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And Here's How We Closed Out 2017

Volunteer Hours

Mosquito Society board members put in a total of 135.5 hours in the fourth quarter of 2017 on all duties required to run the organization.

Additionally, members of the society worked 1592.75 hours on the Mosquito on 26 separate dates in Calgary and in Nanton. We also worked 31.5 hours on the Hurricane over the same period. Total volunteer hours for this quarter are 1759.75.

Volunteer hours for all of 2017 are 813.5 for administrative work, 5881 on the Mosquito and 146 on the Hurricane for a total of 6840.5.

Volunteer hours since the project start in 2012 are 4587.75 for administrative work, 19,520.5 on the Mosquito and 2513.5 on the Hurricane for a total of 26,621.75.


With the major components of the airplane now restored and assembled, the work for this quarter has centered on manufacturing the many pieces that we have been unable to purchase or acquire.

In our fourth quarter report for 2015, we included an appendix which detailed a shopping list of 51 missing and 'must have' items to complete the Hurricane. Because of 'political' difficulties with suppliers and vendors in England, we were able to purchase just eight of those items. By mid-2017 HASI concluded that their only option was to manufacture what we could not acquire at considerable additional cost and time to both them and the Mosquito Society. HASI's focus since the middle of the year has been to manufacture and machine what was unavailable to us. This includes fasteners, the doghouse, canopy rollers and rails, aileron bell crank parts, access panels, etc.

The largest and most visual progress this quarter was accomplished in completing the infamous doghouse assembly just aft of the pilot's head. In a better world where vendors cooperate, this critical part of the fuselage structure would have been completed much earlier in the process as it ties together so many critical components and areas of the upper fuselage such as the upper formers and stringers, the canopy, windscreen and pilot access doors. Not having the pieces or information to complete the doghouse meant working on all of the related parts and components, with this last of all. As outlined in previous reports, we were finally able to complete the doghouse and related parts through the assistance of several parties including Ron Taylor and Brian Davis, both located in southern Ontario.

One of the parts we had hoped to acquire was a main hydraulic unit as the original had been disassembled at some point with all of the interior working parts having been lost. We managed to borrow one from Vintage Wings of Gatineau, PQ. which allowed us to send the needed parts to a machine shop for duplication. Though probably functional, the results were less than acceptable to us. Jack McWilliam hooked up with amateur machinist Rudy J. who took on the project and created 'jewelry quality' parts for us.

In consultation with HASI we have now ordered the aircraft dope and paint from a supplier in California for delivery at the end of February. Our best estimate for the completion of the aircraft is now for the end of July 2018.

We made our quarterly inspection visit to HASI on December 18.

Jack and Dick consult with machinist Rudy J. (center) on some of the parts needed for the Hurricane hydraulic unit. Examples of Rudy's fine work above.

Airframe: Historic Aviation Services

Fuselage and Center Section

  • Finished fabrication of port side forward doghouse to firewall cockpit woodwork.

How often do you get to cleco plywood? The port side cockpit exterior where wood meets the metal former.

  • Continued fabrication of glare shield woodwork (above and forward of instrument panel).

  • Continued repairs to starboard side cockpit emergency door.

  • Continued manufacture of missing fuselage access panel spring loaded fasteners.

  • Finished fabrication and fit of port and starboard rear canopy rail beds.

  • Manufactured missing starboard side cockpit emergency door hardware (handle, pivot assembly, drag links, locating pins, plunger lock assemblies and pin receiver plates.

Starboard side cockpit emergency door with newly manufactured handle, pivot assy, drag links, locating pins, plunger lock assemblies and pin receiver plates.

  • Machined eight new canopy roller assemblies (originals missing or beyond repair).

  • Finished fabrication of upper and lower doghouse vertical wood formers and installed same in place.

  • Trial fit cockpit sliding canopy and rear canopy rails to doghouse assembly.

Newly manufactured canopy roller assemblies above, and installed below.

-Determined port front canopy rail position and extended unfinished front canopy rail bed to forward anchor position.

Lots on the go here with doghouse, formers, canopy rail, sliding canopy and starboard emergency door all being trial fitted.

  • Finished fabrication, fit and secured port, front canopy rail bed to doghouse and firewall cockpit woodwork.

  • Varnished all finished internal doghouse and port cockpit woodwork as required.

  • Fabricated, fit and installed all exterior doghouse plywood sheeting. Filled, sanded and finished same as required.

