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And Here is How We Finished up 2018

Volunteers put in a total of 1729.75 hours working on the Hurricane and Mosquito in the final quarter of 2018 and total of 5962.25 over the year. Since 2012 we have invested 32,584 hours. Here is what we accomplished from October to the end of December:


We conducted our quarterly inspection of the Hurricane on December 14 in the company of Hangar Flight Museum staff Herb Grieder and Brian Desjardins who wanted a look at the airplane and who had also arranged for some media exposure on the project. More on this under the 'EVENTS' heading below.

In addition to working with our prime contractor, Historic Aviation Services, we are also in close touch with Aero Propeller and Aerocorp Avionics who are close to completing overhauls on the propeller and instruments for the Hurricane.

In October we were informed by HASI that the engine driven hydraulic pump was missing from the airplane. Though not strictly required as we will not be operating any hydraulic systems on the airplane, for the sake of authenticity and completeness, we decided to acquire one. Thankfully parts for 80 year old Merlin engines are relatively easy to acquire and we managed to purchase a 'new/old stock, still in its original box' example from Vintage V-12s in Tehachapi, CA.

A Packard Merlin 29 hydraulic pump. Although not very sexy to most observers, the fact that you can make one phone call and have a 'never been used', 80 year old engine part delivered the next day, is very cool.

In the spirit of mutual support and cooperation, we were able to provide our friends at Vintage Wings of Canada in Gatineau, PQ with some information about the proper style of fuel gauge and its wiring requirements for their Hurricane which is due to take flight in 2020 in the colours and markings of Calgary ace, Flying Officer William L. McKnight

Airframe: Historic Aviation Services

Fuselage and Center Section

Enjoying her first exposure to sun and fresh air since October 2012, Hurricane 5389 was allowed out to play for the day when Historic Aviation Services had their shop lighting fixtures upgraded. - Photo by Ralf Wermann.

Our Hurricane got its first taste of fresh air since 2012 when it was wheeled outside HASI's shop in late October as they were doing a lighting fixture upgrade in the building. Our thanks to Ralf Wermann who was able to get out and capture some excellent photos of her little outdoor excursion. The pictures posted on Facebook gained the most attention of anything we have posted for the past three years.

  • Installed brake air bottle in position.

  • Finished overhaul of fuel system junction branch (from Brian Davis).

  • Fabricated 2 fuel lines from fuel system junction branch to firewall (originals missing).

  • Installed fuel system junction branch and firewall fuel lines in position and checked for fit.

  • Serviced type C-4 fuel filter assembly as required.

  • Serviced fuel system spar penetration joint fitting (again from Brian Davis as the original was missing) and installed same in C-4 fuel filter.

  • Installed complete fuel system branch and fuel filter assembly in position on port side front, centre section spar face, then lock wired assembly as required.

  • Fabricated and installed fuel tank pressurization lines (originals missing) as per Hurricane 5418.

  • Fabricated hydraulic filter upper and forward return line, (original missing), then installed same in position.

  • Serviced as required, hydraulic gear/flap selector valve supply and return lines and installed in position.

  • Received and inspected N.O.S. (New Old Stock) engine driven hydraulic pump, angle drive adaptor and related hardware from Vintage V-12's, California (originals missing).

  • Test fit new header tank front armour plate section (from Brian Davis. Original missing) then primed, painted and installed same in position.

    This (upper) goes there (lower). The coolant overflow tank and the engine itself are protected by armour plating, both fore and aft. This example was provided by friend and supporter Brian Davis who has his own Hurricane project on the go and who generously had a couple of extras made, donating one to our project.

  • Fabricated and installed quantity 5, header tank to armor plate support rods, (6 required, 5 were missing) using original as a pattern.

  • Fabricated, painted (red) and installed port and starboard undercarriage knee strut safety clamps.

  • Fabricated and painted (yellow), main undercarriage up-lock stirrup assemblies (originals missing) as per Hurricane 5418. Installed same in position in port and starboard main wheel axles.

  • Fabricated fuel selector handle to selector valve universal joint coupler (original missing) and installed same in position.

  • Repaired gun sight shade bracket as required and fabricated new green shade panel and fitted to bracket. Installed assembly in position behind windscreen.

  • Installed gun sight in position in front cockpit.

  • Serviced and installed engine slow running cut out control in position on starboard side of cockpit.

