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The 'When is That Hurricane Going to be Finished?" Edition

Before we answer that question, know that we are working hard. Board folk put in 194 hours in the past quarter doing board stuff. Volunteers put in over 1770 hours in the past three months working on the Hurricane and Mosquito.

Now on to the Hurricane news:


We made our quarterly trip to Wetaskiwin to check on the Hurricane on June 5. On the day we attended the crew were just working out the exact positions of the final markings on the airplane, all of which were completed within the next week. The airplane is now fully painted with all roundels, markings and stencils and it looks spectacular! Less the propeller, it looks like a complete and finished airplane. This is of course not quite the case.

Looking glorious in all of her colours and markings. Greg and Buck establish the exact location of the squadron code letter (M) and the RCAF number (5389) prior to painting. This is where hundreds of hours of research into shades, stencils, position, style, placement, finish and more all come together as a thing of beauty realized.

Getting the propeller assembled and finished is one of our challenges. We have been in very regular contact with our propeller shop which has had the unit for almost six years, but find themselves challenged in the past six months to complete the final assembly as they struggle with staff issues and regular customer's demands. As yet, this last major component awaits completion and as such is not yet ready for delivery and installation. Our offers to supply licensed assistants and additional payments have not helped to clear their backlog and allow them to finish the propeller. At the moment it is a case of our persistence versus their resistance.

As our mandate is to bring the Hurricane to 'run and taxi' status, it is necessary for all systems including electrical, pneumatic, hydraulic, fuel, oil and coolant to be complete before this is possible. If you are missing just one piece in any system you essentially have a link missing from your chain and no system can function if it is just 99% complete. Our inspection in early June found that a coolant pipe, long promised to us by another organization working on a Hurricane restoration, is now no longer available and must therefore be manufactured.

As was mentioned in our previous report, the oil system is in a similar state with a pipe from the firewall to the engine having to be manufactured. Thanks again to Brian Davis for loaning us his unit which we can use to reverse engineer the unusual British fittings on either end of the pipe. Both the Mosquito Society and Historic Aviation Services expended considerable effort over many weeks dealing with Aero Vintage Ltd., LAS Aerospace and finally Supermarine Aero Engineering (all located in the UK) before coming to the conclusion that we would need to have the end fittings machined locally.

The crew at HASI were also busy completing the pneumatic system with a variety of fittings and lines so that the brake system could be completed and made functional. A significant amount of electrical wiring was also still waiting for some attention. On the day that we were there, Greg and Buck were also tackling the .303 Browning machine guns which all need some attention to standardize and complete them and to see them refinished.

Our collection of original .303 Brownings for the Hurricane. Lots to be done to strip them down, complete with newly machined parts and then refinish them all to look like new.

In addition to supplying the newly machined gun parts, the Mosquito Society also had two new hand crank starter handles manufactured by Tekoa Research Design and Development of Okotoks, AB. Upon delivery to HASI they agreed that the new hand cranks were distinguishable from the original by virtue of their superior workmanship. After consulting with Vintage V-12s and scouring our sources in the UK, we have also had to enlist Tekoa to machine some sprockets for the starter system and now await their delivery. Unusually the Hurricane has a 12 volt electrical system and the hand crank starting system may well have to be functional in order to start the airplane. For practical purposes, virtually every flying Hurricane in the world has been converted to a 24 volt system, but ours, despite the disadvantages and challenges, will remain authentic. On that topic we were asked to source a proper 12 volt meter for the airplane which was generously supplied by Rick Featherstone. Additionally we also supplied a Fairchild AN-N6 gun camera which was sourced from my personal collection.

Last minute parts hunting to complete the Hurricane: a proper model voltmeter and a 'cine' gun camera -donated from my private stash after decorating a living room book shelf for the past 24 years.

It is a truism in this business to say that the airplane is now 90% complete, with 90% left to go. Speculating on an exact date for first engine run and eventual delivery would be foolhardy no matter how close we seem to be. Such endeavours as restoring 77 year old airplanes seem to keep their own timetables in defiance of all mortal desires and schedules.

With all painting complete, she looks almost finished, but lots remains to be done under her pretty new skin.


