St Neots man leads Second World War Mosquito plane restoration
- Credit: Archant
A St Neots man was in the cockpit as the restoration work on a piece of aviation history took a major step forward.
Bob Glasby, a former Battle of Britain Memorial Flight engineer and a long-serving volunteer at the de Havilland Aircraft Museum in London Colney, Hertfordshire, led the team as the fuselage and the wings of the dismantled Prototype Mosquito DH98 W4050 were put back together on February 14.
Restoration work on the Mosquito Prototype – the only twin engine WW2 era prototype to survive – started in 2010 and visitors have seen its restoration in progress alongside the Mosquito B35 bomber and Mosquito VI fighter-bomber versions of the historic Second World War aircraft. The project is expected to cost £40,000.
The refitting saw the fuselage lowered from a lifting beam onto the wings supported on trestles until the four securing bolts could be fitted, a process which took three hours.
Mr Glasby, 61, an electronics engineer of Meadowsweet, Eaton Ford, said: “The reassembly was a major achievement and the objective is to have the Prototype fully reassembled in time for the 75th anniversary of the maiden flight on November 25.
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“We now have to fit the bomb bay doors, under-wing panels and undercarriage - then it will rest on its own wheels once again. Then we will refit the tail, the two Rolls-Royce Merlin engines and propellers and then the cockpit controls, instruments and other internal work.”
The DH98 prototype made its maiden flight at the de Havilland factory airfield at Hatfield on November 25, 1940.
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When the museum re-opens to the public on March 1 after its winter closure, visitors will again be able to see work continuing on the “wooden wonder”.
The de Havilland Aircraft Museum was founded in the 1950s with just one aircraft, the 1940-built Prototype Mosquito. It now has more than 20 of the de Havilland company’s civil and military aircraft.
INFORMATION: For more, go to www.dehavillandmuseum.co.uk.