    Gun sight shade bracket repaired (upper). With newly manufactured green panel mounted between the windscreen and the newly installed gun sight. Our thanks go out to Ron Taylor for giving us the heads up on what we were looking at with the shade lock mechanism.

  • Made up new engine slow running cut out control cable (original missing) and connected same to carburetor.

  • Serviced cockpit throttle/mixture control quadrant as required. Fabricated missing throttle and mixture tension knobs (originals missing) as per Hurricane 5418 and installed complete assembly on port side of cockpit.

  • Inspected throttle and mixture cables to determine condition. Found to be unserviceable and beyond repair due to corrosion (original equipment replacements not available at this time).

  • Repaired undercarriage warning switch as required and installed in position on throttle/mixture quadrant.

  • Fabricated replacement throttle and mixture control cables from available material. Machined all installation brackets, clamps and associated hardware to adapt new cable system to aircraft. Installed complete cable system in position and tested for function.

  • Fabricated and installed new firewall penetration caps for throttle and mixture cable system.

    All of this work to manufacture the firewall penetration caps mentioned above. How many hours and how many different skills are required to make just this one little part?

  • Began inspection, service and repair of pneumatic brake priority valve and associated components.

    The Dunlop pneumatic brake valve (upper) and the crusty seals and cups that have to be replaced.

    Know where we can find any of the latter? Not as easy to find as Merlin engine parts.


  • Received and installed quantity 4, new manufactured outer wing attach pins and hardware. The new pins fitted in port wing; originals fitted in starboard wing.

  • Repaired gun camera mount as required and installed assembly in position in outboard starboard wing panel.


  • 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.

  • Fabricated and installed wooden rudder tail light mount and electrical conduit.

Wooden rudder tail light mount and electrical conduit to supply power to the tail light; just some of the almost infinite details it takes to make a whole airplane, illustrating once more that restoring an old airplane is not a big job; its 5 million little jobs.

  • Supplied quantity 2, tail light electrical terminal blocks and installed in position (from HASI stocks as the originals were missing).


    At the request of the Windsor Mosquito Group of the Canadian Historical Aircraft Association, we recently dug out the Mosquito ailerons from our offsite storage location and crated them up for the group to use as patterns to make a set for their aircraft. We hear rumours that there may be a set of rudder pedals in it for us at some point in the future...

    Roger D. and Peter V. focus on building a crate for the ailerons so that they can get shipped to Windsor for duplication. Ironically the ailerons are all metal (and are damned heavy!).

    In addition to the rudder pedals, which are unique to the Mosquito, we have also been looking for a throttle quadrant for the airplane. After ten years, one finally became available through a restoration shop in the UK. Though expensive, it was 'new/old stock' in its original box. We needed it and we could afford it. Though it was a somewhat trying process, we were successful in purchasing it. Key to our success were the efforts of David Biscoe whom we met this past summer when he and his wife were touring western Canada from the UK, and made their stop in Nanton to see the Mosquito on Mosquito Celebration Day, July 7th. On our behalf David contacted the sellers, helped to verify the existence and authenticity of the throttle quadrant and after the deal had been made, he made the trip from his home in the Portsmouth area to Old Warden, Bedfordshire to collect it for us. With our 'rare as hen's teeth' and 'valuable as gold' item in hand David researched export requirements and shipping options, packed it securely and got it underway for us. Our considerable and sincere thanks to David Biscoe for all of his efforts on our behalf.

    David Biscoe enjoying an engine run event in the Lancaster when he visited with us last July.

    The throttle quadrant which David helped us to acquire being test fitted in the cockpit.

    Jack McWilliam

    So I am not sure if this should be called the 4th quarter report or the yearend report, so I will spend time covering recent accomplishments and do a bit of review on the year as well.

    Let's start with the right side of the fuselage exterior, which is now completely repaired aft of Bulkhead 3. We solved a number of issues with the vacuum bagging process on the smaller new skin patches before recently tackling the largest patch to date. Each smaller patch presented us with unique challenges and added to our overall knowledge before we attempted the large repair on the right side aft fuselage.

    From the right side interior, the team is now focused on closing up the inside as they double check the skins for defects that require just minor repairs, new glue and painting. Interior painting is moving aft to meet up with the guys moving forward from the tail. Work is slowed down a little as the space in the rear fuselage is very limited and the confined space presents both comfort and stamina issues as well.