Jack McWilliam

So let's get started with the cockpit. Andy is working on the hardware that attaches various components required throughout the cockpit and fuselage. As much as possible, we are trying to use original British standard BSF, BA and BSW hardware, which at this point is coming from suppliers in the UK, or was left over from the restoration of Mosquito CF-HMJ and donated to us by owner Bob Jens. The first shipment received from the UK posed a couple of issues as the supplier had a limited quantity of the sizes we require, or in some cases were sold out of what was listed as available stock.

It’s all about the glamour. Andy W. sorts $1200 worth of newly acquired hardware from LAS Aerospace in the UK.

The process of identifying the correct hardware is complicated by the fact that the illustrated parts catalogue that we are working with is for a NF. XIX, night fighter version of the Mosquito, as was used by Sweden after the war. We are reaching out to the Canada Aviation and Space Museum which lists on their website, a parts manual for a PR. 35 model of the Mosquito. As there was only ever one example of the PR.35 in Canada, and ours is the only survivor of this variant, we have a pretty good ideas as to the origins of the manual.

We are in the process of priming and painting the hardware in advance of installation on the armoured bulkhead below the crew seats, as well as for Bulkhead 7 at the very rear of the fuselage.

It’s all about the glamour, 2.0. Once all the hardware has been cleaned, prepare the painting boards. Prime one side and let it dry. Flip it over and prime the other side. Let it dry. Paint. Let it dry. Flip it over. Paint and let that side dry. Repeat as required.

We have dismantled our cockpit mock up as we are ready to begin the process of restoring and installing those components into the airplane. Roger and Peter have mounted the control yoke and trim wheel on a sheet of wood so we can start the refurbishing work on these components as well as being able to function check the systems. This may take some time as it is necessary to clean, strip, refinish, reassemble and ensure the serviceability of each part prior to installation.

Don, Peter and Davey remove the pilot seat, controls and fixtures from our cockpit mock up in order to begin restoring the parts and installing them in the actual cockpit.

Looking back from the cockpit, more of the fuselage interior is now green with the port side forward section being the only unfinished area. I have been inspecting this section of the fuselage to ensure that it is structurally sound before we ready it for painting. We should have the inside completely painted by the end of July. This will mark a significant milestone in the restoration of the fuselage.

It’s almost all green and that is a very good thing. New green paint inside the fuselage signifies that all structural repairs have been successfully completed. It should be all green by the end of July.

Our collection of loose 'jigsaw puzzle pieces' for the fuselage is now getting significantly smaller as we continue to reinstall parts in the back of the aircraft such as the hydraulic mounting brackets. Additionally, Brian is making new gaskets for the cockpit floor and radio compartment just aft of the crew positions.

A challenge ahead of us is in the restoration and installation of the iconic copper grounding strips, both original and new, back into the fuselage. Volunteer Steve S. has modified some tooling for the job of bending the newly acquired copper strips, purchased from a vendor in the US. Steve S. is also making the end tabs for connecting the grounding straps to components mounted in the cockpit and throughout the fuselage.

We have begun to install the original copper grounding straps in the forward fuselage and cockpit area. At right are some of the new end tabs made for us by Steve S.

We are also working with the People's Mosquito in the UK to acquire drawings in order to map the location and runs of the copper strips as we aren't sure how much of it was removed before we started working on the airplane in 2012. The last issue with the copper grounding strips is to figure out how best to straighten the original material without deforming the thin, narrow, soft strips.

Roberto has manufactured doublers for the hell hole door that had corroded to basically nothing. These doublers are intended to hold the hinges to a door that is not hinged any longer. This access point to the rear fuselage was modified by Spartan to a plug style hatch so that the camera operator could, when necessary, bail out (which they did).

Bulkhead 7 components, at the rearmost point of the fuselage, with the exception of the hardware are now all painted and ready for installation. Despite the fact that all of the parts for Bulkhead 7 were removed over 50 years ago, we are missing only one part; a sheet metal angle strip, which should be relatively easy to manufacture.

Mike and Don started installing the tail wheel attach points before Mike disappeared for a summer vacation tour of Canada. Davey is ready to start putting on the attach points for the horizontal stab. We'll get our fork lift driver Richard to pull the stab out of storage and begin the inspection process as well as taking a look at the attach brackets to see what we are missing. We know we have issues in this area as the support brackets appear to be missing for the tail wheel. Another issue that we will need to address is the fact that the tail wheel fender, mounted inside the stabilizer, is basically crushed flat.

