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The 'Slidin into Winter' Report

from the Calgary Mosquito Society

1702.5 hours. That is 71, 24 hour days, or 213, 8 hour work days. That's how many volunteer hours the gang put in for the third quarter of 2019. What did we accomplish in those hours? Read on:


We made three trips to Wetaskiwin in this quarter to deliver the propeller, deliver propeller installation tools and to attend the first engine start attempt. Though events have overtaken this report, we will stick with just those that occurred in this quarter.

Fuselage and Center Section

  • Sanded, masked, prepped and sprayed upper fuselage surfaces with STITS Aerothane FS30219/30097 "RAF Dark Earth".

  • Masked, prepped and sprayed upper fuselage surfaces with STITS Aerothane FS34079 "RAF Dark Green" in camouflage pattern.

The long and exacting business of painting begins. Although there are just three main colours, the roundels and markings add up to a total of eleven different colours. That makes for a lot of masking and taping.

  • Fabricated brackets and installed auxiliary power source receptacle in rear starboard fuselage.

  • Fabricated brackets and lines for hydraulic pressure gauge (original missing). Installed hydraulic pressure gauge from HASI inventory.

  • Finished installation of side instrument panels.

  • Fabricated missing lines and fittings for water trap, compressor, bladders, air reservoir, relay valve and pressure gauge in pneumatic system. Finished installation of air brake components and checked system for proper operation.

  • Fabricated brackets for voltmeter and installed same in position on port cockpit sill. (Unit was acquired by C.M.S. from Rick Featherstone as original was missing).

When CMS member John Phillips read in our previous report about supplying a gun camera from our personal collection, he decided that we may have had a bit of attachment to it so he donated his which came with an complete film cartridge and an original manual. Thank you John.

  • Fabricated brackets and installed aftermarket voltage regulator in position on port side engine mount.

  • Installed instrument panel placards, sourced by CMS, in cockpit as required.

  • Restored and installed radio aerial mast on top of rudder. Ran aerial wire and insulators from rudder mast to fuselage mast.

  • Fabricated engine drain reservoir and lines (originals missing) and installed in position.

  • Made up fuel, oil and hydraulic system vent/drain lines and connected to reservoir.

  • Fabricated and installed pump line from reservoir to aft fuselage exit.

  • Fabricated fuel pressure, manifold pressure, oil temperature and pressure lines from engine to gauges (originals missing) and installed in position.

  • Restored four cockpit light and rheostat assemblies and installed in position as required.

  • Installed coolant gauge (from HASI inventory, original missing).

  • Installed aftermarket remote electrical master switch in position beneath battery tray.

  • Installed starter solenoid switch (from HASI inventory, original missing) on starboard side of battery tray.

The brake activation handle was acquired from a small vendor in the UK. As a rough casting, it required many hours to sand it down, drill the holes, fit the stop and cable and hinge point.

  • Installed two starting hand cranks (which CMS had manufactured) and placards in stowage position in wheel wells.

  • Manufactured fittings for new coolant line from centre section to coolant pump (original missing). Manufactured tools to install same in position.

  • Installed landing/taxi light switches in cockpit.

  • Began fabrication of missing pilot's safety harness components.


  • Masked, prepped and sprayed upper wing surfaces with STITS Aerothane FS34079, "RAF Dark Green" in camouflage pattern.

From primer to 'Dark Earth' to camouflage followed by 'Dark Green' and tri-coloured roundels.

  • Began restoration to display condition of twelve .303 Browning machine guns.


  • Masked, prepped and sprayed upper vertical and horizontal surfaces with STITS FS34079 Aerothane "RAF Dark Green" in camouflage pattern.

    The three coloured fin flash gets painted on both sides of the vertical stabilizer after the primer, Dark Earth and Dark Green. All colours and markings are as per the March 1943 photo of Hurricane 5389.

  • Fabricated tail navigation light housing as per Hurricane 5418 (original missing).

  • Restored and installed tail navigation light (from HASI inventory, original missing) in new housing and fitted assembly to trailing edge of rudder.

Aircraft Finish

  • Masked, prepped and applied roundels, fin flash, letters, numbers and stencils as applicable to aircraft with STITS Aerothane, "Medium Sea Grey", " Insignia Red, White, Blue", Yellow and Black.

  • Begin design, fabrication and installation of electrical wiring circuits throughout aircraft.

As mentioned, we made three trips in this quarter, the first, on September 9th, was to deliver the long awaited propeller.

Here Byron R., a helper and Andy W. unload the propeller at Historic Aviation Services. The prop was the last major component needed to complete the airplane. Not heaven nor hell nor money could move the vendor to quicker action.

Rolled outside for the first time as a complete airplane on September 25th for her first start. As we rapidly came to learn, starting a 77 year old airplane is more of a process than an event.

