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The DH-98 "Mosquito" NF30 of the Air & Space museum of Brussels

Type history

Known under the nickname Wooden Wonder, the Mosquito was born as a private venture. The De Havilland company was specialized before WWII in the building of fast aircraft in wood. As soon as 1938, De Havilland proposed to the British Air Ministry a project for a fast two engine bomber mostly build in non strategic material.

As there was no interest in the official spheres, De Havilland started the project on his own funds. By 1940, the Air Ministry changed his opinion and placed an order for a reconnaissance version. The prototype accomplished its first flight in November 1940, soon followed by two other prototypes: a fast bomber and a night fighter.

The aircraft quickly revealed itself as one of the best allied aircraft of the conflict, being even brought into service in the US Army Air Force.The bombardment versions, thanks to their heavy load and long range capacities, were used for day and night raids all over occupied Europe.

Many specialized versions were developed for the Coastal, Fighter, and Bomber command: Mosquito "TseTse" with a 37 mm gun, Mosquito Mk VI, B35, NF30 and many others. Mosquitoes were even used as a civilian "airliner" between Great Britain and Sweden and a special version, with folding wings, was produced towards the end of the second World War for the Royal Navy. Built in 7.747 exemplars, it was used by 19 air forces in the world, in 40 versions and sub types.

The last Mosquitoes were withdrawn from the service, with the Royal Air Force, in 1962.

RK952 history

At the beginning of 1945, the Royal Air Force signed the contract 1576 -(sas) - C23 for the delivery of 345 Mosquitoes to be build by the De Havilland factory of Leavesden close to Watford in Hertfordshire. In this series was included 27 examples of the NF30 night fighter version.

The RK952 was produced in this production batch. The aircraft made its first flight on May 22, 1945. It was then transferred to a maintenance unit, the 218 MU at Colerne where its specific equipment (radar, electronics) was mounted. The war being finished, it did not join an operational unit but is transferred to another Maintenance Unit, the 10th MU, at Hullavington to be stored.

In 1947, the Belgian Air Force established night fighters squadrons in the cadre of the treaty Western Union, precursor of NATO. The aircraft selected to equip these new units was the Mosquito NF30. The RK952 was sold to Belgium on October 23, 1951.It was only delivered on September 4th, 1953, after being revised at Fairey Aviation in Ringway. It receives number MB-24 ND-N with the Belgian Air Force and was the last Mosquito delivered to Belgium.

When the MB-24 was brought into service, the oldest NF-30's were already in the process to be withdrawn from the service following the excessive tiredness of metal on the landing gears The aircraft was also being exceeded technically, the Air Force decided to acquire new planes, Meteor NF11, and not to make repair the NF30. The MB-24 having already been modified at the time of its revision at Ringway continued to fly within the 10th Squadron of 1st Wing at Beauvechain.

It was mainly used for missions of navigation, calibration for the radars on the ground or plastrons for the interceptions exercises by Meteors NF-11. The MB-24 carried out its last flight on August 18, 1955 (Capt. Jos Wijnen, Henri Boels). It was put at the retirement on October 17, 1956 at Beauvechain and officially transferred to the Museum on March 17, 1957.

It was then exposed on various bases of the Belgian Air Force at the time of air meetings. Its last output took place in 1968. It was transported to Koksijde to be repainted there and exposed at the occasion of the 50ième anniversary of the Belgian Military aviation.


The Mosquito NF-30 "RK952" restoration

As it was in the seventies....

In 1979, a team of voluntary started to work on it. They did quite a lot of work, even completely refurbishing one of the engines. After a new painting in 1984 this first team disperses, leaving behind piles of dismantled components and an empty cockpit.

In 1997 Eric Dessouroux started the tremendous task of reinstalling all the internal components removed by the previous team.

A big jigsaw as no notes has been left and nothing clearly tagged. As if it was not enough, he decided to reinstall the radar system: no radar was installed at the time the Mosquito arrived at the museum, but many radar components where in the museum stores.

...and as it was when second restoration started....

As the NF30's radar system is the same as the Meteor NF11's, it is supposed that radar set were removed from the Mosquitoes to be installed in the Meteors.

The main problem for this reinstallation is the lack of documentation and the missing components. Slowly but certainly the various components start to take shape while the cockpit is made ready for the re-installation.

More news and pictures have been added in the here-under pictures gallery to let you see the work as it is progressing.


