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ello and welcome to your March edition of FlyPast magazine in which we’ll be celebrating de Havilland’s legendary Mosquito, often nicknamed the ‘wooden wonder’ owing to its method of construction. This is an issue I’ve been particularly looking forward to working on as there’s something so purposeful and aesthetically appealing about the ‘Mossie’, which – together with its exemplary track record and versatility – makes it very interesting to research and write about. In fact, during the FlyPast team’s hunt for images we came across the one below, which, I’m sure you’ll agree is a real find. Taken on June 6, 1947 at RAF West Malling, it shows three members of 500 (County of Kent) Squadron, Royal Auxiliary Air Force, together with a fourth figure underneath one of the unit’s Mosquito NF.XXX night-fighters. Closer inspection revealed it to be none other than Anthony Eden, who was honorary Air Commodore of 500 Squadron, and deputy prime minister of the Conservative Government at the time. He later became better known as the political leader who was enmeshed in the Suez Campaign of 1956. The exhilaration on his face is something to behold, and if – as the image suggests – he’d just been up in the Mosquito in the background, one can understand why. We’ve managed to get some great features for you on the Mosquito as well, so pop the kettle on, sit back and read about one of the greatest designs ever to be produced by a British aircraft manufacturer.
Assistant Editor Steve Beebee
Contributing Editor Ken Ellis
EDITORIAL: Editor – Chris Gilson Assistant Editor – Steve Beebee Contributing Editors - Ken Ellis and Dave Unwin Group Editor - Nigel Price General enquiries to: Editor’s Secretary: Tuesday Osborne FlyPast, PO Box 100, Stamford, Lincs, PE9 1XQ, UK Tel: 01780 755131 Fax: 01780 757261 E-mail: [email protected]
www.flypast.com DESIGN: Art Editor – Mike Carr
Group Editor Nigel Price
Art Editor Mike Carr
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PRODUCTION: Production Editor – Sue Blunt Deputy Production Editor – Carol Randall Sub Editor - Norman Wells Production Manager – Janet Watkins ADVERTISING AND COMMERCIAL: Commercial Director – Ann Saundry Group Advertisement Manager – Brodie Baxter Advertisement Manager – Alison Sanders E-mail: [email protected]
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Elsewhere in the world of warbirds, it’s great to hear that the Shuttleworth Collection has installed the engine on its Supermarine Spitfire V AR501 after a long and exhaustive restoration. Hopefully we’ll be able to hear its famous Merlin ‘snarl’ at an airshow soon, and better still, see it above our heads. Keep an eye on future news sections for more information about when and where. For those after something from the other side of the Atlantic, our Spotlight subject is the Grumman F4F Wildcat, which made a big impact during such actions as the Battle of Midway and was used so effectively by the Fleet Air Arm as the less aggressive-sounding Martlet. And if that’s not enough, other features include a look at the aircraft that helped develop the V-Bomber designs, the last use of the noble Handley Page Halifax in RAF service while flying from Gibraltar and my report from the Museum of Flight in Seattle – which is well worth a visit if you’re in the area. Until next time, remember the airshow season is looming fast and next month’s edition will include our free guide to what’s on at home and abroad. It’s an issue not to be missed. Until then, enjoy your magazine.
Chris Gilson Editor
Below Flanked by members of 500 (County of Kent) Squadron Royal Auxiliary Air Force, Anthony Eden – at the time Deputy Prime Minister of the Conservative Government – continues his inspection of the unit on June 6, 1947 as a Mosquito NF.XXX stands in the background. The other inspection officers that day were AVM Sir Alan Lees, AOC Reserve Command and Air Cdre Sir Harry Broadhurst, AOC 66 Group.
FlyPast (ISSN: 0262-6950), March, is published monthly by Key Publishing Ltd, PO Box 100, Stamford, Lincs, PE9 1XQ, UK and distributed in the USA by Mail Right Int., 1637 Stelton Road B4, Piscataway, NJ 08854.
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Printed in England ISSN 0262-6950
Britain’s top-selling aviation monthly
Allies and Warriors
Flying the Yak
Many Souffan, Alain Fages and Yves Donjon pay tribute to France’s greatest aviation unit, the Normandie-Niemen Regiment.
Luigi Caliaro profiles a Yak-11 that honours the famous Normandie-Niemen Regiment.
Paving the Way
Avro Lancaster ‘Just Jane’ was the focus of a recent early-morning photo shoot at East Kirkby – images by Darren Harbar.
114 Halifax on the Rock
Halifax crews routinely risked their lives to acquire vital weather information. Ken Ellis assesses the work of Gibraltar’s ‘met ships’.
Tony Buttler examines the scale testbeds that preceded the Victor and Vulcan – and looks at the V-bombers that might have been.
Contents March 2017
An air-to-air view of de Havilland Mosquito FB.26 KA114 (N114KA). This aircraft is based at the Military Aviation Museum in Virginia Beach, US. GAVIN CONROY
This page, main image: John Pletcher’s Grumman Goose N703 flying in Alaska recently. See feature beginning on page 104. JOHN M DIBBS-THE PLANE PICTURY COMPANY
20 Allies and Warriors
82 Paving the Way
114 Halifax on the Rock
THE WOODEN WONDER
WE SALUTE A LEGEND OF BRITISH WARTIME AVIATION – DE HAVILLAND’S MAGNIFICENT MOSQUITO.
From the Workshop
36 AFRICAN MOSSIES
Steve MacLean explains how the South African Air Force’s Mosquito-equipped 60 Squadron became photo-recce specialists.
44 DEFENDING THE COAST
The Mosquito was used to great effect in the anti-shipping role. Graham...