de Havilland Mosquito KA114 flys again!

de Havilland Mosquito FB Mk.21 Jerry Yeagen NZ 2013
de Havilland Mosquito

After a seven year reconstruction and restoration by Avspecs Ltd. in Auckland, New Zealand a de Havilland Mosquito FB Mk.26 fighter-bomber, “The Wooden Wonder” took to the skies once again in 2012 appearing at a number of flying events around Auckland (the first flight was September 27th, 2012). This particular aircraft, serial number KA114, was originally built in Canada in 1945 (one of 338 Mk.26 built there) and is currently the only flying example of any Mosquito version in the world (the last other flying example crashed in the UK in 1996). The  good news is that in a few years there will be more flying with other projects in both NZ and the UK underway!

de Havilland DH98 Mosquito FB Mk,26 at Wings Over Wairarapa 2013 KA114
de Havilland DH98 Mosquito FB Mk.26 at Wings Over Wairarapa 2013

For me the “Mossie” has a special place as a relative, Charles Curnow Scherf was one of Australia’s best aces during World War Two flying a similar type of Mosquito over Europe. When I heard that Mosquito KA114 would be flying at Wings Over Wairarapa 2013 in New Zealand (in the town of Masterton at Hood Aerodrome on January 18th-20th) I just had to get over there and see this magnificent machine fly. This was also to be the last public flying display in New Zealand for KA114 before being flown back to Auckland, packed up and shipped to Virginia in the USA (it is owned by Jerry Yagen and will become the star flying attraction of his Military Aviation Museum in Virginia Beach).

KA114 flying low and fast at Wings Over Wairarapa 2013 Mosquito FB Mk.26 Avspecs New Zealand
KA114 flying low and fast at Wings Over Wairarapa 2013
Mosquito KA114 landing at Hood Aerodrome, Masterton 2013
Mosquito KA114 landing at Hood Aerodrome, Masterton 2013

On the friday Wings Over Wairarapa air show practice day I arrived by train from Wellington in the morning and was walking to the aerodrome when I heard the unique sound of two Rolls Royce Merlin’s purring away in the sky, that was when I caught my first glimpse of the Mosquito flying over Masterton and preparing to land. What a sight! So sleek, so fast, a truly beautiful machine! You could not swipe the smile off my face for the next 3 days as I got to watch the “Mossie” fly again and again (not only in solo displays but also in many different formations with classic historical aircraft!). Absolutely brilliant!

de havilland dh98 mosquito FB Mk.21 New zealand
Such a magnificent looking aircraft
Rolls Royce Merlin Formation Mosquito Mustang Spitfires Wings Over Wairarapa 2013 NZ
Merlin Engine Power x 5! The Mosquito, Spitfires and a Mustang!
de Havilland formation - Mosquito, Vampires and Venom Wings Over Wairarapa 2013 NZ
de Havilland formation – Mosquito, Vampires and Venom
fighter balbo flypast Wings Over Wairarapa 2013
Fighter “Balbo” flypast to salute the fallen and our veterans “Lest we forget”
Mosquito KA114 NZ
The classic lines of the Mosquito

KA114 was recovered in a bad state from a farm in Canada. Although saved from being scrapped it was left in the open on the farm and was in bad shape, being in pieces and badly deteriorated. The “Mossie” was made almost entirely of wood (“The Wooden Wonder” – basically intended to overcome a shortage of metal during World War Two) so being a machine of war it wasnt really ever intended to last forever.

Mosquito KA114 wreck 1965 Avspecs
KA114 in 1965 (source: Avspecs Ltd. Facebook page)

Almost 7,800 Mosquito’s were built around the world between 1940-1950 and different variants served a multitude of roles (fighter-bomber, bomber, night fighter, maritime strike and photo reconnaissance). Given this is currently the only flying survivor makes this recovery and restoration quite remarkable and has caused a sensation in the warbird community around the world! Avspecs Ltd. have completed some wonderful work on KA114 and to restore the aircraft the jigs and massive molds used to shape the plywood of the airframe had to be built from scratch just like the originals, these thankfully can be reused to build more Mosquitos in the future. Exciting times lay ahead!

De Havilland Mosquito KA114 wreck 2004
This is what Avspecs started with – the wreck that was KA114! (source: http://www.warbirdrestoration.co.nz)
Restoring De Havilland Mosquito KA114 Avspecs Ltd Auckland NZ
The restoration process of KA114 (source: http://www.warbirdrestoration.co.nz)

The Mosquito was powered by 2 Rolls Royce Merlin engines (in the case of Canadian built FB Mk.26 Mosquito’s licence built Packard Merlin 225’s were used) and had a very fast top speed of 380 mph / 612 km/h (faster than contemporary Supermarine Spitfire’s!) and a long-range. The aircraft could also provide a powerful punch being heavily armed (4 x 20mm  Hispano cannons and 4 x .303 Browning machine guns mounted in the nose, a bomb bay for 2 x 250-lb /113 kg, plus either bombs or rockets under the wings). Seeing the Mosquito fly I gained a much greater appreciation of the speed and grace of the machine. I could also imagine Charles Scherf flying low over all those German airfields during World War Two ripping them up!

De Havilland Mosquito Cannons
The cannons and machine guns provided the Mosquito sting
fast pass mosquito Wings Over Wairarapa 2013 NZ Masterton Hood Aerodrome
Fast pass

The Mosquito was a very formidable aircraft and one of the best from World War Two. To see one fly again has been a real highlight of my aviation enthusiast pursuits!

Mosquito KA114 low pass Wings Over Wairarapa 2013
Low pass
KA114 Mosquito NZ 2013
Yes I was pretty happy!
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30 thoughts on “de Havilland Mosquito KA114 flys again!

  1. […] For me the Axis aircraft are a favourite that can not be missed. The German section alone includes some of the rarest aircraft from World War Two. These include the worlds first operational jet reconnaissance bomber the Arado Ar-234 (over 200 were built, but this is the only surviving airframe) and the Heinkel He-219 Uhu (Owl) which was the first operational aircraft to be fitted with ejection seats and was possibly the best night fighter of the war but only saw limited service before war’s end (it is partially restored but on display and is possibly one of only 2 surviving airframes). Also on display is the only surviving Dornier Do-335 Pfiel (Arrow) a mighty heavy fighter with an unusual twin-engine design in a push-pull arrangement which gave an impressive performance of 765 km/h or 474 mph (faster than a De Havilland Mosquito)! […]

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  2. The Mosquito F-for Freddie flew at long last in Victoria BC on June 17, 2014. It will be at the Abbotsford Airshow this month.

    Unfortunately I missed the first flight as I was in Europe, so my friend Rhys Kent took this photo for me.

    F-for-Freddie, First Flight, # 3

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    1. Excellent! I am in the PNW at the moment, but will be in Alaska during Abbotsford. Would love to see it fly! My friend is going so no doubt he will take plenty of great shots. There are at least 2 others in the process of being returned to flight. Exciting times ahead!

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