W4050 at The Mosquito Aircraft Museum

Note that W4050 is currently undergoing restoration work.

 

22nd January 2011

The wing of W4050 emerging from the Robin Hangar. This is the first time that W4050 has been out of the Robin Hangar since 1959 The wing of W4050 emerging from the Robin Hangar. This is the first time that W4050 has been out of the Robin Hangar since 1959. Image courtesy of Bob Glasby. For a larger (1280x800, 286kb) version of this image, click here.
The wing of W4050 fully out of the Robin Hangar The wing of W4050 fully out of the Robin Hangar. Image courtesy of Bob Glasby. For a larger (1280x800, 183kb) version of this image, click here.
The wing of W4050 fully out of the Robin Hangar The wing of W4050 fully out of the Robin Hangar. Image courtesy of Bob Glasby. For a larger (1280x800, 275kb) version of this image, click here.
W4050's wing ready for loading for the short journey to the main hangar W4050's wing ready for loading for the short journey to the main hangar. Image courtesy of Bob Glasby. For a larger (1280x800, 306kb) version of this image, click here.
W4050's wing on the move to the main hangar W4050's wing on the move to the main hangar. Image courtesy of Bob Glasby. For a larger (1280x800, 203kb) version of this image, click here.
The wing of W4050 being offloaded at the main hangar The wing of W4050 being offloaded at the main hangar. Image courtesy of Bob Glasby. For a larger (1280x800, 249kb) version of this image, click here.
The fuselage of W4050 emerging from the Robin Hangar The fuselage of W4050 emerging from the Robin Hangar. Image courtesy of Bob Glasby. For a larger (1280x800, 203kb) version of this image, click here.
W4050's fuselage airborne in prparation for loading for the short journey to the main hangar W4050's fuselage airborne in prparation for loading for the short journey to the main hangar. Image courtesy of Bob Glasby. For a larger (1280x800, 343kb) version of this image, click here.
W4050's fuselage loaded ready for the journey to the main hangar W4050's fuselage loaded ready for the journey to the main hangar. Image courtesy of Bob Glasby. For a larger (1280x800, 291kb) version of this image, click here.
The fuselage of W4050 being unloaded at the main hangar The fuselage of W4050 being unloaded at the main hangar. Image courtesy of Bob Glasby. For a larger (1280x800, 177kb) version of this image, click here.
Three Mosquitoes in one hangar! Three Mosquitoes in one hangar!. Image courtesy of Bob Glasby. For a larger (1280x800, 223kb) version of this image, click here.
Some of the team which performed the work Some of the team which performed the work. Image courtesy of Bob Glasby. For a larger (1280x800, 230kb) version of this image, click here.
 

9th January 2011

The wing of W4050 in the process of being removed from the fuselage The wing of W4050 in the process of being removed from the fuselage. Image courtesy of Bob Glasby. For a larger (1280x800, 242kb) version of this image, click here.
The wing of W4050 removed from the fuselage for the first time in nearly 52 years for restoration work The wing of W4050 removed from the fuselage for the first time in nearly 52 years for restoration work. Image courtesy of Bob Glasby. For a larger (1280x800, 183kb) version of this image, click here.
 

