Mosquito for new Canadian museum

Airworthy De Havilland DH98 Mosquito B35 C-FHMJ (VR796) will remain in Canada. Its sale to the new KF Aerospace Centre for Excellence in Kelowna (BC) was announced on 3 February 2022.

The museum is still under construction and scheduled to open within a couple of months. It is dedicated to the role of the Okanagan Valley in the history of the Canadian aerospace industry. To celebrate this heritage, the KF Aerospace Centre for Excellence will debut a state-of-the-art aviation museum and conference facility at the Kelowna International Airport.

The Mosquito was restored in five years’ time by Victoria Air Maintenance. The restoration was led by Aircraft Maintenance Engineer and Pilot, Mel Johnstone (on behalf of owner Robert Jens).  Impressively, the restoration features all original wood, except for new bomb bay doors custom-manufactured in New Zealand. In the 1950’s and 60’s the plane, then registered as CF-HML,  was one of many Mosquitos operated by Spartan Air Services in  to conduct high altitude aerial cartography missions all over Canada.

The ‘Mossie’ made the first post-restoration flight on 16 June 2014. C-FHMJ was rarely flown since then and offered for sale one year ago, on which Scramble reported back then. (see link) The Mosquito will soon be flown to Kelowna to join the aircraft already in the collection: a C-47 and a Hawker Tempest II.

The Hawker Tempest II MW376 is still under restoration to airworthy condition at KF Aerospace. This Bristol-built Tempest served with the RAF, later transferred to Hawkers and in May 1948, along with 113 other Tempests. These were refurbished and sold to the Royal Indian Air Force as HA564 in May 1948. It's thought to have served with No.4 Squadron. MW376 is one of seven ex-Indian Air Force Tempests recovered in 1979 by Doug Arnold and Warbirds of GB Ltd. It was transferred to Tangmere Flight, UK, in 1980, Chris Horslet in 1988 and a syndicate in Stamford in 1990.

Restoration work on this aircraft began in 1991 at Spanhoe, Lincolnshire, in the hands of Windmill Aviation, and the project was registered G-BSHW. Restoration work was halted in 1993, and the project was stored at Audley End. In 1996 it was sold to Phillipe Dennis, in Romans, France. In 2000 it was acquired by Jim Perry and was stored in France. In March 2012 MW376 was sold by Airborne Attitude to Eric Hertz, New Zealand, and was going to be restored to flying condition by Pioneer Aero NZ. But in late March 2013 Eric Hertz was killed in an airplane crash and the project was then sold to KF Aerospace. Although the Tempest has come with an original Bristol Centaurus sleeve valve engine, KF has chosen to power MW376 with an R2800 radial.

The C-47 is currently registered as N173RD which was delivered to the USAAF in 1944 as 43-48052, went to the RAF as KG769 and then the RCAF in 1944. It became CF-TEG in 1945, followed by CF-GXW in 1957, and C-FGXW in 1978.

As such the Dakota has special ties with  KF founder Barry Lapointe. He personally flew the aircraft as ‘Odyssey 86’ around the world on a publicity tour for the Vancouver Expo in 1986. It went to the USA in 1990 and was registered as N173RD. It was flown back to Canada on 11 April 2021.

Source: KF Aerospace


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