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The First Chunk of 2018. What's Going on With the Mosquito and Hurricane?

Volunteer Hours

As per the accompanying documents, board members of the Mosquito Society worked a total of 215.25 hours in the first quarter of 2018 on all duties required to run the organization.

Additionally, members of the society worked 1146.75 hours on the Mosquito on 23 separate dates in Calgary and in Nanton. We also worked 43.5 hours on the Hurricane over the same period. Total volunteer hours for this quarter are 1405.5.


We continue to work closely with Historic Aviation Services in sourcing parts and dealing with vendors who are working on components of the aircraft.

After nearly a year in our hands we are finally able to return the Hurricane's hydraulic control unit to Historic Aviation Services. At some point back in the mists of time, the unit was removed from the airplane, disassembled and all internal parts were lost. It necessitated borrowing a complete unit from Vintage Wings Canada and engaging a second machinist to manufacture the missing pistons and arms when we were not satisfied with the quality of the work produced by the first. We also needed to build the tools required to disassemble and reassemble the case. Considerable research was also required to source new seals from overseas vendors.

The hydraulic control unit, now with new pistons, control arms and seals. At some point in the past, the case was opened and emptied leaving us to manufacture and replace all the fiddly bits on the inside.

As the airplane will not be flown, the undercarriage will not be retracted and the flaps will not be needed. The obvious question here is 'why bother' with all the time and expense to rebuild a hydraulic control unit? It's an interesting question to which we continue to receive an entertaining range of responses.

Our thanks to society Vice President Jack McWilliam for overseeing this whole process and meeting every challenge to get this unit completed.

Once again we owe thanks to our two Hurricane enthusiasts in Ontario, Brian Davis and Ron Taylor for sourcing parts such as an RPM indicator and a number of drawings needed to build a pilot access step. Both gentlemen have their own Hurricane projects and have been very helpful on a number of occasions.

Brian Davis flew in from Ontario with Darrell Brown when we visited Historic Aviation for our quarterly inspection on March 23. They were anxious to see our airplane in its current state, to spend considerable time talking with chief engineer Greg Davis while taking hundreds of photos of various components and assemblies on the Hurricane. The next day we hosted their visit to the Bomber Command Museum to see the Mosquito project. We also visited Historic Aviation Services on March 16 with Australian military historian and author Ken Wright who was the first international member of the Calgary Mosquito Society and an early contributor to our website.

Visiting from Australia was historian and author Ken Wright (top) and in the bottom photo HASI engineer Greg Davis talks to visitors Brian Davis and Darrell Brown who came out from Ontario to inspect the Hurricane in support of their own restoration projects.

We are also happy to report that after more than two years of researching colours and markings for the Hurricane that the ten custom colours of Aerothane paint were delivered by the vendor in California.

Thanks and acknowledgement to board member Andy Woerle for heading up the research to determine the colours and markings on the airplane. Our efforts engaged some of the best minds on the subject here in Canada, in the USA and in Britain. From this work Andy has produced a +75 page document that is likely the definitive work on Canadian Hurricane markings. He has also distilled all of the information down to a four plan view with precise details on all the colours and markings on the airplane for Historic Aviation's use to paint the airplane.

The result of over two years work in concert with some of the finest historians in Canada, the UK and the USA. Thanks to CMS board member Andy Woerle, this four plan view of the precise colours and markings for the Hurricane, detail for HASI exactly how to finish the airplane.

With all of this information in hand, board member Scott McTavish worked with a digital artist in the UK to update the colour profile print of the Hurricane which will soon be available for sale and should be quite popular when the airplane is complete and on display.

Digital print of Hurricane 5389.

In addition to acquiring a full set of original and deactivated .303 Browning machine guns for the Hurricane, we have also acquired a quantity of bullets and links, enough so that every gun will have a belt running to its ammunition box. Most of the rounds are the correct vintage, being dated from 1936 to 1943.

