The famous British Mosquito -- known to many as "Mossie" --was a versatile aircraft used extensively during World War II. Constructed primarily of plywood with a balsa wood core, it had excellent speed, altitude and range. First flown on Nov. 25, 1940, the Mosquito entered production in mid-1941 and was produced until well after the end of the war. Almost 8,000 Mossies were built in Great Britain, Canada and Australia.
Although best known for their service with the Royal Air Force, Mosquitoes were also flew in several U.S. Army Air Force units as photographic and weather reconnaissance aircraft and as a night fighter. During the war, the USAAF acquired 40 Canadian Mossies and flew them under the American F-8 (photo reconnaissance) designation. In addition, the British turned over more than 100 Mosquitoes to the USAAF under Reverse Lend-Lease. These aircraft retained their British designations.
The aircraft on display is a British-built B. Mk. 35 manufactured in 1946 (later converted for towing targets) and is similar to the P.R. Mk. XVIs used by the USAAF. It was flown to the museum in February 1985. This Mosquito, serial RS709, has been restored to a Mk. XVI configuration and painted as NS519, a weather reconnaissance aircraft of the 653rd Bombardment Squadron based in England in 1944-1945.
Just before D-Day (the June 6, 1944, invasion of France), black and white stripes were applied almost overnight to a vast majority of U.S. and British aircraft to clearly identify them during the Normandy landings. In the rush to mark all the aircraft, masking and spraying sometimes gave way to more expeditious method of painting them by hand.
Invasion stripes, like the ones being applied by the ground crewman in the museum's exhibit, would have completely encircled the wings and fuselage. The 25th Bombardment Group adopted a red tail for their Mosquitoes in August 1944 and removed the invasion stripes from the upper wing and upper fuselage surfaces in September 1944.
TECHNICAL NOTES: Armament: 4,000 lbs. of bombs in bomber version Engines: Two Rolls-Royce Merlins of 1,690 hp each Maximum speed: 415 mph Cruising speed: 276 mph Range: 1,955 miles Ceiling: 42,000 ft. Span: 54 ft. 2 in. Length: 40 ft. 6 in. Height: 12 ft. 6 in. Weight: 23,000 lbs. loaded
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