Having removed the mechanical parts from the cockpit mock-up, we will continue to make use of it by installing the cockpit floorboards, beneath which run metres and meters of hydraulic and pneumatic lines which we can begin to sort and install. Having done that, we can use the bench space previously occupied by the restored cockpit floor panels as a work location for the horizontal stabilizer.

With a span of nearly 21 feet, a full shuffle of the work space is going to be in order so as to accommodate travel around the stabilizer once it is brought down to the hangar floor. This will be aided by the fact that some of the scaffolding will be removed from around the fuselage after we complete the exterior skin repairs.

And on the subject of skins, Gary and Dick tackled some significant challenges in working with the first 3 mm thick skin panel. Working with this thicker skin panel raised issues such as how to seamlessly scarf it into the 2mm skins, how to bend it to the fuselage curves and how to effectively seal it so as to utilize our vacuum process to get it to effectively adhere to the inner layer of the fuselage. As usual, Dick and Gary's experience, patience, persistence and trial and error methods ultimately proved successful.

The first 3 mm skin section now successfully installed after weeks of wrestling with new challenges presented by the thicker ply, including scarfing to the 2 mm skins.

The vacuum leaks were more challenging than had been thought, but once the tests were completed the guys got 23 inches on the small pumps even before starting the big pump. With the first of the 3 mm skins now successfully installed, we have cleared a high hurdle and will now move to the 3 mm skin on the starboard side of the fuselage. This is just a repair patch and not a full skin so it should be somewhat easier.

Gary and Dick have perfected a method of installing the skins that leaves us confident that the last couple of skins won't give us any major problems (but this aircraft has proven us wrong more than twice). Dick is currently documenting our procedures so we can give some guidance to our friends at the Mosquito Aircraft Association of Australia, which may offer them an option for their fuselage repairs.

Looking forward along the port side of the fuselage you can see that it is almost all covered in new plywood skins. With the exception of the most recent forward section, it is all 2 mm thick, 3 ply birch made to the same specifications as used by DH during the war.

With the 3 mm skin installed around the wing opening there is now an end in sight for the structural repair work on the fuselage. Removing the scaffolding will give us access to the underside of the fuselage so that we can inspect and complete the last of the structural repairs.

Events and Miscellaneous


Our hosting facility for the Mosquito restoration, the Bomber Command Museum of Canada, has a busy schedule of special event days as we move through the spring months and into summer. These event days have a significant impact on our activities as we often spend a good deal of our day talking to visitors and fulfilling more of the 'Honour and Educate' and less of the 'Restore' pillars of our mandate.

The events in this quarter kicked off early in April with the annual weekend long visit of Air Cadets chiefly from Cranbrook, BC, who also participate in the major spring clean up activities in and around the museum. The first major outdoor engine run events were scheduled for April 27 but were cancelled because of blizzard warnings for later in the day.

On May 11, we hosted the annual visit of kids and parents from the High River 4H Club. The day's activities included tours of the Mosquito restoration and its history and some basic hands-on opportunities for those who wished to participate.

One of our key volunteers, Davey D. spends some time with High River 4H kids demonstrating some of the skills required to restore the Mosquito.

May 25 saw the first major engine run events of the season with the Lancaster, and the newly acquired and airworthy Cessna Crane and Tiger Moth all firing up for their first public displays with the museum. "Art Takes Flight" was hosted on June 1 with regional artists setting up displays and sales in the main hangar, again generating increased visitor traffic for us.

Just two weeks later it was the biennial Western Canada Regional Model Contest, Silver Anniversary event which drew hundreds of participants and spectators. We were pleased to see a very well done 1/48th scale version of our Hurricane on display. Later that same day the museum quickly switched gears to host the Spitfire Swing 1940s Costume Party fundraising event in support of the Spitfire restoration project within the museum. This was an excellent event with great period costumes, silent auction items, raffles, a late night Lancaster engine run and very dance-able big band music.