3rd April 2003

W4050 minus its engines undergoing restoration at the de Havilland Aircraft Heritage Centre, April 2003 W4050 minus its engines undergoing restoration at the de Havilland Aircraft Heritage Centre. For a larger (1712x1368, 457kb) version of this image, click here.
Port nacelle, undercarriage, firewall and one engine bearer Port nacelle, undercarriage, firewall and one engine bearer. For a larger (1368x1712, 442kb) version of this image, click here.
Starboard firewall and one engine bearer Starboard firewall and one engine bearer. For a larger (1712x1368, 427kb) version of this image, click here.
W4050 engine cowling panels W4050 engine cowling panels. For a larger (1712x1368, 421kb) version of this image, click here.
W4050 engine cowling panels W4050 engine cowling panels. For a larger (1712x1368, 419kb) version of this image, click here.
long range wing-tanks long range wing-tanks. For a larger (1712x1368, 388kb) version of this image, click here.
W4050's rear bulkead, tailcone and tailplane under restoration W4050's rear bulkead, tailcone and tailplane under restoration. For a larger (1712x1368, 410kb) version of this image, click here.
Elevators waiting to be refitted to the restored tailplane Elevators waiting to be refitted to the restored tailplane. For a larger (1712x1368, 410kb) version of this image, click here.
View from under the leading edge of the port wing looking towards the nose of W4050 View from under the leading edge of the port wing looking towards the nose of W4050. For a larger (1712x1368, 444kb) version of this image, click here.
General view of the nose area from the front port quarter General view of the nose area from the front port quarter. For a larger (1712x1368, 422kb) version of this image, click here.
Direct nose-on view of W4050 including the leading egde radiators Direct nose-on view of W4050 including the leading egde radiators. For a larger (1712x1368, 425kb) version of this image, click here.
Starboard firewall close-up Starboard firewall close-up. For a larger (1368x1712, 402kb) version of this image, click here.
Looking upwards from the crew hatch towards the instrument panel Looking upwards from the crew hatch towards the instrument panel. For a larger (1712x1368, 441kb) version of this image, click here.
View from the crew hatch upwards/towards the front of the aircraft View from the crew hatch upwards/towards the front of the aircraft. For a larger (1712x1368, 408kb) version of this image, click here.
View from the crew hatch looking upwards/towards the tail of the aircraft View from the crew hatch looking upwards/towards the tail of the aircraft. For a larger (1712x1368, 428kb) version of this image, click here.
View from the crew hatch looking directly upwards View from the crew hatch looking directly upwards. For a larger (1712x1368, 452kb) version of this image, click here.
View from the crew hatch looking upwards along the navigator's side of the cockpit View from the crew hatch looking upwards along the navigator's side of the cockpit. For a larger (1712x1368, 399kb) version of this image, click here.
Starboard wing radiator Starboard wing radiator. For a larger (1712x1368, 403kb) version of this image, click here.
Rear of the starboard nacelle showing where the extended sections were attached. Apparently the original short nacelles are still underneath! Rear of the starboard nacelle showing where the extended sections were attached. Apparently the original short nacelles are still underneath!. For a larger (1712x1368, 342kb) version of this image, click here.
Starboard fuselage side and bomb-bay door Starboard fuselage side and bomb-bay door. Does anyone know what the item on the fuselage side above the bomb-bay door is? For a larger (1712x1368, 422kb) version of this image, click here.
Fuselage access/maintenance hatch, starboard fuselage side Fuselage access/maintenance hatch, starboard fuselage side. For a larger (1712x1368, 322kb) version of this image, click here.
Tail unit and rear fuselage taken from approximately half way down the starboard side of the fuselage Tail unit and rear fuselage taken from approximately half way down the starboard side of the fuselage. For a larger (1368x1712, 407kb) version of this image, click here.
Fuselage rear bulkhead close-up Fuselage rear bulkhead close-up. For a larger (1712x1368, 379kb) version of this image, click here.
Rear end of the fuselage from the starboard side Rear end of the fuselage from the starboard side. For a larger (1368x1712, 368kb) version of this image, click here.
Port fuselage side, view from approximately half way along the fuselage on the port side Port fuselage side, view from approximately half way along the fuselage on the port side. For a larger (1712x1368, 427kb) version of this image, click here.
Upper surface of long-range wing tank. Note fuel pipes at the rear of the tank Upper surface of long-range wing tank. Note fuel pipes at the rear of the tank. For a larger (1712x1368, 410kb) version of this image, click here.
Closer view of the pipework at the rear of the long-tange wing fuel tank Closer view of the pipework at the rear of the long-tange wing fuel tank. For a larger (1712x1368, 391kb) version of this image, click here.
Closer view of the side of the long-range wing fuel tank including the stencilled lettering 'RS648' Closer view of the side of the long-range wing fuel tank including the stencilled lettering 'RS648'. For a larger (1712x1368, 351kb) version of this image, click here.
Uncovered long-range wing fuel tank. Note the construction methods using wooden strips Uncovered long-range wing fuel tank. Note the construction methods using wooden strips. The walls of these fuel tanks are very thin indeed, but beautifully constructed! For a larger (1368x1712, 357kb) version of this image, click here.
W4050's propeller blades in storage W4050's propeller blades in storage. For a larger (1368x1712, 502kb) version of this image, click here.
W4050's tailcone under restoration in the main hanger W4050's tailcone under restoration in the main hanger. For a larger (1712x1368, 405kb) version of this image, click here.
 

