebration Day and much, much more. Read on:

Volunteer Hours

As per the accompanying scanned documents, board members of the Mosquito Society invested a total of 233.5 hours during the second quarter of 2016 on all duties required to run the organization.

Additionally, members of the society worked 1450.75 hours on the Mosquito and 397.25 hours on the Hurricane engine over the same period on 24 separate dates in Calgary and in Nanton.

Note that the volunteer hours on the Mosquito for this quarter are up by 301.75, or 26% over the previous quarter which also represents a new all time record high for any quarter since we took possession of the Mosquito in August 2012.

Total volunteer hours for this quarter are 2081.5, up 482.5, or 30% over the previous quarter which again is a new record high since we began the project.


Historic Aviation Services' focus for the second quarter of the year has continued on the sheet metal areas of the forward fuselage and on the woodwork from the cockpit back, which significantly fleshes out the look and shape of the airplane.

We were in Wetaskiwin three times in the past six weeks: May 20th to deliver the Hurricane's Merlin 29 engine, the following Saturday the 28th for the annual Mosquito Society members' tour and on June 17th for the tour by the City's representatives.

Airframe: Historic Aviation Services

Centre Section

  • Dismantled, inspected, repaired as required, re-assembled and installed carburetor air scoop and centre section fairing.
  • Removed inter-spar cross brace tubes (x2) from port side fuel tank and made up duplicate set for starboard side fuel tank (missing). Primed and sprayed both sets with silver butyrate.

Intermediate fuselage panels, repaired and sprayed with silver butyrate dope, as were almost all parts of the Canadian built Hurricanes.

  • Cleaned, inspected, repaired as required port and starboard upper aft wing root fairings. Primed outer surfaces and sprayed inner surfaces with silver butyrate; installed same in position. *Note: All "wing walk" panels except aft port side are missing.


  • Engine front and rear top cowls removed after trial fit.
  • Engine rear, top cowl repaired as required including service/replacement of all fasteners. Primed outer surface and sprayed inner surface with silver butyrate. Installed same in position.

Engine cowlings, glare shields and cockpit panels repaired, primed and installed for the first time.

  • Cleaned, inspected, repaired as required, primed and installed port and starboard exhaust glare shields on engine rear, top cowl.
  • Found starboard intermediate fuselage panel in two sections held together by very crude previous repair. Disassembled panel, cleaned and inspected salvageable sections, jigged same and fabricated and inserted repair section as required. Primed outer surface and sprayed inner surface with silver butyrate. Fitted and installed panel in place on fuselage.

  • As described on previous page, the intermediate fuselage panel was crudely repaired by splicing and riveting the two torn pieces together.

  • Cleaned, inspected and repaired as required port intermediate fuselage panel, primed outer surface and sprayed inner surface with silver butyrate. Fitted and installed panel in place on fuselage.
  • Cleaned, inspected and repaired as required port and starboard cockpit side panels. Primed outer surface and sprayed inner surface with silver butyrate. Fitted and installed both panels in place on fuselage.
  • Dismantled original forward wood belly panel; cleaned and inspected components. Built up new panel incorporating original wood where possible. Trial fitted panel in place aft of radiator. *Note: Panel still requires plywood skin and fabric covering.
  • Sorted inventory of fuselage wood formers and bulkheads. *Note: These include originals, those partially fabricated during previous work, several from HASI inventory and items of unknown origin.

  • A jigsaw puzzle of wooden parts that comprise the upper fuselage formers which come from a variety of sources.

  • Trial fitted components to fuselage to determine those that are missing, require further work, useable as is and completely un-useable.
  • Began repair and finishing of wood bulkheads and formers that can be incorporated into the restoration.
  • Cleaned, inspected rear cockpit, top, wood, "dog house" structure fabricated during previous work. We found the unit to be incomplete and out of alignment. Began reconstruction and trial fitted it to the fuselage.

The 'dog house' which sits on the upper fuselage right behind the pilot's head. Built during a previous restoration effort and unfortunately never completed.

All of the existing upper and side fuselage formers clamped on for a trial fit. The stringers which run fore and aft have since been fitted to the upper deck.

Engine and Parts

The magnetos and ignition harness were returned from Progressive Air Services in Kamloops and were installed and tested. The exhaust pipes are still with Acorn Welding in Edmonton undergoing extensive repairs. The Hurricane's Merlin 29 was completed as far as possible in the engine shop of the Bomber Command Museum in Nanton and was delivered to Wetaskiwin on May 20th where it will be installed on the airframe.

Yvon and John look on as Dick tests the ignition harness for resistance and flow after installation.

Yvon, Andy and Brian, three of our key volunteers, posing with Hurricane's Merlin 29 engines in the shop at the Bomber Command Museum just prior to delivery.

May 20th. Loading the Merlin 29 for delivery to Wetaskiwin. Still needs a generator, exhaust stubs and some new spark plugs.