    Green is good. It means that all structural repairs have been completed in this area. Here Steve S. is painting the right side of the rear fuselage in preparation for reinstallation of panels and systems.

    Also working on the inside of the right half of the fuselage, Michael H. has been repairing, painting and fitting the main hydraulic panel. Don H. and Don Y. have been finishing the rear fuselage bulkhead with an epoxy coating to seal the wood from future damage from hydraulic fluid, oil and fuel which may enter the area as it is the lowest point of the aircraft.

    Michael H., with pre-disassembly reference photo at hand, works on the wood frame for the hydraulic panel which is to be reinstalled on the right rear inside fuselage.

    With the right side exterior now sealed, the right side of the fuselage interior should be completed shortly. With that in mind, we are concentrating on the components that will be reinstalled in this area. This includes not only painting structural parts like attach points, but also the internal components for the hydraulic and pneumatic systems. The search for seals, metering pins etc., is also under way.

    Andy W. is working to dry fit the copper grounding strips inside the fuselage, starting from the very front and working back. New copper strips were also ordered to replace those which have been lost or destroyed. Andy is also working on the external ground power plug area in preparation for installing one which he located on eBay and we purchased from a dealer in the UK. Previous 'restoration' efforts covered over this area of the fuselage, but old photos of our aircraft in service show the plug's location and use.

    Andy W. glueing together a stack of plywood pancakes which when finished will form the frame in which the ground power socket is mounted. The lower photo helped us determine its exact location as this area had been mistakenly covered over in an earlier 'restoration' attempt.

    Davey D. is now refitting the aft wing attach points after they have been cleaned and painted by Mathew S., who I will return to later in the report. Roger D. and Peter V. built a paint booth which is now in service and is giving us excellent results. With this we should be able to give a cleaner finish to painted surfaces with less heat loss from the building during the winter by not having to use the room sized paint booth for smaller parts. We now spend a large amount of time masking to ready the parts for paint of one color or another.

    Dick S. and Gary T. have moved forward on the left side of the fuselage installing our largest skin repair so far. To begin with, this did not go smoothly as there were a large number of vacuum leaks. We needed to discover the source of each leak and then develop a solution for each unique problem area. The skin is not something that just gets slapped on with a wad of glue and then clamped in place.

    Note all of the tape and plastic patches to Dick's left. All of this was necessary to stop air leaks through the inner skin when we used the vacuum pumps to secure the new outer skin patch.

    This largest patch to date required bleed holes for excess glue, alignment pins, and dry fits to check the scarfs with hand sanded joints to get the skin down as accurately as possible. Then Bomber Command Museum curator Karl K. and his crew helped by getting the hangar ready for the long day ahead for the gluing and vacuum process.

    Dick examines the largest skin repair patch to date. To get sufficient vacuum we use three pumps and two lines to 'suck' it down. It is positioned by wood pins and the patch has numerous holes to allow excess glue to escape.

    The crew took upwards of 14 hours to prepare, glue and watch over the pumps to ensure everything moved along without loss of power or heat. (As it is still winter and not the comfortable 25 C we'd like to work in, everything takes longer and requires more effort). Months of hard learned lessons have added up to help produce a final result that speaks for itself with a new clean skin installed that went on minus any drama. Then it's a case of 'stand back for a minute to admire the work' and on to the next skin.

    Ta da! An almost faultless result. Our largest skin repair to date. It took two months to make and almost 14 hours to prep and install. All of this after 8 months of learning a hundred lessons the hard way. Big congrats to Dick and Gary for their persistence and skill. (Note that the seams in the patch match exactly both the vertical and horizontal seams in the original fuselage skins).

    The crew is now working on the next skin forward on the left side of the fuselage which is part of the aft window area. We are taking an inch or so more skin off to attach the new skin to a longeron near that position. Bear in mind that the last skin took just shy of two months to make and install. This next skin while significantly smaller is complicated by the two windows installed by Spartan Air Services, just aft of the wing trailing edge.

    On the 'good news front', Richard worked hard to acquire a new throttle quadrant for the aircraft from a dealer in England.

    This is one of the key cockpit components that were not with the airplane when we acquired it. When it arrived, we did a temporary dry fit and repaired some of the fasteners that hold the throttle quadrant in place.