14th July 2002

W4050 port nacelle, firewall and engine bearer W4050 port nacelle, firewall and one engine bearer. For a larger (1712x1368, 513kb) version of this image, click here.
W4050 starboard firewall and engine bearer W4050 starboard firewall and one engine bearer. For a larger (1712x1368, 519kb) version of this image, click here.
W4050 tailwheel, rear fuselage bulkhead and associated equipment W4050 tailwheel, rear fuselage bulkhead and associated equipment. For a larger (1712x1368, 503kb) version of this image, click here.
W4050 tailplane rear edge after the elevator has been removed W4050 tailplane rear edge after the elevator has been removed. For a larger (1712x1368, 546kb) version of this image, click here.
W4050 rear bulkhead, tailwheel damper and some of the rudder/tailplane pulleys W4050 rear bulkhead, tailwheel damper and some of the rudder/tailplane pulleys. For a larger (1712x1368, 518kb) version of this image, click here.
W4050, further details of the rear bulkhead and equipment W4050, further details of the rear bulkhead and equipment. For a larger (1712x1368, 541kb) version of this image, click here.
W4050, further details of the rear bulkhead and equipment W4050, further details of the rear bulkhead and equipment. For a larger (1712x1368, 544kb) version of this image, click here.
W4050 port firewall and engine bearer W4050 port firewall and engine bearer. For a larger (1712x1368, 509kb) version of this image, click here.
W4050 starboard firewall and undercarriage W4050 starboard firewall and undercarriage. For a larger (1712x1368, 513kb) version of this image, click here.
W4050, view upwards into the cockpit from the ground underneath the crew hatch W4050, view upwards into the cockpit from the ground underneath the crew hatch. For a larger (1712x1368, 518kb) version of this image, click here.
 

18th July 1999

W4050, view from the hanger doorway W4050, view from the hanger doorway.
View of W4050's rear fuselage, left side. If you look carefully it is possible to see the original prototype markings View of W4050's rear fuselage, left side. If you look carefully it is possible to see the original prototype markings.
W4050 from behind the left elevator looking forwards W4050 from behind the left elevator looking forwards.
View from the pilot's seat of W4050 straight out along the port wing View from the pilot's seat of W4050 straight out along the port wing.
W4050 interior, navigator side switchgear W4050 interior, navigator side switchgear.
W4050 cockpit interior, view directly backwards from the pilot's seat showing canopy structure and the space behind the two seats W4050 cockpit interior, view directly backwards from the pilot's seat showing canopy structure and the space behind the two seats.
View forward and left from the pilot's seat. You don't realise quite how close the engines are until you  see them looming close from the pilot's seat! View forward and left from the pilot's seat of W4050. You don't realise quite how close the engines are until you see them looming close from the pilot's seat! It must have been a noisy ride!
W4050 instrumentation W4050 instrumentation, view from the navigator's seat.
View forwards from the navigator's seat showing instrumentation and crawlway access to the bomb aiming window View forwards from the navigator's seat showing instrumentation and crawlway access to the bomb aiming window.
 

1997

Prototype Mosquito W4050 front left view Prototype Mosquito W4050 front left view.
Prototype Mosquito W4050 rear left quarter view Prototype Mosquito W4050 rear left view.
Prototype Mosquito W4050 closeup of starboard engine Prototype Mosquito W4050 close-up of starboard engine.
Reg Davey, navigator, 627 Squadron, standing in front of W4050 Reg Davey, navigator, 627 Squadron, standing in front of W4050.
View of starboard engine from inside the cockpit of W4050 View of starboard engine from inside the cockpit of W4050.
View of port engine from inside the cockpit of W4050 View of port engine from inside the cockpit of W4050.
Prototype Mosquito W4050 instrument panel Prototype Mosquito W4050 instrument panel.
Prototype Mosquito W4050 instrument panel Prototype Mosquito W4050 instrument panel.
 
