Alberta volunteers to restore historic Mosquito aircraft

An extremely rare piece of Canada's war history is being restored in Nanton by a group of aircraft enthusiasts.

Volunteers to spend the next five years restoring Mosquito aircraft

An extremely rare aircraft is being restored in Nanton. 2:39

An extremely rare piece of Canada’s war history is being restored in Nanton by a group of aircraft enthusiasts.

The Mosquito Society of Calgary now has the momentous task of restoring a Mosquito aircraft, one of the few front-line aircraft to be constructed almost entirely of wood during World War II.

Richard de Boer, president of the Mosquito Society of Calgary, said dozens of volunteers will work for the next five years to put "The Wooden Wonder" back together.

"Today is about celebration," de Boer said. "It’s about saying, ‘Ta da! We finally made it. It’s here. We can get to work on it. The future of the airplane is secure.’"

The model being restored in Nanton was built in 1946 and was used for photographic mapping following the Second World War.

"The airplane is extremely rare," de Boar said. "There are only about 30 left in the world today and it has a tremendous Canadian history to it. During World War II, despite this being a British design, over a thousand of these were built in Canada."

For decades, the plane sat in a Calgary warehouse before the Mosquito Society fought to get city council to invest enough money to save it.

Bob O'Connor, a Mosquito navigator during the Second World War, said the plane’s top speed of 700 kilometres per hour made it one of the fastest planes in the skies during that era.

"We just relied on our speed and manoeuvrability to get away," O’Connor said. "We could outrun most of the German night fighters."

Once the plane is fully restored, it will be moved back to the Aero Space Museum of Calgary.