And it finally all comes together! The doghouse, forward woodwork, canopy rails and canopy all complete. This should have been done much earlier in the process, but lack of parts and information prevented that option.


  • Began fabrication of port inner main gun bay ammunition door (original missing) using starboard side door as a mirror image pattern.

Starting with an original skin. Note green camouflage of the upper wing surface and the blue of the roundel. The interior frame work held together by clecoes prior to riveting and finally complete and installed on the wing.

  • Began fabrication of port outer gun bay access panel (original missing) using damaged starboard panel as a mirror image pattern.

  • Began fabrication of port and starboard outer gun bay ammunition doors (qty. 2 each side. Originals missing).

  • Began repairs to damaged starboard outer gun bay access panel.

  • Began manufacture of eighteen missing gun and ammunition bay access door and panel spring loaded fasteners.

Six pieces to a single fastener for the gun and ammunition bay access doors.

Each piece machined by hand.


  • Continued rib repairs to port and starboard elevators, rudder, horizontal and vertical stabilizers.

  • Continued leading edge repairs to all above as required.


We continue to work with and support the Windsor Mosquito Bomber Group in their efforts to build a flying Mosquito. We loaned them two fairings which they will use to manufacture replicas. VP Jack McWilliam was able to fly a small crate to Ontario for one of their people to pick up. The crate also contained a spare tail wheel which we donated to their cause in exchange for a crew access ladder that we will gain in the trade.

Jack from the Windsor Mosquito group used our rudder fairing to first create a mold and then manufacture a new piece in carbon fibre.

CMS member Rick F. continues to keep an eye open for Mosquito parts on eBay and with his extensive network of contacts around the world. As with the nose blister acquired last quarter, a member purchased and donated these new items, which we will use as trade material.

A minor electrical panel and an undercarriage/flap/bomb door hydraulic selector unit which we have added to our collection of potential trade materials. The bomb door selector lever is not present indicating that this particular unit was for the fighter version of the Mosquito.

Jack McWilliam

For this report we will start at the front of the aircraft and move toward the tail. Inside the very front of the aircraft, various quadrants in the cockpit are now being painted as are several of the forward bulkheads; all of which require a number of coats of paint. As with most jobs on the airplane, it is time consuming work, using small brushes to get into all the corners. As well, we have to plug all of the threaded holes in the ferrules to prevent the paint from clogging them.

In the cockpit area as well, Andy has taken the time to map the location and keep track of all the grounding straps and he has temporarily installed small nails in each nail hole so the original locations and paths can be followed. Once the painting is completed we will start restoring the grounding straps which are badly wrinkled and cracked.

Upper: We reached a significant milestone in starting to paint the interior of the nose and cockpit area which means all the structural repairs in this area are complete, all damaged ferrules replaced and we can now start to reinstall restored components. Lower: Not quite the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, but Michelangelo (Don H.) takes similar pride in his work.

Gary has finished with the crew entrance area bulkhead and the temporary floor is reinstalled to protect the bulkheads. Painting beneath the floor has started in small areas and will expand shortly. We have gone over bulkhead 2 as much as possible to ensure that cracks and delamination have been repaired. The aft side of this bulkhead has been painted with one coat. More of the metal components for this area have been painted, with repair work for the hydraulic tubing to start once tooling is acquired.

Davey has been hard at work cleaning threads on all the fasteners for the armour plates and reattaching them to the template. Material used to protect the wood and armour from fretting now needs to be sourced and cut for fit.

We are near completion for repairing the damage to the fuselage between bulkhead 2 and the stress fracture on the right side of the fuselage with only holes to be drilled.

The 'ceiling' area between bulkhead 2 and 3 has been inspected with most areas repaired. One more final inspection for any loose ends and it too will be ready for paint. From the cockpit back to this area is a uniform green colour so we will endeavor to complete this to avoid mix ups in paint colours.

The Master and his young apprentice: Here Davey D. shows one of our newer and younger volunteers, Geoffrey C. the finer points of thread cleaning on hardware used to attach the armour plate to bulkhead 1.

On the top side, Andy and Cam have completed most repairs to the structure like cracks, voids and balsa replacement. Andy is now roughing the contours on the outside left to get ready to install new skins. Gary has invented a sander which appears to work well for scarfing areas on the aircraft, eliminating one more technical problem.

In the area of the camera mount, a shelf was added by Spartan which is still firmly attached, making it one of the few areas that are completely intact and original. That said it also happens to be an area we need to access in order to remove bolts that held the lower wing attach points together. Michael and Don have worked to clean the hardware and remove debris to help gain access to these critical bolts.

