The DH-98 Mosquito is a fascinating subject. Developed during a period of genuine desperation for Britain, DeHavilland’s engineers drew on their experience building the successful Comet racing aircraft out of a strong composite of Balsa wood sandwiched between layers of Spruce. This design was not only light and strong, but also damage tolerant. In modern times, competitive aircraft still use wood composite structures in a similar fashion to absorb the punishment of aerobatics which causes fatigue in metal structures.
Initially the British Air Ministry had little interest in an aircraft made of wood, which utilized speed and agility as its defensive weapon. But the idea certainly caught on when they witnessed the flight of an airplane that could operate at almost 400 miles per hour in 1940. The aircraft’s speed and handling resulted in it’s adaptation to a variety of interesting missions as a high speed spy plane, a specialized strike fighter, night fighter, bomber, torpedo bomber and even a U-Boat defender with a 6 pound anti-tank gun mounted in its nose.
This product was designed by Aeroplane Heaven, a group of designers headquartered in Australia, who some say are locked away with only pizza and home brew until their work is done. What we know is that they are some of the most talented vintage aircraft experts in the world. Their Mosquito project is a work of art. Their faithful reproduction of the “Mozzie’s” aerodynamic shape is spot on and they have put in the extra effort to model variations in the virtual cockpits, including details like the folding bomb sight in the nose, cameras around the cockpit in the reconnaissance versions and modeled features like the operation of the radiator flaps.
Just Flight markets the product, bringing it to market cost effectively and providing friendly and expert product support. The Mosquito, Special Operations Pack and Photo Recon Pack, will appeal to Flight Sim enthusiasts, aviation fanatics with an eye for detail and history buffs alike.
Installation and Documentation
The Mosquito Pack, Upgrade Pack A “Special Ops” and Upgrade Pack B “Recon & Radar” installed without a hitch and created a Program Folder “Just Flight” in the list of programs in Windows Vista.
The first order of business is reading the manual for the FSX version. Just Flight’s 25 page manual includes a well written and entertaining summary of the Mosquito’s development history. It is worth printing and binding for its custom artwork, professional writing and entertaining narrative style. This nice feature is particularly commendable when it seems many producers are skimping on documentation.
Just Flight makes their product affordable by offering three separate packages. The base Mosquito package for $29.99 includes these aircraft and the manual:
B. Mk IV - 'GB-G' DK296 105 Squadron, No. 2 Group, mid-1942.
This is the aircraft which led the famous attack on the
Gestapo headquarters in Oslo, Norway on the 25th September 1942.
Upgrade pack A includes aircraft for special operations missions and additional liveries for only $9.99:
- Mk IV Bulged
bomb bay - AZ-X' DZ637 Series II of Number 627 Squadron, No5
group. A special bulged bomb bay was added to these
aircraft to enable them to carry a 'Cookie' 4,000lb bomb. AZ-X
participated in the famous raid on Gestapo headquarters in Oslo
which was a typical example of the prowess of the Mosquito in low-level
pin-point bombing raids.
Also included are two additional liveries for the base pack and three for the upgrade pack B which are available if, or when, you purchase pack B.
Upgrade pack B includes for another $9.99:
- PR. Mk XVI
- NS777 Photo-reconnaissance machine of 140 Squadron RAF, December
Pack B includes even more liveries for the base package. These repaints should not be left out in your consideration of the project. In fact, the PR Mk XVI flown by the US 8th Air Force was one of my favorites models.
The Mosquito’s visual models are astonishing for their detail, accuracy and correct perspective. Hydraulic lines are modeled on the landing gear. When you fire the guns, the flash actually illuminates the cockpit through the windows in the floor. You can look through the airplane, seeing the cockpit through the bombardier’s windows. Little details like the retracting landing lights are there. Even the special versions have correct access doors for servicing and these doors open, allowing you to view the cameras, bombs, or other specialized equipment inside.
Here too, the level of detail is incredible. The approximately 60 gauges and switches in custom designed housings operate smoothly and do not have any impact on system stability. The navigational tools are historically accurate for the period, meaning you are flying a 300 knot aircraft by spending a lot of time looking out the window and some time trying to home in on radio sources on a Directional Finder.
Forget features like autopilots capable of coupled approaches, they did not exist in 1940 and you will not find them here. What you will find are items like Flare Pistols and Wing Folding Lever to make even the naval version as accurate as it can be.
Aeroplane Heaven uses a product called “Liqui-drive” to create what it calls the most complete cockpits flying in Flight Simulator today. If you like a challenge, try to fly an ADF - NDB approach to a landing.
The Mosquito model includes sound files for the Rolls Royce Merlin V-12 engines. The sound files reinforce the character of the airplane - it is dominated by engines and propellers.
A neat feature of the sound file is that it seems as though the engine and propeller sounds were modeled independently. There are different harmonics and propeller noises throughout the RPM range, just as there would be in a geared engine with constant speed propellers. This reviewer also supposes that the wooden structure would dampen much of the “sheet metal stamping factory” type noise that those seated directly behind a Merlin hear in real life.
British author F.K. Mason describes the Mosquito’s flying qualities by writing, “few would argue that the Mosquito was a ‘pilot’s airplane’ owing to the diverse demands of its original specification, not to mention its accelerated wartime development, it was exceptionally adaptable and, providing its flying and operating limitations were respected and accepted, exhilarating to fly.”
Other authors of the period also mention difficulties flying the Mosquito in real world operations due to a lack of low speed rudder effectiveness in the event of an engine failure during takeoff. These writers state that they accelerated from the unstuck speed of 125 to the 200 mile per hour critical speed needed to maintain control of the aircraft should an engine fail.
Modifications to the latter versions also added weight to the front of the aircraft making it both nose heavy in flight and susceptible to tipping forward with aggressive use of the brakes, which being a pneumatic design with the control mounted to the center yoke, were quirky to begin with.
Since there are more living SR71 Blackbird pilots than Mosquito pilots, I was curious how Aeroplane Heaven could have developed their flight model. Just Flight cites Royal Air Force Licensure and references to the aircraft’s operating manual. Aeroplane Heaven may have taken a little liberty in reaching the Mosquito’s performance specifications while leaving out some of the handling traits that would leave customers frustrated just trying to find their way to the runway. Also, it is imagined that given the wide range of speed, loading and power involved in the Mosquito’s specifications, that this is the best that can be done within Microsoft’s base product.
The Mosquito is easy to fly and not in need of excessive amounts of trim. Just like the real airplane, speed control in the pattern is critical and there is a noticeable difference in the flight characteristics with heavy equipment installed in the nose.
Depth and Replay-ability
If the list of aircraft models and brief summary of features sounds like a lot, it is because there is a lot of product included with your purchase of this Mosquito. This is a product that will provide hours of enjoyment just viewing the features of the various aircraft and even more hours as you learn to fly the aircraft and deploy their unique abilities. For a real challenge, you can use deductive reckoning and notes from some of the historical missions to try and recreate those flights.
Summary / Closing Remarks
Anyone who has spent time building their own models for Flight Simulator, or who has corroborated on a development team, is going to be impressed by the immense amount of work this product represents. Flight Sim fanatics are simply going to love the details and the balance this product provides.
It looks good, flies nice, sounds great and can be used to fly high speed airline type missions for BOAC, maritime patrol, reconnaissance, engage in psychological warfare to demoralize the enemy or simply use for your best aerobatic routine.
Mosquito is highly recommended and is a product that will provide endless hours of interest and fun.
What I Like About The Mosquito
What I Don't Like About The Mosquito
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