The parabolic dish, whose vertical dipole is missing ,and the radio-modulator are put back in good condition before being re-installed.

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The various cockpit sub-components suffered badly of the corrosion and receive much needed care.

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Control column and throttle back in good shape.

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Rudder pedal, armor platting and pilot seat.

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March 2007. At left: cockpit as it was just two years ago, at right: after a thourough treatment of the structure, the various components are re-installed in the cockpit.

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August 2007. More and more components are re-installed in the cockpit, most of the time in difficult (if not impossible) to reach place.

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November 2008. The Mossie is back on the ground level. It will greatly simplify the restoration work and will allow the re-installation of extra-heavy equipment (amongst other the armor), something impossible with a plane “flying” 2 meters above the ground in a nose down attitude.

Original night-fighter exhaust have been installed on the plane. Now we are still looking on how to install those exhaust AND close the inner cover panel.... if anybody has information about that, we would be interested.

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Many new small components are re-installed in the cockpit, a task that will be now greatly simplified thanks to a swedish illustrated parts manuals provided to us by the Royal Australian Air force museum !

We got a even more complete copy of this most important illustrated spare parts manual from the swedish Flygvapenmuseum.

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The illustrated spare part manual is both a benediction and a nightmare: thanks to it many components have been identified, but installing them means removing and reinstalling already installed components.

Amongst other thing, the cockpit door is now fully properly fitted as are the radar compartments door.

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The long and patient task of identifying, restoring and re-installing the many cockpit fittings continues.

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Brackets instruments panels in place - De-icing system completed, pipe connected to pump and to winscreen glycol spray nozzle   - Gun Master Switch wired - Rudder Trim Tab installed and Triple Switch connected - Hydraulic Buffer Unit connected to Vent Pipe

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September 2009. Thanks to the help of the De Havilland Mosquito Museum members, the NF-30 is now equipped with a ladder! This ladder has been send, free of charge, to Eric Dessouroux who received as well the information needed to create missing parts for the Radio Pushbutton Unit, who are now properly re-installed.

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(September 2010)

Apart a few components the cockpit is nearly completed ! Quite an accomplishment when you saw the piles of undocumented components that Eric had to sort out, retore and re-install.

Now Eric pay attention to hidden area of the plane that need some repair after so many years of neglect.

The last picture let you see the Mossie with its "pilot" during one of the "museum night" event and RK952 at Manchester (Ringway) Airport on 01.02.53 still wearing its RAF colors.  All these Mosquitoes were destined for the BAF after overhaul at Ringway by Fairey Aviation.( photo credit: Air Britain, R.A.Scholefield )

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(August 2011).

When I said last year that the cockpit was nearly completed apart a few components, I forgot to precise how many! Have a look at the following pictures and you will see the difference.

You see as well some of the hidden area that were repaired and completed.

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More pictures are available here:


(December 2013).

Here is the list of the work completed with very limited means but with lots of determination by Eric.

Nose: The Frequency Meter support has been built using drawings supplied by “DH support”. This allowed the proper installation of the frequency meter. The dipole antenna of the radar scanner unit has been repaired and installed.

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Cockpit: Installation of the pilot's seat - Restoration and installation of the Junction Box B (JBB) on the RH side of cockpit, above the entry door. Restoration and installation of the Control Locking Jig, Tail Trim indicator system, all the connecting rods on the Throttle, the Inspection Lamp pocket on the entry door, the Gee Control Panel support behind pilot seat. The SCR 720 Indicator support has been built and installed.

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Fuselage: Installation of Rudder / Elevator control cables and pulleys, hydraulic and pneumatic panel in the rear fuselage (+ all the pipe work) of the air bottles in the rear fuselage, of de-icing system reservoir in the gun bay. Repair of the gun/bomb bay door hinges, installation of the joint plates on the fuselage side panels of the gun/bomb bay, Installation of the radio and power unit in the rear fuselage

Tail: Installation of hydraulic block and pipe on tail wheel jack, of the rudder and elevator static balances, struts and levers and connection of the control cables. Installation of the rear fuselage sealing door, of the pitot tube, of various supports and fittings in the tail cone area and of the tail cone assembly and tail light.

Wings: Cleaning and repair of the radiators, installation of cover plates, protective back plates and various items that were missing.