The propeller governor was delivered to Aero Propeller for overhaul. Still required for the engine is a generator as all available units have mounts for later model Merlins. As well we have ordered six additional spark plugs from Vintage V-12s in California to replace some that are in very poor condition.

We have located a vendor in the UK who has a number of parts that could greatly aid the Hurricane restoration and negotiations are underway to acquire these items.

We were successful in acquiring a third .303 Browning machine gun from a collector here in Alberta and currently have three parties preparing quotes to manufacture metal replicas for the additional nine required to complete the armament for the Hurricane.

Gun number 3 out of the 12 required. This example was made by BSA in the UK in 1938 and likely came to Canada on one of the Hurricanes bought from Hawker in the UK before Canada started producing its own.

The seller was also good enough to supply a box of 48 original .303 bullets, date stamped 1942, in an unopened box. As well we are sourcing additional rounds and metal links for the ammunition. Our goal is to be able to run belts of ammunition from each gun to the ammo boxes.

Our resident cockpit specialist is busy acquiring period instruments for the Hurricane's panel.

Mosquito: Jack McWilliam

The second quarter saw us moving forward on various internal structural repairs on the fuselage. With the uncovering of the second porthole on the aft, port side fuselage, we continue to expose the area between bulkheads 3 &4.

When the aircraft was received, a small area of the fuselage above the camera operator's window was repaired with cedar strips but was not skinned over. Water entered the area and migrated down various channels and forward on the fuselage. These areas had previously been reworked with cedar strips being installed after the original material had been pulled out.

Port side of the fuselage just aft of the wing attach point. Note the scabby cedar strip repair and lack of skin. This is where water infiltrated the fuselage and ran both down and laterally damaging the interior structure.

What appears to have been a standard patch repair method was to staple cedar strips into the fuselage and then staple a sheet of plywood over top of that. This crude method of repair generated two problems: The internal skins are riddled with hundreds of holes and despite the use of hundreds of staples, the plywood has not bonded to the majority of the structure. The good news is that we have been able to remove a lot of these skins with little effort.

Reducing a Mosquito to sawdust, Don uses a belt sander to remove skins applied at some point in the past and attached with staples and a bit of glue. The sander is a messy but effective tool for removing skins.

Focusing on the left side of the fuselage forward of bulkhead 4, the skin has been exposed to determine the extent of the damage so we can replace those internal skins and ribs. Dick has completed the first spruce strip to go back down on bulkhead 3 which has been removed due to its having split laterally. With the cedar strips removed, the internal skins will be replaced in the same manner as we used for the top skins.

Internal supports are now positioned inside the fuselage between bulkheads 3 and 4 to support the structure while the skins are replaced.

Gary has completed a repair on the right side of the fuselage adjacent to bulkhead 2, above the armor plating that appeared to have been a compression fracture. The repair turned out to be significantly simpler than we anticipated which was a welcome change from the normal Pandora's Box of lurking and hidden problems.

"Show and Tell" is a very large part of what we do on Saturdays. Here Gary talks to visitors about the repair described above.

An example of simple issues run amuck can be seen in the small de-ice fluid tank which had been damaged at some point during its service life. Thinking it would be a simple matter of getting the dent repaired we took it to a motorcycle repair shop which has the tools and the know how to pull a small dent in curved sheet metal. We decided to put a bit of pressure in the tank to help pull the dent.

An example of a simple repair gone amok: The dent around the filler neck led us to strip the tank and then discover numerous corrosion holes in the body of the tank.

After paint stripping the tank we discovered numerous pin holes and extensive corrosion which need to be treated. Acquiring a new tank would likely have been much easier task, but then it would not be original to this aircraft. That said the motorcycle shop was very impressed with the quality of the welds and the construction of the tank.

With the Hurricane's Merlin engine now delivered to the Wetaskiwin we will refocus some volunteer efforts on the Mosquito's hydraulic and pneumatic systems, restoring them while the structural wood repairs continue on the fuselage. The hydraulic component panel on the right side of the fuselage is being rebuilt by Dave with sixty years of oil and dirt first being removed. Andy has started to study the cockpit inner workings, while Colette continues to scrape and clean the cockpit floor so we can start to rebuild it.

Colette continues the tedious but necessary task of scraping old primer and paint from inside the fuselage and the cockpit floor.

David D. begins the job of disassembling and restoring the main hydraulic component panel as described above.

Experiments will start on methods of installing new skins with the hope of re-skinning the area around the dingy box shortly. The interior support structure is removed to facilitate the reinstallation of the half bulkhead, after which we will reinstall the foam blocks to support the upper fuselage structure ahead of bulkhead three.

Our instrument panel expert Rick F. just finished the blind flying panel. The panel had to be manufactured and the period instruments all acquired as none of the originals came with the project. This is another example of work being done outside of regular Saturday and Tuesday evenings.

