More than 20,000 technical drawings and diagrams found in a hangar at Airbus Broughton days before it was due to be demolished will be used by enthusiasts to rebuild a Mosquito bomber.
The hidden stash, found in the former de Havilland hanger at Broughton includes what are thought to be the world’s only complete set of engineering drawings for the twin-engined plane.
According to John Lilley, the chairman of The People’s Mosquito project;
“The drawings were donated by Airbus Broughton, as the office they were located in was scheduled to be demolished to make way for new buildings.
We have spent £4000 having the cards digitised to preserve them and we are currently working our way through this maze of technical information.”
Talking to the BBC, Bill Ramsey, the project’s operations director, who served in the RAF for 41 years, said the drawings weighed 67kgs (148 lbs) in total and were going to be thrown into a skip.
“It is actually probably unique in the world in that it’s a complete collection of drawings for every mark and modification that was ever made to a Mosquito,” he told BBC Radio Wales.
Nicknamed The Wooden Wonder the de Havilland built Mosquito, known affectionately as the “Mossie” to its crews was a multi-role combat aircraft which served during and after the Second World War.
It was one of few operational front-line aircraft of the era constructed almost entirely of wood.
Mosquito production began in 1941, it was one of the fastest operational aircraft in the world.It flew high-speed, medium or low-altitude missions against factories, railways and other pinpoint targets in Germany and German-occupied Europe.
From late 1943, Mosquito bombers were formed into the Light Night Strike Force and used as pathfinders for RAF Bomber Command heavy-bomber raids.
They were also used as “nuisance” bombers, often dropping Blockbuster bombs – 4,000 lb (1,812 kg) “cookies” – in high-altitude, high-speed raids that German night fighters were almost powerless to intercept.
There were 7,781 Mosquitoes built with 6,710 delivered during World War II, 96 were built at Hawarden.
Since then those remains have been stored in a shed in East Anglia, “very little, if anything, that is in an airworthy state amongst those remains”
Ross Sharp, engineering director for the project, said:“As you can imagine, restoring an aircraft that is 70 years old presents several challenges, one of which is a lack of information on the building techniques, materials, fittings and specifications.
These plans enable us to glean a new level of understanding and connection with the brilliant designers who developed the world’s first, true, multi-role combat aircraft.”
Once complete The People’s Mosquito will house, maintain and display the aircraft around Britain, the charity expect the restoration will cost in the region of £7m.