After several attempts to start her, it was back into the barn and back to the books and the wrenches. Again our thanks to John Phillips this time for applying his Merlin knowledge to our efforts to get her fired up.


Jack McWilliam

So let's get going with the good news. Dick S. and Gary T. took a lot of ribbing from me about their projected timeline to install an external skin. I called it to take roughly one month for each skin, leaving us with the skins being completed by around Christmas time. Gary, Dick and Andy W. worked hard to prove me wrong completing the installation of all required skins before the end of the September.

The techniques developed by the group over the last few years have accelerated the repairs, providing outstanding final results for which pictures can't do them justice.

Dick S. lays a loving hand over the very last external skin patch. This hard learned vacuum process has produced a result that is second to none and is a credit to the skill, persistence and doggedness of Gary T. and Dick. Thank you gentlemen.

With the external skins now complete, our focus shifts to the installation of the canopy. The canopy will provide us more rigidity to the area of the fuselage around the cockpit.

Don H. spent the last few weeks running the canopy frame to the bead blasting company, then to Astra for welding and then to Top Gun for powder coating. After the bead blasting was completed it exposed some major corrosion around the front wind screen frames. Welding built up the damage which had included elongated holes on the flat surfaces. The powder coating is matt black which was the final color used by Spartan.

The next task for the canopy installation is manufacturing attach fittings for the frames as we have the original right side parts and hardware, but nothing on the left. Gary will get back to building up the structure that fairs in the frame with the skins installed. This job won't be simple as the canopy fit was an Achilles heel of the Mosquito from day one.

Thanks to Don H. for the three stop run around to get the blasting, welding and powder coating treatment on the canopy frame which now looks as good, or even better than new! (Stay tuned for news about our new and generous 'canopy sponsor').

Once we have the canopy installed we will look at rolling the fuselage 90 degrees to clean the exterior skin of the belly which is full of oil from days gone by. We expect that this area will require few repairs, but our detailed inspection is not yet complete.

Inside the fuselage we are down to about 3 square feet to finish before the last paint goes on. Steve S. is completing the installation of some ferrules which are going on a couple at a time.

Davey D. continues installing hardware on the rearmost bulkhead, where we have learned that even a small build-up of paint can throw us off as fittings do not align. The hardware is also a time consuming job to sort out with the parts manual not matching the model of our aircraft.

Brian C. has also started prototyping the copper wire on the aft bulkhead so the wiring can commence. Steve S. has manufactured new tabs and the copper strips have been brought in to start manufacturing networks.

Say it with me now: Green is…. GOOD. The inside of the fuselage from the back end looking forward. Green means all the repairs to the wood structure have been completed and we can begin to reinstall the grounding strips, equipment, wiring, hydraulic lines, controls, etc. This is a large and important milestone, but a lot remains yet to do.

With the structural repair work on the fuselage now coming to an end, we pulled the horizontal stabilizer from storage and have begun the restoration and rebuilding work on it. As we have come to expect, it is a much larger job than what was first anticipated.

Roger and Peter have built a 'strong back' on which to bolt the stabilizer for rebuilding once we have finished cleaning the skins. The skins have damage that will necessitate their replacement ranging from rot to rock damage (with rocks still in place).

Spartan had covered the tail with fibreglass to limit the damage to the plywood skins from rocks and gravel on unprepared airstrips. Humorously the large number of holes in the plywood that were never repaired has helped us to make the decision to replace the skins a lot easier.

Peter and Roger's new 'strong back'; a structure that provides rigidity to the horizontal stabilizer while allowing full access to the crew to start working on it.

To get the skins off, the fibreglass needed to be removed so that we could locate the screws that that were holding on the skins. The fibreglass also covered the access panels holding the elevator attach brackets. The brackets are loose from the shrinkage of the wood.

Hats off and a big thanks to Steve S. and Don H., with some help from Ken P., for really digging in and spending a number of days power sanding the fibreglass off the skins. In addition to lightening the tail feathers by several pounds, the stripping work exposed a few repairs, a number of holes and a few rocks that had punctured the skins in bygone days and been sealed in by the fibreglass coating on the horizontal stabilizer.

"No Parking" Ya, and 'No Sanding Through the Skin When Removing the Fibreglass', please. Here Ken P. takes a turn at removing the Spartan modifications to the horizontal stabilizer. This was done to help reduce rock damage from the unprepared airstrips in Canada's Arctic while on photo mapping work.

Daison, Cam, Davey and basically the whole gang dove on the tail to remove the upper skins in one piece. This exposed internal damage, ranging from compression damage on the forward spar from things being dropped on the stab, to loose glue joints. The tail leaves us scratching our heads and wondering which end to start from.