More (detailed) images (taken April 2001) More (detailed) images

 

W4050 History

Built at Salisbury Hall, W4050 was dismantled and moved to Hatfield by road on 3rd November 1940, just over a year after the Mosquito design team moved to Salisbury hall from nearby Hatfield. The aircraft was painted overall yellow for easy identification and carried the class B markings E0234. After reassembly, initial engine tests were performed on 19th of November, the first taxiing tests five days later. W4050 was flown for the first time at 3.45pm on the 25th November by Geoffrey de Havilland Jnr., with John E. Walker as observer.

Following 35 hours of initial trials at Hatfield, the aircraft, by now officially adopted as W4050, was delivered to Boscombe Down on 19th February 1941 with camouflaged top surfaces and prototype markings for official service trials. Alan Wheeler was the first test pilot at Boscombe Down to fly W4050.

Following a ground accident on 24th February in which the tail wheel caught in a rut fracturing the fuselage just aft of the wing trailing edge, the decision was made by Fred Plumb, de Havilland's Chief Engineer, to replace the fuselage with one built for W4051, the Photo Reconnaissance prototype.

On completion of the change, W4050 was flown back to Hatfield for some adjustments on 14th March, returning to Boscombe Down four days later with extended engine nacelles fitted for handling trials.

On the aircraft's 100th flight on 4 May, a maximum level speed of 392 mph was achieved at 22,000 ft with an all-up weight of 16,000 lb. During further handling tests at Boscombe Down, the fuselage was fractured again in a heavy landing. This time the damage was repaired with an irregular patch on the port fuselage side just behind the wing trailing edge which is still visible today.

Service trials were completed on the prototype on 23 May 1941, to be continued on more representative production aircraft. On return to Hatfield, the prototype was used by de Havilland for a variety of tests in a number of configurations including stall tests, the effects of flying with the bomb doors open and with a mockup turret fitted immediately behind the cockpit.

In late October 1941 W4050 was temporarily grounded for the fitting of more powerful Merlin 61 engines, eventually flying in this form on 20th June 1942 and attaining an altitude of 40,000 ft on its second flight. Merlin 77s were then fitted with flight trials recommencing on 8th October, and a top speed of 439 mph was achieved in November, the highest by any Mosquito. Development flying of the prototype reduced during 1943, but it did spend a short period with Rolls Royce from 1st March until 10th June.

In 1944 the prototype was grounded and allocated to de Havilland apprentice ground training. W4050 took part in the filming of 'The Mosquito Story' in 1945, the film made by de Havilland on the development, production and use of the Mosquito, following which it moved back to Salisbury Hall for use by the de Havilland Aeronautical School in 1946. W4050 appeared in the SBAC displays at Radlett in 1946 and 1947, surrounded by a selection of the typical weapon loads.

W4050 was declared Category E and struck off charge on 21st June 1947.

W.J.S. (Bill) Baird, the Assistant Public Relations Manager at Hatfield, had become aware of the historical significance of the prototype Mosquito as early as 1945. When the aircraft was ordered destroyed he saved it from being burned, having it dismantled and then moving it first to Panshanger, then Hatfield for a short time, to the factory at Chester and finally back to off airfield storage at Hatfield.

In the meantime, Walter J. Goldsmith, a retired Army Officer, had bought Salisbury Hall and upon realising that it was the birthplace of the Mosquito asked whether W4050 could go on display in the grounds. Thus a permanent home was found back at Salisbury Hall, where it was put on public display on 15 May 1959.

Notes: There seems to be some confusion surrounding certain events in the life of W4050:

  • The aircraft's 100th flight is noted as being on 14th April in one source and 4th May in another.
  • There seems to be confusion about the location of the aircraft between March and May 1941.
  • The maximum speed reached is noted as 437 and 439 mph.

If anyone has further information on the above and cares to supply me with details, Please contact me.