Andy W. has installed all new balsa wood in the area aft of the cockpit canopy. Once glued in place the balsa has to be sanded to create a smooth curved surface prior to covering with new birch plywood skin.

Although the new balsa wood will be completely covered by the outer skin, we use a permanent ink stamp which reads "Calgary Mosquito Society 2009" on all new material added to the airplane. This is in alignment with best practices, which for future reference will identify and distinguish from original all of the work done and new materials used by our organization in the restoration process.

During inspection some of the joints appeared to require bonding, for which there was no easy fix. Dick came up with the idea of cutting lightening holes parallel to the fasteners so we could get wrenches on them. Of course the most difficult fasteners were the worst to remove and it was no surprise to find them badly corroded. Once repaired, this area will be caulked with epoxy, using fasteners to squeeze it down. Various other locations have also been caulked since we have no access to the joint area. Once the area has been bonded, plugs will be cut to fill the lightening holes.

A lot of work is going into this area, but it is critical to the structure and safety of the aircraft as these are two of only four areas to which the wing attaches. Some injection bonding will likely take place on the skins in this area as well.

Moving aft on the port side of the fuselage, our last piece of bogus skin patching has been removed. Again, this is work that was done after the airplane arrived in Calgary and was in the care of the Air Museum of Canada. It represents the largest patch on the aircraft and the last piece to be removed from the left side of the fuselage. The damage was similar to other areas we have worked on, with poor bonding resulting in delamination, more staple holes, small areas of rot, missing material and last but not least, more cedar below the skin where balsa should have been used.

'The sins of the fathers': Here Jack supervises Cam and Don as they remove a large section of skin that was stapled in place by volunteers with the Air Museum of Canada back in the mid 1960s. Under the bogus skin we found an abundance of non-standard cedar in place of the balsa, as well as a badly damaged inner skin section.

Roger and Peter have worked this area building an internal frame to support the skin shape, cutting out the bad material and preparing the new insert. The new skin will be bonded underneath the existing stringer and will be spliced to the old material.

Gary is scarfing the aft area getting ready for the first external patch, after which we will move forward from this point working back to bulkhead 3.

After the bogus skin was removed Peter and Roger went to work removing the cedar and cutting out a section of damaged inner skin.

Not a job for the large or claustrophobic. Deep in the rear fuselage, Roger installs the temporary structure built to support the new inner skin. Because of the taper of the fuselage and its compound curves, every skin replacement requires a new custom build structure.

Don is busy removing varnish painted over all the dirt in the tail end of the aircraft. This is a very confined space requiring patience and short bursts of work. The aft sheet of plywood on bulkhead six probably has a nail every 1/4 inch.

Inside, Janelle has installed a patch on bulkhead 5, Cam is repairing the internal skin damage on the hell hole door where the aft door striker plate was ripped out.

Events and Miscellaneous

The Canadian Aeronautical Preservation Association is the national umbrella organization for aviation museums across the country. Its membership includes community museums of all sizes, provincial and federal government sponsored museums including the Canada Aviation and Space Museum in Ottawa and a number of military museums including the National Air Force Museum of Canada, based in Trenton. For the first time ever, this year's annual convention, held from October 12th to the 14th, was organized and hosted by the Bomber Command Museum in Nanton. It drew 40 participants from 18 different organizations from as far away as Greenwood, Nova Scotia, and was in our experience, the best such event we have attended since 1984.

A representative from the Avro Museum, located at the Springbank Airport, talks about the goals of the organization which includes flying a piloted replica of the famous Avro Arrow.

The Calgary Mosquito Society had a prominent role in the convention which included delivering the opening presentation on Friday morning, the after banquet presentation on Saturday night, as well as co-presenting a session with Byron Reynolds of Historic Aviation Services on the history and restoration challenges of the Hurricane. CMS Vice President Jack McWilliam also did a presentation on the restoration progress of the Mosquito.

Six board members of the Mosquito Society were registered attendees with a number of our volunteers taking a break from their restoration activities on the Mosquito to sit in on several sessions on Saturday.

The Thursday evening 'meet and greet' was hosted in the Mosquito restoration area of the museum as were all lunch and coffee breaks throughout the convention.

As often happens at these events, a lot of benefit is derived from informal meetings and discussions during breaks and after business hours.

CAPA convention participants take a break in the restoration area of the Bomber Command Museum with the Mosquito as a backdrop. We gave lots of 'one on one' tours during the breaks in the convention.