Dave C. watches his son Geoffrey load .303 rounds into clips with an authentic WWII vintage tool to make up ammunition belts for the guns in the Hurricane.

Geoffrey made a single belt, 26 feet long (8 meters) with all of the bullets. How long would it take the Hurricane’s 12 guns to burn through this much ammunition? A: Two and a half seconds; though a full load of ammunition would give the Hurricane up to 16 seconds of firing time.

Airframe: Historic Aviation Services

Fuselage and Center Section

  • Finished fitting sliding canopy to cockpit doghouse assembly.

  • Manufacture and install windscreen to canopy seal fairing (original missing).

  • Prep, mask and paint rear cockpit doghouse area covered by sliding canopy as required. (Dark green color matched to original sample).

  • Installed upper, rear cockpit armor plate (behind pilot's head).

  • Made up plywood templates for middle and lower, rear cockpit armor plates (originals missing) began fabrication of same.

  • Manufacture port and starboard rear sliding canopy stops; install same in position (originals missing).

  • Final fit and finish of starboard cockpit emergency exit door panel.

  • Fabricated missing fuselage cross brace wires (qty 2) at joints G and H (as per Hurricane 5418). Installed same in position aft of radio equipment rack.

  • Fabricated inner seat height adjuster segmented quadrant section (original missing) using outer section as a pattern. Installed same and adjusted seat for proper raise/lower operation.

Manufacturing the pilot's seat height adjuster. Much of the original had disappeared over time. Using one side as a pattern to make its mirror image.

  • Restored canopy open lock and cable assembly as required. Installed same in position in port side of cockpit.

  • Installed new Morse telegraph switch assembly for downward identification light (from HASI inventory) in position in starboard side of cockpit.

  • Sorted port side cockpit access, retractable step components to determine missing parts and materials required to fabricate same.

  • Sourced materials and fabricated inner extension tube, stirrup assembly and locating brackets.

The iconic retractable 'stirrup' for the pilot to get from the ground to the trailing edge of the port wing. The stirrup and much of the complex retraction mechanism was missing and had to be manufactured.

  • Cleaned and serviced step handhold actuating assembly and connecting rods, pulleys and anchors as required.

  • Made up and installed necessary woodwork to accommodate step hand hold actuating assembly on port side of fuselage.

  • Installed retractable cockpit access step and hand hold actuating assembly in position in fuselage, and rigged for proper operation.

  • Finished fabric work around hand hold actuating assembly as required.

  • Sorted original main port side cockpit electrical components and wiring to determine condition and restoration process. (Other than one fuse panel and several junction boxes, virtually all items were un-useable.

  • Fabricated new wood main port side cockpit electrical panel using original as a pattern. Prep and paint cockpit green.

  • Service original electrical junction boxes as required. Supplied serviceable item from HASI inventory.

  • Supplied serviceable landing light relay from HASI inventory (1 original beyond repair).

  • Mounted electrical junction boxes, fuse panel and landing light relays to main cockpit electrical panel.

BEFORE: The port side cockpit electrical and fuse panel with landing/taxi light lever.


  • Disassemble, clean, inspect and repair landing/taxi light dipper lever control as required.

  • Machine new dipper lever control tension knob (original missing) as per Hurricane 5418.

  • Re-assemble dipper lever control unit and install in position on main cockpit electrical panel.

  • Manufactured mounting brackets for main cockpit electrical panel as required (originals missing). Mounted main cockpit electrical panel assembly in position on portside of cockpit.

  • Manufactured new wood brake air supply gauge, mounting panel (using original as a pattern), prime, silver dope and install same in floor of cockpit.


  • Manufactured qty. 2, starboard side aileron bellcrank actuating rods using port side examples as pattern.

  • Made up qty. 2, starboard side aileron pulley actuating cables, using port side examples as patterns.