    As rewarding as it is to acquire this rare and important part, it raises additional issues like 'where are the control rods and attaching hardware to link the quadrant to the engines?' So it's back to the grind for those missing details.

    Personally, I am now looking at some of the metal components for the cockpit area like the center pedestal which will likely require fabrication. Some of the skills will now shift from wood to metal, as with the panels installed in Bulkhead 2.5. With Roger D. and Peter V. working to rebuild the wood structure of Bulkhead 2.5, Stephen S. and sons Andrew and Matthew are working on the metal connecting panels that are embedded in the bulkhead itself.

    "Think you used enough clamps there, Butch?" The wooden frame for Bulkhead 2.5 being reassembled and glued by Roger D. and Peter V. Most of the original wood was good enough to be reused.

    Richard and I stood back to assess the overall work completed as well as looking at what lies ahead. Looking back to the first time I sat in the cockpit door sill, I recalled wondering how long this would take. I can now see some light at the end of the tunnel and I don't think it's the train.

    One of the Mosquito Society's stated goals has always been to "Educate", but I am not sure we thought we'd be teaching mechanical skills. Without doing anything to encourage it, we now a have a growing number of young guys (and young ladies) working on the Mosquito and I am happy to say that it seems to be working very well for all parties. Last year we had two students from SAIT's aircraft maintenance and repair programs join us in an effort to sharpen some of their basic skills. Both of them are now employed full time in their chosen fields, but we also keep in touch. Since they graduated this past summer a new student has joined us and so the cycle starts over.

    Young Andrew S. talked his father into joining the society and coming down to Nanton to get some hands on experience. Both fit in like they were old hands and we were soon joined by Andrew's even younger brother Matthew. Their high skill level and mature outlook has made them a very welcome addition to our team. Geoffrey C. is another passionate and committed young contributor who is with us most Saturdays. Geoff's father Dave often treats us to coffee and Timbits from the nearby drive through.

    It is a testament to supportive parenting and a strong relationship that father Dave drives his son the hour each way on every Saturday that they are available, and spends the day with us just to indulge his son's passion for aviation in general and for the Mosquito in particular. All of our older regulars accept and engage our younger volunteers, even setting up skill building challenges that are directly related to the restoration of the aircraft. Our youngest contributor Matthew S. was recently able to prove to a skeptical teacher that yes, in fact, he is actually helping to restore a real de Havilland Mosquito.

    Brothers Andrew and Matthew both contributing and learning under the watchful eye of restoration boss, Jack McWilliam. Photos by Stephen S.

    We have another young man from Nanton whose mother drops him off to work with us on Tuesday evenings. A couple of weeks back as we were chatting about the airplane and the project in general, I told him that he probably won't be with us for the full duration of the restoration, but that years from now, once we are done, he and his buddies can walk by the finished aircraft and he can tell them all that he did to help restore her. The smile on his face was as big as the hangar doors: It is a hell of an aircraft.

    Events and Miscellaneous

    As we do each year, we participated in Remembrance Day services and activities at the Bomber Command Museum.

    Their outdoor service is always well attended by hundreds of local citizens with dozens of community organizations laying wreaths at the cenotaph outside the museum prior to the indoor services in the adjacent community hall.

    We are kept busy both before and after the formal events as the museum is open for the day and is well attended by visitors to the museum and by those wanting to check out the progress on the Mosquito.

    Keeping with the Remembrance theme, we were invited by the Rotary Club of Calgary South to address their chapter on November 1 at the Rotary House in Stampede Park.

    The meeting was well attended with over 80 members hearing about the history and restoration progress of Calgary's Hurricane and Mosquito. The chapter records their meetings on video and posts them on YouTube. Our presentation begins at the 27 minute mark.

    Click on image above to open in new tab.

    In an effort to up my 'hands on' skill level, I attended a weekend workshop course on November 18-19 in Penhold, AB., on aircraft fabric covering and repair.

    As both of our birds are finished in fabric, I figured it would be good to have this under my belt. The course is conducted by Gary Hillman and Jodi Ofstie Smith and focuses on the Stits Polyfiber process. There is minimal classroom time and maximum hands on experience. Check out their Facebook page under "Aircraft Fabric Covering With 2 Canadians".

    Click on image above to open in new tab.

    The 'Obi-Wan' of the Polyfiber process addressing the Padawans on the finer points of fabric stitching, patching, covering and painting. Gary and Jodi travel all over North America conducting this intense, fun and rewarding course.

