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'Mosquito' Taught Valuable Life Lessons

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Posted By: StormCnter, 5/22/2020 3:56:21 PM

The most valuable lessons in life are timeless. Their import is a constant across the decades—or longer — serving as models that guide and shape our thinking and perceptions. The key is to recognize when we are being presented with such a lesson, since their presence is often not obvious and their instructive significance frequently escapes our notice. The de Havilland Mosquito, a British World War II aircraft, is a perfect example of one such lesson. The exigencies of national crisis place demands on a country that can almost never be seen in advance or planned for. From one day to the next, conditions change, circumstances shift and previously reliable relationships

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Reply 1 - Posted by: marbles 5/22/2020 4:20:19 PM (No. 419023)
Olivia DeHavilland 's family . Cousin. She'll be 104 this July.
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Reply 2 - Posted by: Newtsche 5/22/2020 4:46:30 PM (No. 419036)
As a kid I had a plastic one as well as several other HO scale WWll model aircraft. Just holding it in your hand and pretending to fly it, you could tell the Mosquito was special.
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Reply 3 - Posted by: grampus 5/22/2020 5:56:31 PM (No. 419085)
Another WW II Brit flying remembrance, less significant but also quite interesting: A Brit friend who eventually retired from U.S. Special Forces related this. In his late teens, he had trained as a Brit glider pilot. .(Was accomplished enough...and lucky enough...to have survived two combat "landings." One at Normandy, and one at Market Garden. When he was in training, at the same base there were many teenagers learning to fly Spitfires. My friend said that he often watched the instructors clearing the kids for takeoff as their Spitfires gained speed on the runway. The instruct demanded a two-thumbs-up signal from the kid in the cockpit. When my friend later talked with the instructor about the two-thumbs-up requirement, the instructor said that he always wanted to make sure that the kid flying the Spitfire didn't have one thumb up his Arse,
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Reply 4 - Posted by: DVC 5/22/2020 6:49:59 PM (No. 419142)
A great article but to say that the wonderful Mosquito was "made of wood" is to miss 90% of the truly amazing technical advance that it and ONLY it brought to aviation. It was effectively the first molded composite aircraft, which is a common manufacturing technique now 75 years later, but was unheard of then. Concrete female molds were made of the fuselage halves, perfectly shaped to the final external form, and super smooth inside. Thin veneers of birch were laid into these molds at 45 degrees to the long axis, then glue applied, and a second layer of veneer applied, 45 degrees the other way, so the veneer grain was crossed at right angles, then more glue and sheet of thousands of small pieces of "end grain" balsa wood (ultra light) with the grain going inward, perpendicular to the birch, were added as a central "core" a fraction of an inch thick, then more glue, and more interior layers of birch veneer, grain directions crossed. When this was all forced into the mold, compressed and the glue dried, they had a plywood skin outside, bonded to a lightweight central balsa core, and a second bonded plywood skin inside. This is called "sandwich construction" and today the inner and outer skins are fiberglass or carbon fiber with epoxy, and the cores are various plastic foams or cellular plastic or metal honeycombs, but they are made in molds the same way, and have strong skins over light weight cores. Sandwich construction is exceptionally light, stiff and strong. Just saying that the Mosquitos were "made of wood", while true, misses much of the true genius in the structure, totally different than every other wooden aircraft made up until that time. As a structural engineer, who has built a sandwich composite aircraft myself, my respect for these old designers and builder is very high. Well DONE, de Havilland! Well done, indeed.
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Reply 5 - Posted by: NYbob 5/22/2020 7:10:34 PM (No. 419165)
#4 remarkable engineers who used the minimum of wartime metals and the maximum of what they had, wood and furniture makers. The Royal Air Force didn't think they needed this plane at first. Then the test flight blew every measure off the scale. Herman Goering knew what a wonder it was and tried to copy it. Fortunately for the world they could never duplicate the layering methods and most of all the right glue. I love the P-38 and was lucky enough to see both a flying Mosquito and a P-38 at the same National Warplane show in Geneseo, NY several years ago. The Mossie was bigger and louder. Sort of like a truck compared to the P-38 sportscar, but you could see why it was so versatile doing unarmed reconnaissance to bombing, ground attack, night fighter and fighter. Great planes and the perfect plane for Britain at that time.
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Reply 6 - Posted by: Rumblehog 5/22/2020 11:42:11 PM (No. 419314)
Then came the deHavilland Comet and their mystique was damned.
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Reply 7 - Posted by: DVC 5/23/2020 2:41:35 PM (No. 419902)
#6, the Comet was built of aluminum and at that time, engineering knowledge of metal fatigue was nearly nothing. The square corners of the windows concentrated the stresses in the fuselage skins from pressurization. Pressurization was a new concept for airliners so that they could fly higher - 'above the weather'. When the concentrated window corner stresses caused cracks in the fuselage aluminum skin near the windows, great rips occurred in the pressurized exterior skins, which provided primary fuselage structural strength, and the fuselage came apart in moments of stress. The aircraft just blew apart in flight. Modern designs have rounded window corners to avoid concentrating stresses, and "crack stop" technology designed to prevent a ripped skin from propigating a long way. As horrific as it was, the Hawaii Air 737 that lost a huge portion of the upper fuselage proved the crack stop and alternate load paths fuselage designed would work. It was a bad accident, but did not involve the aircraft crashing, but flying back safely with a huge portion of the cabin roof and side missing. New, non-destructive ways of detecting cracks in aircraft skins have been developed and airliners undergo regular 'eddy current testing' to verify fuselage skin integrity free of hidden cracks.
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Reply 8 - Posted by: NYbob 5/23/2020 3:29:11 PM (No. 419934)
#7 reminds me that I read techs had an easier time finding cracks when people still smoked on passenger planes. Hard to believe now, but they did and the smoke stains made the cracks show up. Engine mechanics do the same thing using a dye to find cracks in engine blocks.
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Reply 9 - Posted by: franq 5/23/2020 3:32:26 PM (No. 419936)
As I recall, #7, the Hawaii Air plane had a dangerously high number of flight cycles, due to the island-hopping nature of its life. So fatigue probably played into it too.
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