The famous British Mosquito--known to many as "Mossie"--was a versatile aircraft used extensively during World War II. Constructed primarily of plywood with a balsa wood core, it had excellent speed, altitude and range.
The prototype for the deHavilland DH-98 Mosquito, developed in just 11 months, flies for the first time at Hatfield, England, on November 25, 1940.
The de Havilland Mosquito was a British combat aircraft that excelled in a number of roles during the Second World War. Originally conceived as an unarmed fast bomber, uses of the Mosquito included: low to medium altitude daytime tactical bomber, high altitude night bomber, pathfinder, day or night fighter, fighter-bomber, intruder, maritime strike and photo reconnaissance aircraft. It was also used as the basis for a single-seat heavy fighter, the de Havilland Hornet. The aircraft served with the Royal Air Force (RAF) and many other air forces during the Second World War and postwar (see Operators below). The Mosquito was known affectionately as the "Mossie" to its crews and was also known as "The Wooden Wonder" or "The Timber Terror" as the bulk of the aircraft was made of laminated plywood.
The Mosquito entered production in Mid-1941 and was produced until well after the end of the war. Almost 8,000 Mossies were built in Great Britain, Canada and Australia. Although best known for their service with the Royal Air Force, Mosquitos were also used by several U.S. Army Air Forces units for photo and weather reconnaissance, and as night fighters. During the war, the AAF acquired 40 Canadian Mossies and flew them under the American F-8 (photo reconnaissance) designation. In addition, the British turned over more than 100 Mosquitos to the AAF under Reverse Lend-Lease. These aircraft retained their British designations.
The aircraft on display is a British-built B. Mk. 35 manufactured in 1946 (later converted for towing targets) and is similar to the P.R. Mk. XVIs used by the AAF. It was flown to the Museum in February 1985. This Mosquito has been restored to a Mk. XVI configuration and painted as a weather reconnaissance aircraft of the 653rd Bomb Squadron, 25th Bomb Group, based in England in 1944-45.
Span: 54 ft. 2 in.
Length: 40 ft. 6 in.
Height: 12 ft. 6 in.
Weight: 23,000 lbs. loaded
Armament: 4,000 lbs. of bombs in bomber version
Engines: Two Rolls-Royce Merlins of 1,690 hp. ea.
Cost: $100,000 (approximately)
Serial Number: RS709
Displayed as (S/N): PR.XVI NS519
Maximum speed: 415 mph
Cruising speed: 276 mph
Range: 1,955 miles
Service Ceiling: 42,000 ft.
Featured one-piece wing made almost entirely of wood.
Used by some 20 air forces.
Landed on an aircraft carrier [first British twin-engined aircraft to do so].
Made specialized pinpoint attacks on German prisons, Gestapo headquarters.
Claimed 600 victories as night fighter.
Shot down 600 V-1 buzz bombs.
Flown by Israel in the 1956 Suez War.
Nicknamed "Mossie," "Wooden Wonder."
Featured in 1964 film "633 Squadron" [with Cliff Robertson] and 1969 film "Mosquito Squadron" [with David McCallum].