    With anticipation building for the completion of the Hurricane, the Hangar Flight Museum arranged for Global and City TV news crews to attend our quarterly visit to Historic Aviation Services in mid-December. Their purpose was to prime the publicity pumps for when the airplane is finished and delivered back to the City of Calgary in the first half of 2019. Both TV crews shot extensive footage and interview material, though what made it to air in one case was poorly edited and filled with misinformation.

    Greg Davis of HASI chats with Global TV reporter as the camera crews grab some 'B' roll material. Both TV crews showed a great deal of interest in the project and spent almost two hours chatting, interviewing and shooting. Then the editors got hold of it...

    Sadly misinformation can take on a life of its own. Late in December the Canadian Owners and Pilots Association online magazine, which goes out to its 16,000 members, included a one page article on the restoration of the Hurricane that did not include fact checking nor interviews with any of the parties involved and was nothing more than a pirated summary of one of the poorly edited TV news stories. "Hawker Hurricane Undergoing Restoration"

    Every Christmas eve since 1979 the CBC national radio program, "As It Happens" has aired a reading of author Frederick Forsyth's classic story The Shepherd. It is a Christmas themed English ghost story which features a young Royal Air Force pilot flying a de Havilland Vampire jet fighter home from Germany on Christmas eve in 1957. The aircraft experiences serious electrical issues with potentially fatal consequences for the young pilot when he is saved by the pilot of a shepherding aircraft; a de Havilland Mosquito.

    This year we were able to provide some interview material and recommend to the network some Mosquito veterans to speak to for the hour long segment which follows the story.

    Click image above for audio of CBC Radio "As It Happens" - "The Shepherd" Edition 2018

    Mutual Concerns of Air and Space Museums. Nov. 2-6, 2018. -Jack McWilliam

    Colette and I attended the 2018 Mutual Concerns conference, put on by the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, with the Pima Air & Space Museum in Tucson, AZ as the hosting organization this year. Executive Director Scott Marchand and his crew put on an outstanding event, taking us to places I wouldn't have dreamed about years ago.

    As this was my fourth conference and Colette's first, we made new friends and reacquainted ourselves with a number of old friends. This conference addresses issues and processes that affect air museums worldwide. The large number of Canadian attendees were easily identified as we were the ones wearing poppies.

    We ran into an old friend, Roland Miller, who has a spectacular photo display available to museums across the continent titled "Abandoned in Place" which details the physical structures of the space program and is a 'Must See' display for all relevant museums, including Calgary.

    The Smithsonian restoration crew in charge of conserving the Martin B-26 bomber known as "Flak Bait", gave an update with stunning details that one could easily call the gold standard in aircraft conservation and restoration.

    The Martin B-26B Marauder, known as "Flak-Bait" in the Mary Engen Restoration Hangar of the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum at the start of its conservation/restoration process, which is expected to take +10 years. Photo courtesy Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.

    The conference was packed with sessions covering diverse topics such as display challenges, storytelling, life cycles of static displays and the big one, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, slated for later this year.

    (Our thanks to Jack and Colette for representing us at this important international event and from what we hear, making a significant impact in some of the sessions. Note: To date, board members of the Mosquito Society have attended over 20 conferences, sometimes by invitation as speakers or session leaders, in locations such as London England, Seattle, Las Vegas, Edmonton, Windsor, Ottawa, Washington D.C., Tucson and Dayton. In every case, attending board members have covered all costs themselves).

    A walk through AMARG (Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group), otherwise known as 'The Bone Yard', after a talk from the base commander, was a poignant experience for someone who loves aircraft, especially when looking at over 3400 retired machines, most of which are slated for demolition.

    Desert twilight settles over the Convair B-36 Peacemaker bomber at the Pima Air & Space Museum; the hosting facility for this year's Mutual Concerns Conference.

    Standing among 55 C5A Galaxy aircraft, knowing the fate of these giants that had inspired wonder as they wandered the world, was an awe inspiring and bittersweet experience. That evening, standing out in the desert as the sun set on the Pima collection, I found myself wishing I could slip away from all the people to spend at least one night camping out with these giants before they met their fate.

    Some of the 55 C5A Galaxy aircraft at the Pima Air & Space Museum.

    Richard de Boer, President

    January 8, 2019

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