The aileron bellcrank assembly, another component that has dogged us since the start of the project. Failing to locate one, HASI used one as a pattern to manufacture a second for the opposite wing. The brass fitting on the upper left is milled from raw stock, requiring thirty seven different operations.

  • Final installation of port and starboard aileron bellcrank assemblies, actuating rods and cables in main wing panels.

  • Fabricate port side aileron bellcrank top, service / inspection panel (original missing) using starboard side as mirror image pattern.


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

  • Continued leading edge repairs to all above as required.

  • Continued trailing edge repairs to all above as required.

  • Begin fabrication of port side tail wheel, lower rudder hinge, horizontal stabilizer mounting, and service/inspection panel (original missing) as per Hurricane 5418.

  • Manufacture qty. 4, port side tail/empennage service/inspection panel spring loaded fasteners (originals missing).

  • Begin manufacture of lower, rear fuselage to rudder streamlined fairing (original missing).

Byron R. and Andy W. admire some of Greg's handiwork in building from scratch the lower rear fuselage fairing for aft of the tail wheel. Lacking both original parts and drawings, Greg used the airframe as a jig to build the new piece.


Jack McWilliam

The work accomplished in the first quarter of 2018 is very similar to that in the fourth quarter of 2017. The cockpit area is being painted with a second coat. After the first coat of paint, which was thinned to help penetrate the dry wood, we took a look for any defects that the paint exposed. This included any areas where additional sanding, filling and gluing were done to facilitate repairs. The 'finished' (to this point) product looks quite clean at this point and is in sharp contrast to the days when we first started on the fuselage.

The hardware for the armour plate below the crew positions is almost complete, with only the gasket between the bulkhead and plate remaining to be cut before the plate is reinstalled.

Then and Now: 2012 and 2018. Standing in the bomb bay looking forward into the cockpit and nose area.

The rubberized cork has arrived so discussions are underway to determine the best way to cut the sizeable gasket. We look forward to attaching the armour plate to the bulkhead as it will provide some significant structural integrity for this area of the fuselage. Even Spartan Air Services learned the importance of the plating, which they had removed at one point because of its weight, only to reinstall it after recognizing that it served a structural purpose.

Davey D. working on the bulkhead prior to reinstalling the armour plate which protected the crew’s lower legs and provided significant structural strength to the fuselage.

The structure around the aft lower wing attach points has been opened, with a great deal of old glue removed were possible with the joints being re-glued. Wooden plugs were made to fill holes cut in the camera operator's shelf in order to gain access to the hardware that bolted the structure together. New hardware will be sourced and installed as corrosion in this area was extensive.

Work is progressing from the 9 o'clock to 3 o'clock position aft of bulkhead 2 with work around the attach brackets for the hydraulic tanks. The skins have already been patched or repaired in the area so work is progressing rapidly with Dave D. putting the final touch to the area.

Bouncing around a little, the rearmost area of the fuselage interior has been cleaned and stripped from outside the last bulkhead, which now requires us to enter the tail area from the hell hole in order to complete the cleaning, paint stripping and repairs. The coating that had covered the grime in the tail has been quite difficult to remove, especially given the limited and awkward access to this area. Don Y. and Don H. have been taking turns cleaning the area as it is quite physically demanding.

Don Y. reaching in the back door to clean out and paint strip the rearmost area of the fuselage.

Roger D. has completed the structural repairs to the port side of the rear fuselage including the balsa installation. This leaves only the exterior skins to be installed.

We continue to experiment with and learn about vacuum bagging to facilitate installing the exterior skins, with a few challenges yet to be resolved. Equipment should be in place to move forward with this by the end of the week.

Roger examines the inner skin of the rear port side fuselage to determine how much will have to be replaced due to water damage that has rotted the wood and weakened the structure.

Gary T. is handling the vacuum bagging work and is now working on a patch on the starboard side of the fuselage which is slightly larger than the first patch on which this process was first used. The starboard side of the fuselage has significantly less damage than does the port, so there will more patching and far less full skin panel replacement.

