Top award for iconic de Havilland aircraft

The de Havilland Mosquito prototype W4050 on display at the de Havilland Aircraft Museum, Salisbury Hall, London Colney [Picture: DHAM]

The de Havilland Mosquito prototype W4050 on display at the de Havilland Aircraft Museum, Salisbury Hall, London Colney [Picture: DHAM]


One of the country’s most famous aircraft has been recognised with an Engineering Heritage Award that ranks it alongside some of Britain’s greatest technical achievements.

Built by Hatfield-based company de Havilland, the award has been made by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers to the prototype of the Mosquito multi-role wooden aircraft of World War Two.

The Mosquito Prototype now joins other famous holders of the accolade, including the original Whittle jet engine, Concorde supersonic jet airliner, the E-Type Jaguar sports car, and London’s Tower Bridge.

“This is a very prestigious award and it demonstrates the significance of the collection, which we have at the museum,” said de Havilland Aircraft Museum curator Alistair Hodgson.

“The Mosquito pioneered aircraft construction techniques that are still in use today, and the award affirms the status of the aircraft as one of the UK’s foremost engineering achievements.”

The Wooden Wonder was designed in 1939 by a dedicated team at the de Havilland Aircraft Company, based at the historic Salisbury Hall mansion.

The ‘Mossie’ prototype, registered W4050, was the first of four prototypes built in a special hangar at the London Colney site.

It made its maiden flight on November 25, 1940 at the company’s airfield at Hatfield.

The aircraft is now the star attraction at the museum, one of three Mosquitos there forming the world’s largest collection of the type.

More than 7,700 Mosquito aircraft were built in all, with the production line at de Havilland’s Hatfield factory constructing more than 3,300 of them.

The skills of the de Havilland museum have also been recognised by the RAF Museum at Hendon, north London.

They were recently asked to help move its Mosquito B.35 TJ138 into a new position in the Bomber Hall, which meant disassembling the aircraft, moving it and then reassembling it.

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