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October 21, 2013

Andrew King: The buzz on on efforts to restore a WWII Mosquito airplane

Here's a guest post from Andrew King, artist, historian and storyteller.  You can read more on this topic on his web site, Andrew King Studios.

A restored World War II DeHavilland Mosquito will become the world's second-only flying example, and it's from Ottawa!

In 1955 an Ottawa company called "Spartan Air Services" purchased surplus WW2 aircraft to use for aerial surveying and map making. One of these aircraft was the DeHavilland Mosquito, a high speed twin engined all wood plane used by the RAF during World War 2. There is currently only one left in the world that is still flying.

These surplus Mosquitos were purchased from England at a price of $1,500 each and shipped to Ottawa for use in Spartan Air Services fleet of planes, which also included surplus P38 Lightnings. (More on those here - including the lake in Quebec where one probably still lies underwater.) They were painted silver and given Canadian registration. I found a cool old pic of one of these Ottawa based Mosquitos (see below, note "Ottawa" written on fuselage). They flew out of Uplands Airport, which is now the MacDonald-Cartier International Airport.

Now this is where it gets interesting. You can trace planes and what happened to them by plugging their registration numbers into the Warbird Registry database..so I zoomed in and found it.

Finding the warbird registry file on this particular plane, I learned it flew for Spartan from 1955-1966. It was then donated to the RCAF. In 1979 it was moved to BC and stored in a barn for a number of years awaiting restoration by the owner.

Here are some vintage colour pics of Ottawa’s CF-HML during its service with Spartan.

Last week I was flipping through a warbird magazine in a local shop and came across a remarkable article....THE OTTAWA MOSQUITO IS BEING RESTORED TO FLYING CONDITION!

I compared the registration numbers and it is indeed CF-HML, the Ottawa Spartan Air Services Mosquito that flew here between 1955 and 1966. This Ottawa based Mosquito is being restored to flying condition and will become the world’s second flying example. This piece of Ottawa history is currently in BC at Victoria Air Maintenance and will soon take to the skies once again.

Below is a comparison image showing it as it appeared in Ottawa back in the 1950s, and what it looks like today during its restoration to full World War 2 markings.

An Ottawa Mosquito buzzes once again...

Photos courtesy Victoria Air Maintenance Facebook page.

See also: Ottawa History Guide
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