A Swarm of Mosquitos
Scaled version flies in France, new project discovered in Florida
By Fareed Guyot, Manager – Electronic Publications, EAA 388642
The RRAA 3/4-scale Mosquito 75 lifts off from Fontenay-Le Comte Airfield near Luçon, France, on April 23, 2011.
Russell Loomis Jr. in his West Marion, Florida, workshop. Photo courtesy Jon Singley of Ocala.com
April 28, 2011 — It’s not even summer in the Northern Hemisphere and yet there is at least one Mosquito flying and two others are under construction. We reported on an effort to restore a full-size Mosquito from a dilapidated hull found in Canada. That project is being finalized in New Zealand and may fly soon.In Florida, a World War II veteran who flew A-20s in Europe has begun a project to build a 3/4-scale version of a Mosquito. However, the first to the air in this Mosquito swarm is the Mosquito 75 project built by the RRAA (Reconstructions & Répliques Avions Anciens), which flew its 3/4-scale project for the first time last weekend.
Last Saturday (April 23) after 16 years of work the members of the RRAA, made up of retired aviators, saw their efforts pay off as their 3/4-scale Mosquito took to the air from Fontenay-Le Comte Airfield near Luçon, France. We reported on their project in early December, and by the end of February they had completed taxi tests.
We don’t have many details of the flight, but we do know that project leader characterized the flight this way today in a French-language letter to supporters: “All conditions were met (for) the first flight, the bride was ready, the crew also...the Mosquito.75 could soar to a glorious future. That day, (it was) the only mosquito in the world was capable of flying in the air with test (pilot) Christophe Marchand and flight engineer John Paul Bichon.”
Skip to the flight portion of the video (Full video below)
In Ocala, Florida, 88 year-old Russell F. Loomis Jr. waited almost his whole life to begin his 3/4–scale Mosquito project. Loomis, who received an aeronautical engineering degree from Embry-Riddle University, spent most of his life working in electronics, mostly two-way radios.
During WWII he flew the P-38 stateside and in Europe the Douglas A-20 Havoc and eventually the A-26 on photo reconnaissance missions.
Loomis began thinking about a project like this in the late 1990s when he toyed with making a 1/5-scale P-40 model, but after running the engineering numbers he realized he wouldn’t have been able to fit in and fly it, so he moved on to a scaled A-20. However, the A-20’s aft-folding nose gear would have caused space problems for any pilot trying to fit into a scaled version.
Enter the Mosquito, which is similar in size but has a big enough wing root that you can hide the wider cockpit Russell had to make in order to fit inside. He says the biggest challenge has been scaling down the dimensions without the benefit of the actual aircraft plans. One of his only official resources is a technician’s maintenance manual from 1941-1945 that he was able to procure. But the manual is short on information about dimensions of the various parts, leaving him to reverse-engineer the components on his own.
Creating a jig for this one-off design has been a monumental undertaking in both cost and effort. To save time and money Russell is not going to use solid form blocks to shape his fuselage like it was done in the original manufacturing process, but rather build the rib structure and attach the laminate to it.
From 1966 to 1967 Russell served as president of EAA Chapter 74 in Orlando, Florida and he jokes that he hopes his “life cycle” will allow him to finish his project. Since an article about his project was recently published on Ocala.com he has had more offers of help.
Full Mosquito 75 first flight video