How 3D technology and expertise helped the Canadian Historical Aircraft Association’s “Wooden Wonder” restoration
A team in Windsor, Ontario is restoring a rare WW2 bomber—with a little help from the experts at Applied Precision 3D
Part by part, for more than 20 years, a group of volunteers at Windsor’s Canadian Historical Aircraft Association have been meticulously rebuilding a deHavilland twin-seat DH.98 Mosquito, whose blueprints were lost many years ago. The ‘Wooden Wonder’, as it was called, is one of the most famous and successful WW2 Allied Forces combat aircraft. In fact, Mosquito squadrons in January 1943 were the first to discredit the Germans’ claim that no enemy plane could fly over Berlin unscathed. The bomber was incredibly fast, maneuverable, versatile—and it was made almost entirely out of wood. Unfortunately, as a result of its construction, there are only some 30 Mosquitos in the world today and merely three of those are airworthy.
“Whether it is a restoration or a new build, parts for the Mosquito are very difficult to find,” said John Robinson, President of the association, based in Windsor. “One of the major parts we needed was the landing gear nacelle. There are no drawings for this and the job of trying to replicate it is very difficult without drawings.”
The group, however, did have an original part for the nacelle, a 12-foot long streamlined housing for the landing gear that is attached to the underside of the wing. The nacelle part was missing ribs and other key components.
“That’s basically when Applied Precision 3D came to the rescue for us,” said Robinson. “They were able to scan the whole unit for us and put it into a form that we could pull to CAD and accurately build the ribs and parts.”
Although modern 3D technologies and reverse engineering are helping the restoration project overcome some of its most difficult challenges, Robinson estimates it will still take the volunteers another decade or so to complete the complete Mosquito restoration. “This is work from the heart,” he said.
In the meantime, the Wooden Wonder restoration project is on display at the Association’s museum at the Windsor, Ontario airport.
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