New Zealand Bomber Command Association



RNZAF Mosquito Flies Again

Mossie lifts off first time
(Photo Credit: Gavin Conroy)

Thousands attended Warbirds over Wanaka over Easter. The first airshow held at Wanaka for six years, there were many highlights – the first appearance of the Air Force Heritage Flight’s newly restored P51 Mustang, flying together with its sister Spitfire was just one of many for warbirds fans.

But surely the star attraction was ex-RNZAF Mosquito NZ2308, so newly restored that it had flown for the first time just two weeks before the show. Its appearance was the culmination of a 15-year restoration started by the late Glyn Powell and finished by Warren Denholm and his team at Avspecs for its new American owners Rod Lewis of Lewis Air Legends and Charles Somers, who kindly allowed this beautiful machine to be displayed at Wanaka.

Originally conceived as an unarmed fast bomber, The “Mossie” or “Wooden Wonder” was a remarkable aircraft, whose use evolved during the war into many roles, including low- to medium-altitude daytime tactical bomber, high-altitude night bomber, pathfinder, day or night fighter, fighter-bomber, intruder, maritime strike, and photo-reconnaissance.

This particular aircraft was built by de Havilland Australia in Sydney in 1946 for the Royal Australian Air Force but almost immediately went into storage as it was surplus to requirements following the end of World War II. In 1947 the dual-control aircraft was purchased by the Royal New Zealand Air Force which was replacing its Ventura and Corsair aircraft with a fleet of Mosquitos

It served with 75 Squadron until the early 1950s when the Mosquitos were replaced in turn by Vampire jets. NZ2308 was declared surplus in 1955 and passed through various New Zealand hands before it ended up in the ownership of Warbird enthusiast, the late Glyn Powell. He was instrumental in making the moulds for the wooden fuselage for all the Mosquitos which have been restored by Warren Denholm and his Avspecs team.

Ownership of the Mosquito passed to its current American owners, who engaged Avspecs to complete the restoration and bring the aircraft back to airworthy condition. NZ2308 is the fourth Mosquito restored by Avspecs, they have built four of the five Mosquitos that fly today. They have a further restoration project ahead, which we understand will be going to British owners.

April 14, 2024

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