Gary T. experimenting with vacuum bagging new skin to the fuselage. Michael H. looks on as SAIT students Janelle and Kerona take some instruction from Dick S. above.

Andy W. is working to repair a stringer on the starboard rear side of the fuselage. It appears that impact damage has given the stringer a concave shape and that a scarf joint in the area has separated, complicating the repair efforts. Roger W. is working his carpenter's magic building forms to hold the stringer in position for gluing and repair. Patch locations have been drawn out on the outside of the starboard fuselage where we will move in increments to keep the patches as small as possible.

Andy W. working to repair a stringer on the rear starboard side of the fuselage. It has bowed inward and split at a scarf point.

We have begun to build a list of hardware necessary to start bolting some of the structure back together. The original metal hardware on this aircraft is both peened over and corroded beyond belief in some areas as it is embedded in the wood, much of which has held a great deal of water for years. Andy W. has located a company that may supply us with copper strips that we can use to replace any of the iconic bonding straps that crisscross the interior of the fuselage.

I am optimistic we should be well on our way to getting the exterior skins installed before the summer season. We will continue to get some of the mechanical pieces ready for installation once the painting is complete. The job of painting small metal bits and pieces is a surprisingly time consuming task.

Events and Miscellaneous

Traditionally the first quarter of the year is the slowest for activities outside of restoration work. That said we did have a couple of requests for a speaker to provide updates of our projects. The first was for a combined meeting of the Red Deer Flying Club and the Harvard Historical Aviation Society on January 15th. Approximately 40 people attended the meeting which was held at the Red Deer Airport. The second speaking engagement was for the Calgary Recreational and Ultralight Flying Club on February 14th at the Hangar Flight Museum which was attended by twenty members.

Gary T. and Dick S. look on as two of our younger volunteers, Geoffrey C. and Jordan F., try their hand at lock wiring. Retired AME and dedicated volunteer Davey D. set up the board to provide some instruction to the younger and less experienced members of our crew.

Helping out our hosts and providing some real world experience. Here Ken P. is working with SAIT students Kerona M. and Janelle F. to secure the scissor links in the undercarriage of the Bomber Command Museum's Beech 18. It's all in the name of community, cooperation and contribution which is an informal, but important part of our mandate.

On March 14th we held our Annual General Meeting at which time we delivered the required financial statements, confirmed board positions and gave an overview of the years' accomplishments. All sitting board members agreed to serve for another year and no new names were added.

CMS board member and Communications Director, Brian Collins addresses members of the society at our Annual General Meeting on March 14th.

Our thanks also to WestJet and CMS member Trevor McTavish for securing a pair of 'fly anywhere' tickets which we will raffle off as a fund raiser. Tickets are just $5 each with the draw date set for August 25.

In closing, we note the passing of Robert W. (Bob) Evans, a founding member and the curator of the Bomber Command Museum in Nanton, AB. Bob was not only a member of the Calgary Mosquito Society as well, but it was his attempt to get the Mosquito on display at the BCM that lead to the creation of the Calgary Mosquito Society.

Robert W. (Bob) Evans April 19, 1928 – March 12, 2018 Bob was a founding member of the Calgary Mosquito Society and the Bomber Command Museum, as well as curator of the latter since the museum was created in 1986.

In 2007 Bob wrote to the Calgary Aerospace to see if the Mosquito could be loaned to and displayed by the Bomber Command Museum in Nanton as it was in storage and not accessible to the public in Calgary. Bob received a reply from the Aerospace informing him that the Mosquito was beyond the capabilities of anyone in Canada to restore, but that there were plans for it. Sensing a deal that might see the Mosquito exported from Canada, Bob put two and two together and called me. The rest is Calgary Mosquito Society history.

<Richard de Boer, President

Richard de Boer, President

April 12, 2018

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