Above, one of the entries for the Western Canada Regional Model Contest, Silver Anniversary event was this beautiful 1/48th scale replica of our Hurricane by CMS board member Andy W. Below, organizer Rick F. addresses party goers at the Spitfire Swing fundraising event that same evening.



Last autumn we were contacted by the organizers of the Canadian Owners and Pilots Association and asked to do a presentation for their national convention which was hosted in Innisfail, AB from June 6 to the 8th.

We presented an hour long PowerPoint talk about the history and restoration of the Hurricane and Mosquito to a knowledgeable and enthusiastic audience of approximately 45 attendees.


Classic Wings magazine out of New Zealand has been keeping tabs on our projects and in their recent spring edition they published a short update on the Hurricane. It can be found in Issue III, Vol. 24, No. 3.

An article in the latest issue of Classic Wings about our beloved Hurricane.

The latest issue of Air Classics, August 2019, Vol. 55/No.8, also carried an update on the Hurricane. Sadly they simply lifted the photos from our Facebook page without permission or credit and then got the information in the text wrong.


Each year our hosts at the Bomber Command Museum offer us the opportunity to showcase our favourite wooden airplane on one of their special event days. This year, Mosquito Celebration Day took place on June 29. We were favoured with great weather and record setting visitor attendance. The day featured a Lancaster engine run event at 11 a.m. with the chance to reward some of our dedicated volunteers with the opportunity to experience the event from inside the cockpit of the Lancaster.

For these runs, the Lanc crew accomodates the theme of the day by initally starting and running just the two inboard engines on the airplane, thus simulating the sound and experience of a twin engined Mosquito doing a run up. (Canadian built Mosquitoes used virtually identical Packard Merlin engines to those powering Canadian built Lancasters). After a few minutes the outer two engines are started and the crowd is invited to see and hear this not as a Lancaster engine run, but as two Mosquitoes in very close formation.

Our promotional poster for Mosquito Celebration Day. Above, Don H. chats with a visitor about how the Mosquito was used by Spartan to take aerial photos of Canada and how those photos were turned into the first comprehensive set of maps of our entire country. Below, Jack holds court to a full house on the joys and challenges of restoring the Mosquito.

CMS volunteers Dick S. and Peter V. enjoy the morning Lancaster engine run from inside the airplane while below, Steve S. with sons Matthew and Andrew await their turn for the afternoon run. Big thanks to the Bomber Command Museum and to the Lanc crew for the privilege.

On completion of the run, we encouraged visitors to head straight to the Mosquito where restoration boss, Jack McWilliam did a great 'walk and talk' on the joys and challenges of restoring the airplane. This year Jack's talk saw double the attendance of last year's event. While there, we drew the visitors attention to some of the artifact displays set up for the day including a refreshed 'Aerial Photo Mapping' exhibit by board member Don H, souvenir sales including authentic Mosquito skin key chains, courtesy of efforts of Jack and Colette, a used books sales table and much more.

Our hosts participated further by doing a live tail turret demonstration in the main hangar, which we followed up with a PowerPoint presentation on World War II's most accomplished bomber aircraft, Mosquito F for Freddie. The latter saw an audience of approximatley 120 in attendance.

Add a metal ring and you have our brand new key chains. The face is made from off cuts of new birch plywood with our logo burned into the front side. The back side is original skin from our airplane. Our entire supply sold out in one day! Great work by Jack, Colette and Cam.

We wrapped up the events of the day with a second Lancaster engine run in the afternoon, enabling us to treat more of our volunteers to a very rare and rewarding experience. It was well after 5 pm before we ushered the last of our visitors out the door.

Talking to a crowd of 120 about WWII's most accomplished bomber, Mosquito F for Freddie. At right, about to cut the 'Mosquito Celebration Day' cake with CMS volunteers, Jordan, Ian, Richard, Ken, Andrew and Don.

We owe a big thanks to our hosts at the Bomber Command Museum for supporting our special event day in so many ways with sound systems, a projector and screen, considerable organizing efforts as well as set up, tear down, clean up and promotion efforts and just to top it off, a Mosquito Celebration Cake which we shared with our volunteers and visitors. A big thank you from us to all of the Bomber Command Museum staff and volunteers. It was a great day!

Richard de Boer, President

Richard de Boer, President

July 10, 2019

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