Through a series of incredible circumstances we were successful in acquiring the crew access hatch for our airplane. It had been with a hobby shop owner in Penticton, BC and was recovered by a society member from Nelson, BC. See events section for details.

CMS member Jeff Robinson acquired the original crew door for our airplane and returns it to its rightful place. See story below.

Displays and Presentations

April 23 marked the kick off open house event at the Bomber Command Museum with the usual Lancaster engine runs, the return of their summer opening hours and hundreds of visitors.

May 14th was the next event day, this one being marked by a huge 'Garage Sale' in aid of the museum doubling the size of their facility. Again, the day was marked by many hundreds of visitors, Lanc engine runs and the ever popular Bristol Hercules engine.

Sales tables take the place of airplanes for the May 14th Garage Sale at the museum. An opportunity as well for us to engage visitors and talk to them about our project.

June 4 was themed 'Mosquito Celebration Day' at the Bomber Command Museum with a chance for us to showcase the airplane, its history and our restoration progress. We invited author and historian Robert Stitt from Cowichan Bay, B.C. to be our keynote speaker for the day to talk about Spartan Air Services and their use of the Mosquito in general and about our aircraft specifically. His presentation was well attended and received.

Guest speaker Robert Stitt speaks to a full house on the June 4th Mosquito Celebration Day about Spartan's use of Mosquitos for aerial photo mapping.

CMS Vice President and head of restoration Jack McWilliam gave on site tours of the restoration progress on the Mosquito itself.

Jack McWilliam holds court explaining to visitors some of the joys and challenges in restoring the Mosquito.

A highlight of the day was when new CMS member Jeff Robinson, a resident of Nelson B.C., presented to us the original crew door for our very airplane. Many years ago it had been separated from the airframe in one of its many moves around Calgary and had ended up with a hobby shop owner in Penticton, BC. As a new retiree, Jeff was looking to build an exact scale model of our airplane as it flew with Spartan Air Services. He went to a favourite hobby shop in Penticton and told the owner of his need and his enthusiasm for our project. The shop owner disappeared into a back room and returned with the crew hatch from our airplane. Jeff purchased it and came to Nanton on June 4 specifically to return it to its rightful place. It was a story that touched many visitors and was recorded by documentary film maker Alex Robinson.

Jeff Robinson fitting the long lost crew door to the Mosquito and then being interviewed by film maker Alex Robinson about how he came to acquire it.

In support of our mandate to 'Honour and Educate' the CMS was represented by two board members at the 75th Anniversary Commemoration of the opening of the RAF station at De Winton, AB. The event was well publicised and attended by several hundred people including the Honorary Colonel of 419 Squadron, the Consuls General of the Netherlands, Belgium, the UK, as well as the president of the Calgary Stampede.

Attending the event to commemorate the anniversary of #31 EFTS, an RAF training base at De Winton, AB operated during World War II.

Miscellaneous and In the Works

On April 15, we attended a meeting of the Arts and Heritage Committee of the Calgary Foundation. The Calgary Foundation provided $60,000 toward the production of our 35 'Honour and Educate' videos and the monitor on which they are now displayed. The purpose of the meeting was to do an end of project review. We can report that the committee was extremely pleased and impressed with how their money was invested and with the product that we produced.

Later that same day we had an appointment at the Glenbow Museum to view the remains of a WWII Japanese balloon bomb which landed in Alberta in the spring of 1945. As ongoing research has revealed, our Hurricane was one of ten modified fighter aircraft spread across southern Alberta and Saskatchewan to intercept and attempt to shoot down this new device of aerial warfare.

The remains of a 'Fusen Bakudan' or 'Fire Balloon' held by the Glenbow Museum. In the spring of 1945, Hurricane 5389 was modified and tasked to intercept and shoot down this new weapon of war.

Filmmaker Alex Robinson continues to follow our progress and has been on site in Nanton on several occasions this quarter. He recorded much of the June 4th Mosquito Celebration Day including our featured speaker Robert Stitt and the incredible story of Jeff Robinson's recovery of the airplane's crew hatch. Alex also produced a promotional video for the event, which can be seen at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bbQbjjPdDsA

Lots on the go for the upcoming quarter. The organizers of the Canadian Business Aircraft Association are again holding their annual trade show and convention in Calgary and they have invited the CMS to be a key participant at their event as they feel we bring an interesting and colourful dimension to the largest commercial aviation trade show event in Canada.

Taking full advantage of the season and weather there are five more open house events at the Bomber Command Museum in the next three months, including Bikes and Bomber on July 9, the Joe English Memorial Fly-In on July 23, Nanton Parade Day on August 1, the Museum's 30th Anniversary on August 19 and 20 and a Salute to the Halifax on September 17.

On July 29th we will be presenting a one hour lecture on the history of Calgary's Hurricane at the Central United Church as part of the annual Historic Calgary Week.

<Richard de Boer, President

Richard de Boer, President

July 10, 2016

Calgary Mosquito Society Logo