Engine nacelles: Installation of undercarriage cross-bracing struts and of the U/C door operating system. Installation of the electrical suppressor box in the stbd wheel bay. Minor works on LH engine.

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The Mosquito NF30 in service within the Belgian Air Force

Most of the Mosquito NF30 sold to Belgium were World War Two veteran, available at a very moderate price. The number of serviceable planes will always be very limited because of the lack of spare parts known deficiencies and the wear due to the service during the war. Maintenance was done at the Fairey factories of Gosselies.

 

Mosquito NF30 "NB-20", serial RAF "NT330"

Brought into service in the RAF on November 11, 1944, it will be used by the 85 and 239th squadron.

It shooted down a Bf-110 in the night of February 7, 1945 in the area of Goch and a Junkers 188 on March 17, 1945 above Nuremberg.

Delivered to Belgium on November 21, 1948 it will be scrapped at Beauvechin in 1956.

On the whole 24 Mosquito NF 30 were ordered MB-1 to 24) and brought into service.

Four more planes, to be used as instruction airframes have been ordered for the Technical school at Saffraanberg and later Tongres: an Mk XVII, an Mk XIX and two Mk XXX.

The rate of the deliveries and entering into service will be slow. The four first NF30 are delivered in November 1947 and will be put in service on May 25, 1948 at the ler Wing of Beauvechain.

The delivery of the first 24 machines (MB-1 to 22 + 2 instruction airframe) will be terminated by mid-January 1949. In 1951, two other NF30 will be ordered, the MB 23 and 24: MB 23 crashed in Great Britain before its delivery to Belgium and MB 24 will be delivered in 1953.

 

Mosquito NF30 "NB-11", serial RAF "NT384"

Brought into service in the RAF on January 14, 1945, it will be used by the 68ème squadron for less than three months.

Delivered to Belgium on November 21 1948 it will be scrapped at Beauvechin in 1956.

The Mosquito of the 10th squadron will take part to many exercises: "Bulldog" in 1949, based at West-MaIling in Great Britain, "Cupola" and "X-Ray" in 1950, "Umbrella" "Cirrus" in 1951 and finally "Coronet" and "June primer" in 1952. It is at the end of 1952 that the maximum number of machines in service is reached. It is the same year that the first NF 11, successor of Mosquito, will be delivered.

From 1952, the number of Mosquito in service will decrease steadily. They will finally be all regrouped in the 10 th squadron. It should be noted that the codes of the machines that belonged previously to the 11 th Squadron would not be changed.

In 1953, credits for the installation of a more advanced IFF was released but slightly afterwards all the machines were grounded because of the excessive wear of the landing gears. The replacement of the wings was considered for a while, but the NF-30 was now an outdated machine. The Air Force had decided the acquisition of Meteors "NF-11", and not to make any repairs on the NF-30. The planes remained grounded and only the MB-24 continued to fly before being given to the museum in 1957.

The Mosquito NF 30 was officially written off in1956 and the survivors scrapped.


Night gighter Squadrons equipped with the Mosquito NF30

 

10th night fighter squadron

Code Letter "ND", Spinner black with a red band at screw level. Code is painted black on the fuselage until mid-1951, afterwards code will be painted white.

Formed in 1946 as squadron 361, it will be renamed 10th squadron in 1948. Four Mosquito are delivered to the 10th squadron in May 1948. NF 11 will replace mosquito of the 10th squadron in 1956. At the end of 1957, the 10 th squadron will be disbanded following the arrival of the all-weather CF 100 that will reequip the 10 th , 349 and 350 th squadrons.
 
 

11th night fighter squadron

Code Letter "KT", Spinner black with a blue band at screw level. Code is painted white.

Formed in 1951 at Beauvechain, 11 th squadron will operate the Mosquito NF 30 till 1952, when the squadron will be reequipped with Meteor NF 11.

Those will fly till end 1957 when replaced by CF 100. The 11th squadron will be disbanded in November 1960.

 

"RK 952" picture gallery

 
   
 

The NF-30 was exposed on various bases of the Belgian Air Force at the time of air meetings. Its last output took place in 1968.

       
 
   
  The NF-30 will be amongst the first aircraft to enter the Great Hall of the Air Museum.
       
 
   
   
       
 
   
  Pictures of the cockpit as it was before all the equipment has been removed during the first unfinished restoration

The here under pictures, taken at various stages of the first restoration, give plenty of details about the cockpit the bomb bay and the systems (hydraulic, vacuum and others).