'Hey, I thought this was supposed to be glued on!' Ya, it was Peter, but this tells you what happens to resorcinol glue after just 73 years. The skin is only 5/64” (1.984mm) thick. If you can peel it back in one piece, you know you don’t have much adhesion left.

We are ready to start fitting the stab into the strong back and will not touch the bottom skin till the tail is held rigidly in the strong back. All is ready for the installation in terms of materials; we just need to wait for spacing of the job.

A hitchhiker. This stone penetrated the skin of the horizontal stabilizer and was sealed in by Spartan’s fibreglass treatment. It saw daylight for the first time in 60 years when we peeled the skin back to begin the restoration process.

As it is a challenge to access our storage trailer during the winter months, we are sorting through crates to ensure that we take from it what is needed over the season. This includes the wing tips and leading edge ribs. A challenge for the guys is the rebuilding of the wing tips that are severely damaged. We located the leading edge ribs and completed an inventory to determine what needs to be built from scratch and what can be repaired. Additionally the camera mounts are going in with the forward left missing, requiring us to likely reconfigure HML's mount which we acquired from Bob Jens in Vancouver.

Matthew S. painted his panel for the connectors on bulkhead 2.5 so it is ready to be reassembled. Dick will start installing the wood components of bulkhead 2.5 now that the fuselage skins are in place so with some luck we should start shrinking the inventory of boxes as we reinstall parts into the fuselage.

Events and Miscellaneous


Our hosting facility for the Mosquito restoration, the Bomber Command Museum of Canada, continued their schedule of special event days as we move through the summer and early autumn months. These event days have a significant impact on our activies 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.

July 20 saw the annual Bikes and Bombers event, though attendance was dampened by almost biblical rains for most of the day. Many bikers forsook their normal two wheeled rides for safer and dryer four wheeled transport just to attend regardless of weather and intended themes.

The annual Bikes and Bombers event did draw some intrepid riders, but the weather was not in their favour. Here a couple of riders stop to check out our display in the main museum hangar.

And despite the low temps and very high humidity, the Lanc crew put on their usual good show while the crowd huddled. As usual, we Mossie-folk spend a great deal of these event days connecting with visitors about the glories of the Mosquito.

August 23 and 24 commemorated the twinning of the towns of Nanton and Senantes, France and the anniversary of the final flight of S/L Ian Bazalgette VC DFC, for whom their Lancaster is dedicated. The weekend saw a Friday night dinner event which included the mayor of Senantes and a delegation from the town and was topped off by a night run with the Lancaster.

Mosquito restoration shops make great environments for celebratory dinners as well. Here BCM President Rob Pederson welcomes guests from France for the weekends' events to celebrate the anniversary of the Bazalgette VC operation and the twinning of Nanton, AB and Senante, FR.

September 21 marked the annual celebration of the Halifax bomber, the type in which more Canadians served in Bomber Command than any other aircraft.

We were treated to an update on the efforts to recover the remains of Halifax HR871 from relatively shallow waters off the coast of Sweden and a live feed update with the divemaster of the Swedish Coast and Sea Center.

More from the 'Don't Trust Magazine Articles' files. (Caution: Whining ahead). Aviation Classics brought a +100 page Hawker Hurricane special edition in which our beloved 5389 rated just one line; with every fact in that meager line being wrong.

A +100 page special edition on the Hurricane and our beloved bird gets one line. No she never carried the “FN” squadron code. No she is not ‘stored’. No she is no longer unrestored. No she is not at the Aerospace Museum and that name for the museum no longer exists. NOTE: If you are going to charge people for your publication at least make an effort to get the facts right –at least one of them.

That was followed up by the September issue of AEROPLANE which featured a multipage interview with Peter Vacher, the gentleman from the UK who tried to buy the Calgary Mosquito back in 2007 (which sparked the creation of the Calgary Mosquito Society). Sadly it seems that Mr. Vacher's memory is slipping as he misidentifies the Hurricane (which he offered to take back to the UK for static display restoration as additional payment for acquiring the Mosquito), badly misrepresents the vote at City Council which saw the final decision to retain the Mosquito and Hurricane (it was not 7 to 5 against you Mr. Vacher, it was 12 to 3), and he attributes the current restoration of the Mosquito to the Bomber Command Museum in Nanton. This is despite the fact that just prior to the final vote in council, Peter Vacher invited me to meet and chat about our divergent interests, which we did. He refers to his loss as "my biggest disappointment". By the way sir, that loss was at the hands of The Calgary Mosquito Aircraft Society.

More from the 'don't trust what you read' department...

With a slightly exasperated sigh, whining and report complete.

Richard de Boer, President

Richard de Boer, President

October 27, 2019

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