- What is The People’s Mosquito?
- Why a Mosquito and why now?
- What remains of RL249?
- Is the goal a restoration, or a replica?
- In engineering terms, what are the main hurdles to be overcome in restoring a Mosquito?
- What challenges do you envisage in terms of getting official permission to fly the completed Mosquito?
- Do you have charitable status?
- Is The People’s Mosquito linked with the BBMF at all?
- What is the operational plan, now the proposed link with the BBMF has been dropped?
- Where will the aircraft be based?
- How long will the restoration take?
- Since the loss of the last flying Mosquito in 1996, why do you think there’s not been another restored to flight sooner?
- Do you intend to make use of the services available in New Zealand?
- What is the likely cost of the restoration going to be?
- Where is the money coming from and who is controlling it?
- Given the Vulcan’s perennial shortage of funds, how confident are you that The People’s Mosquito would be able to fund itself?
- Should the project, for any reason, fail, what will happen to any donated funds remaining with The People’s Mosquito?
- How do I make a donation now the PayPal option has been removed from the website?
- There has been scepticism from some elements in the enthusiast community. Why do you think this is?
A body of aircraft restorers, engineers, pilots, enthusiasts and many other skilled people who are seeking to restore a Mosquito aircraft to flight status, here in the UK. The project is based on a non-profitable and benevolent model and will be funded by private donations and corporate sponsorship.
The de Havilland DH.98 Mosquito was designed and first built in Britain, and there is currently a gap in flyable classic WW2 and post-WW2/Cold War types. Against all conventional wisdom of the day, the Mosquito captured the spirit of great British aviation design and demonstrates a legacy of British entrepreneurial enterprise. It went on to became the first truly great multi-role combat aircraft in the world. From its first delivery in 1941 to the end of hostilities in 1945 it remained one of the fastest allied aircraft and we want to see this great piece of aviation history back in British hearts and skies.
The remains of RL249, as you would expect after being buried and left to the elements for sixty years, are in a somewhat decayed and decrepit state. We estimate we have around 10% of the original aircraft. During our forthcoming engineering project plan engineers will assess how much of the remains can be used in the rebuilding phase. Naturally the construction will require a good deal of new build, not only because many sections of the aircraft were lost in the crash but also to adhere to one of our main priorities which is flight safety. Once built, the aircraft will also have to undergo strenuous tests to comply with CAA regulations.
Our aim is a restoration and we have two people of experience working on the engineering plan who are engaging the right people in authority and in engineering terms to develop the restoration plan in detail.
Many restorations on the UK warbird scene today are not flying with 80-90% original content. Spitfires in the 1940’s were riveted with magnesium rivets and over time they crumble to dust. So you have to replace all of these for a start. A fantastic restoration of a Spitfire MK.I last year was started from the remains dug up from a beach in Calais in the 1980’s after sitting in salt water for over 40 years. How much left was airworthy? Many worldwide warbird restorations must have newly manufactured parts, structures, spars, engines & instruments adding up to 80-90% of the restoration.
Clearly there are not a lot of spare parts around. This will mean a good deal of searching in the right places and certainly there will be elements that will need to be re-manufactured, and of course this will inevitably bring its own issues. So this is not going to be a quick or easy job.
The CAA rules and regulations are rightly very strict, and for good reason: SAFETY, and we have much work to do in that area. This is something that has already been started. At the end of the day we must ensure that RL249 is both restored to the highest possible quality and operated safely..
Yes. On 17th July 2012 The Peoples’ Mosquito became an Incorporated Charity. This is technically a company Limited by Guarantee – which means it has no shareholders and issues no dividends.
The Articles of Association state that the company is set up as a charity with the sole purpose, referred to in the Articles as its Object, being the acquisition and restoration to flight of a De Havilland DH.98 Mosquito aircraft for heritage, conservation and educational purposes. The ongoing maintenance and operation of the aircraft in an airworthy condition and the display of the aircraft to the public. Further, the Articles ensure that the income and property of the charity will be applied solely towards that end. The company will apply for registered charity status once it fulfils all the necessary requirements.
No, there is no link with the BBMF. We had hoped to donate the aircraft, once restored, to the BBMF and entrust it to their care. However, for operational reasons, that plan has now been dropped.
As we had originally planned, The People’s Mosquito, operating as a charity, will maintain and operate the aircraft.
The UK home of RL249 is dependant on a number of factors yet to be determined: funding, engineering support, availability of hanger space, any future relations with the BBMF or whether we operate the aircraft independently. The decision is many months away at present and all the above factors will play a part.
That depends a great deal on how much money is raised and how quickly. Also upon the availability of original parts versus what has to be re-engineered or re-manufactured. Currently we estimate a period of three to five years, but this could change.
Quite simply the de Havilland ‘clamshell’ jigs were not available and no-one had yet discovered how to re-build them. Through the genius of Glyn Powell and his team in New Zealand there is now the engineering ability to reproduce those lost techniques.
We are in constant touch with the engineering team who brought back to life de Havilland’s lost airframe construction technology. Combined with modern resins and new CAD technologies we are very confident the results seen on KA114, a Canadian-built FB.26, recently returned to flight status in New Zealand, can be reproduced for RL249.
After speaking to our planned suppliers for the airframe, preliminary research on the engine options, plus all the ancillary equipment and specialist engineering, we estimate construction, shipping and associated air certification costs at circa £5m Sterling. We are currently working up the engineering project plan into fine detail to confirm the final numbers, but as ever inflation, scarcity of parts and the fact that new tooling may be required for some components means that this may fluctuate.
From public donations, corporate sponsorship, donations in kind from companies, grants, sales of branded goods, and other monies. Since we will be operating as a charitable organisation, we will have to appoint a Treasurer, whose main responsibility will be the project’s funds. We will also be overseen by the Charity Commission, and are subject to the same strict legal framework as all British charities.
This is a high-risk project requiring the public to get behind it. What has motivated us is the success of the Vulcan project and its ‘brand’ ability to generate that public loyalty and consistently (although at times a close run thing) raise the funding. Our project is based on this model with one exception: cost. We are cheaper by a long way and in these harsh economic times where every penny counts, we can offer some of that ‘aviation magic’ for a much smaller financial requirement.
We truly believe the Mosquito story can capture the British public’s heart.
Again, this is a high-risk project. As a team we have agreed that should it fail, for any reason, any monies raised and remaining in our funds will be donated to another suitable and appropriate charity. We will announce the policy and plan for this when it has been finalised. We will make this caveat clear on our donations form.
We had some early problems with offering PayPal as a donation mechanism. These were twofold: firstly many people are not comfortable using PayPal, and secondly there were intermittent problems with simply getting the “donate” button to work. In the end we decided it would be best to remove PayPal entirely.
We are currently taking advice from VirginMoneyGiving about setting up an on-line “Giving” page. This will make it much easier and more convenient for people to make donations. We will be making an announcement when that page goes live – some time in the coming weeks.
We have seen some scepticism from certain elements within the enthusiast community, but not the community as a whole. In every field of human endeavour, there will always be those who sit on the sidelines and find fault. Criticism is fine and can be a positive help if it is made in a constructive manner. As it is we have had more positive support overall than negative comments. When you start with nothing but an ambitious vision, asking for people’s kind donations of money and you are not well known, scepticism is understandable and acceptable.
Clearly one of the reasons for the scepticism at the outset was that there were no recognised “names” involved with the project. This is no longer the case and will continue to change as the project progresses: we are being approached by interested parties who are well known in the restoration field. Those parties will be named as and when any official involvement has been agreed.