   
   

   

   

   

The eyes of the NF30: the AI (Airborne Interception) Mk X

The Mosquito NF-30 is a night fighter.

And a night fighter is next to nothing without its Airborne Installation device.

The NF-30 was equipped with a AI Mk X system. Of American origin, it was initially called SCR 720.

Information and pictures relating to Airborne Interception systems (or radar as we call it nowadays) are scarce because of security reasons at the time of war.

Add to that the fact that those radar were later used in Meteor NF-11 till 1960 and you will understand why pictures of NF-30 radar installations are almost non-existing.

In this picture you can see the plastic upper section of the radome, a camera gun fairing below the access hatch, the windscreen wiper motor against the aft bulkhead and the high frequency unit of the AI Mk X radar.

The most visible part of the radar, a parabolic dish, is installed in the nose of the plane. This parabolic dish rotates continuously round its vertical and horizontal axis.

A small vertical dipole, in its centre, is used for both transmission and reception.

The "end" part of this equipment is the operator's indicator on which there are two screens: one showing relative height of the target and the other showing relative bearing.

A range marker line, adjustable by the operator, can be moved up and down the trace to select a particular target.

Only when this marker line overlays the target does the target appear on the left hand 'C' tube.

But the radar was a lot more than those two components. And there wasn't only the AI Mk X to be installed in the NF-30.

The hereunder list and picture gives you an idea of what looked like a full radar set and what other equipment was installed in the Mosquito NF-30

 

All thoses devices (radio modulator, radio-frequency units, control boxes, ...) were quite cumbersome. We are far from miniaturized components !

These were scattered in the plane as shown in this manufacturer's drawing (Note: hotspot area reveal the names of the components).

Operator's indicator Synchronizer Regulated Rectifier High Voltage Rectifier Power Unit Radio Modulator Unit Junction Box Radio Frequnecy Unit Scanner Unit

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De Havilland Mosquito Museum

The De Havilland Mosquito Museum display, in its premises three fine example of de Havilland Mosquito:

  • W4050, the "Mosquito" prototype,
  • TA634 DH98 Mosquito TT.35
  • TA122, a DH98 Mosquito FB6 in a long term restoration,

W4050

Built at Salisbury Hall in 1940, W4050 was dismantled and moved to Hatfield by road. After reassembly, the maiden flight occured the 25th November. Grounded in 1944 and allocated to the de Havilland apprentice ground training it was  struck off charge on 21st June 1947. This unique prototype found a permanent home at Salisbury Hall, birthplace of the Mosquito,where it was put on public display on 15 May 1959.

Some restoration work is now performed on this unique proptotype.

 

TA122

Struck off charge on 30th June 1950, and after being used for spares, the fuselage was purchased by Delft University in Holland in June 1951. In 1958, the University's aviation section was moved to a smaller building with many items from their collection being disposed of. The university decided to keep TA122, however there was no room for the aircraft's wings which was sawn into small sections, some of which were displayed by the aircraft, others finding homes in the RNLAF Museum and Aviodome Museum at Schiphol.

The fuselage later went into storage with the RNLAF Museum, moving to the Royal Netherlands AF base at Gilze-Rijen from where, following negotiations by Edward Bishop, it was presented to the Mosquito Aircraft Museum in November 1975. The remains of a Mosquito, consisting of a complete wing and numerous metal components, were located soon after on Kibbutz Beit-Alfa in northern Israel. The wing was moved to Salisbury Hall in the UK without cost to the museum, being flown to the UK by El Al.

Work commenced on the wing , who was in relatively poor shape, started in 1985: the leading and trailing edges had rotted away, as had the plywood skins. There was also damage to the spars and almost all of the 32 ribs. Several feet of the starboard wing and the port wingtip were missing entirely and the four underwing fuel tank doors required repairs.

The fuselage has been refurbished years ago by Skyport engineering as you see it, in its red dope coating , in the here under picture gallery.

Nowadays, a tremendous amount of work has been done on this plane that is now sitting on its wheels.

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TA634

Originally built at Hatfield as a B35, 634 was later converted to TT35 configuration for target towing duties. Rebuilt to airworthy condition, first flight June 17 1968, TA634 took part in the filming of 'Mosquito Squadron', together with RS712, and RS709 at Bovington in 1968. Restored for static display, 1980-1990

 

 

 

 

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