A talk between Byron Reynolds of HASI and Greg Morrison of the Bomber Command Museum resulted in the museum supplying a rare and much needed valve for the Hurricane's cooling system.

The back half of the coolant overflow tank pop off valve. Though common to all Merlin engine powered aircraft of the era, the one used on the Hurricane is unique to this aircraft type. We needed one; the Bomber Command Museum had one.

We wish to express our thanks to the Bomber Command Museum for their excellent work in organizing and sponsoring the event with special mention to Dave Birrell, Librarian and Director of the museum for all of his hard work.

As we have done every year since 2012, we participated in Remembrance Day events and activities at the Bomber Command Museum, which again saw hundreds of people attend the outdoor wreath laying and memorial ceremonies.

This year's cooler weather did nothing to discourage participation in the outdoor Remembrance Day events at the Bomber Command Museum.

CMS board member Brian Collins lays a wreath at the cenotaph on behalf of our organization.

As usual, we spend much of the day talking with visitors before and after the morning ceremonies. This year's events also saw a troop of Beavers and Cubs from Calgary 'camping' overnight in the restoration area of the museum adjacent to the Mosquito.

We took the opportunity to spend a few minutes with them to talk about our favourite wooden airplane.

A troop of Beavers and Cubs spent the night in the museum camped around the Mosquito and Lancaster. In the morning we spent some time with them to make sure they knew which was the better looking and historically more important of the two airplanes.

Dr. Betty Campbell of Ottawa, ON., also stopped in for a visit on Remembrance Day to check on our progress and to donate some very interesting Spartan Air Services artifacts to our growing collection.

Dr. Campbell earned her PhD in photogrammetry and was with Spartan in the 1950s converting the photos taken by our Mosquito into the first comprehensive set of maps of northern Canada.

Jack McWilliam talks to Dr. Betty Campbell about some of the structural repairs on the Mosquito fuselage. Dr. Campbell is featured in a number of our 'Honour and Educate' videos available on YouTube.

Dr. Campbell donated some of her 'tools of the trade' including booklets on map making and two Zeiss stereoscopes, which turn overlapping photos into stunning 3D images used in the process of creating contour lines on maps.

Our project attracts a lot of people for quite a variety of reasons.

Recently instructors of the Aircraft Structures program at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology suggested to some of their students that they could enhance their skill level on some basic tools by participating and volunteering with the Mosquito Society. Two students took the suggestion to heart and have become regular volunteers with us. Jack McWilliam has undertaken the role of mentor in providing them with a range of tasks to support their learning.

VP Jack McWilliam in the role of mentor, teacher and sage to SAIT Aircraft Structures student Janelle F. who has become a regular volunteer seeking to up her skill levels.

Late in November we received a tremendous donation of Spartan Air Services artifacts and documents from the Armstrong family of Calgary. Their father Neil was with Spartan for fifteen years, dating back to the early 1950s. The collection includes artifacts such as a Spartan jacket patch (in new condition), baseball cap and African style Spartan logoed letter opener (Spartan had mapping contracts in Kenya) as well as a wealth of documents including photographs, brochures, reports, letters, in house magazines and newspaper articles, a treasure among which is a Calgary Albertan article showing the arrival of our Mosquito in Calgary giving us, for the first time, its exact arrival date of January 12, 1965.

A 9" Spartan jacket patch in new condition and a capabilities brochure are just two of the items donated by the Armstrong family of Calgary from the estate of long time Spartan employee Neil Armstrong ('No, not that one; I'm just a half-ass-tronaut' Neil would explain).

An African style Spartan logoed letter opener and a Calgary Albertan newspaper clipping reporting on the arrival of CF-HMS in Calgary on January 12, 1965.

In closing out this quarterly report we wish to acknowledge the passing, on December 15th, of one of our dedicated volunteers, Paul R. Douglas. Paul came down to Nanton almost every Saturday to help in any way that he could. At our first casino Paul worked back to back double shifts putting in two sixteen hour days. Paul had a lifelong passion for aviation and was blessed with an incredible memory. Paul grew up in Victoria, BC where he developed a passion for the Martin Mars water bombers and anything built by Boeing.

Paul paint stripping Mosquito parts prior to repainting. Paul was a voracious reader who had an incredible memory for where and when he first saw any aircraft type. Paul was well travelled, good natured and a dedicated volunteer.

<Richard de Boer, President

Richard de Boer, President

January 6, 2018

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