By Adam Estes

Whenever a De Havilland DH.98 Mosquito shows up at an airshow, warbird enthusiasts are always bound to turn their heads to get a glimpse of the Wooden Wonder. At Vintage Aviation News we have been covering the restoration by Avspecs Ltd of the latest example to return to the skies, T.43 NZ2308 which flew again at Ardmore Airport near Auckland, New Zealand in March 2024 — the aircraft’s first flight in 70 years, witnessed by our own Nigel Hitchman. Having had the final stages of its restoration funded by Rod Lewis and Charles Somers, it is with great pleasure that we can report that the aircraft is now undergoing reassembly inside the Tom Friedkin Restoration Hangar of the Planes of Fame Air Museum in Chino, CA. The museum’s president Steve Hinton was at the controls of NZ2308 during its post-restoration flight and its appearance at the Warbirds Over Wanaka airshow in March, and now a team from Avspecs has arrived with the aircraft to work on reassembling the aircraft with assistance from Planes of Fame staff.

Members of the Avspecs team raise the Mosquito on jacks so the undercarriage can be lowered. [Photo by Adam Estes]
The team from Avspecs could be considered old hands at reassembling Mosquitos for overseas customers: this is their fourth such project, with a fifth in the works for a UK client. [Photo by Adam Estes]

This Mosquito is an Australian-built example that was sold to the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) and had logged over 475 hours when retired from service. It is currently painted in a version of its postwar 75 Squadron RNZAF silver scheme and codes, albeit with the addition of wartime ‘D-Day’ stripes to mark the recent 80th anniversary of the Normandy landings. For more on this aircraft’s history read our report by Dave Homewood.

The Mosquito’s two Merlins on the Avspecs transport stand await reinstallation and testing. [Photo by Adam Estes]

According to a statement made by the Planes of Fame, NZ2308 will be undergoing reassembly over the next few weeks during regular business hours before it will depart from Chino for its next destination, which has not yet been made publicly available, and members of the public are invited to visit and view the work being carried out. We will be keeping a close eye on NZ2308 as it undergoes reassembly at Chino and for when this dual-control Mosquito will make its public debut in North America!