Ex-RNZAF de Havilland Mosquito NZ2308 First Engine Runs in New Zealand

Ex-RNZAF de Havilland DH98 Mosquito NZ2308 runs her engines for the first time in decades

DH Mosquito T.43 NZ2308/ZK-PWL about to start its two Rolls-Royce Merlins for the first time in nearly 70 years. [Screenshot from Avspecs Ltd video on Facebook]
DH Mosquito T.43 NZ2308/ZK-PWL about to start its two Rolls-Royce Merlins for the first time in nearly 70 years. [Screenshot from Avspecs Ltd video on Facebook]
Aircorps Art Dec 2019


The ex-RNZAF de Havilland DH98 Mosquito NZ2308, under long-term rebuild at Avspecs Ltd at Ardmore Airport, Auckland, New Zealand, edged a step closer to flight today. Maintenance staff fueled her tanks for the first time on February 23rd, 2024 and then conducted the aircraft’s first engine runs in almost 70 years. As is common with all airworthy restorations, it usually takes a fair bit of time from the first engine runs to the first flights, but it is a major milestone on NZ2308’s journey back into the air. However, it seems likely that we can now measure the time to that happy day in weeks, rather than months, or years.

Exciting Times! The AvSpecs team fired up NZ2308s Rolls Royce Merlin’s for the first time! Screenshot from AVspecs video
Exciting times as the Avcpecs team fired up NZ2308’s Rolls-Royce Merlin’s for the first time! [Screenshot from Avspecs Ltd video on Facebook]

On Sunday, February 19th, 2024 (as reported by Vintage Aviation News) Warbirds Over Wanaka International Airshow announced that one of the world’s most iconic WWII fighter-bomber aircraft will take part in its Easter 2024 airshow. Mosquito NZ2308 is now weeks away from the end of a fifteen-year restoration in Auckland and the American owners have generously agreed to allow the aircraft to fly at the Southern Hemisphere’s largest warbirds airshow before it is dismantled and shipped to its new home in the US.

An overview of the Mosquito in the Avspecs hangar.
An overview of the Mosquito in the Avspecs hangar. [Photo via Warbirds Over Wanaka]

The history of this Mosquito T.43 was detailed in a report by Dave Homewood for Vintage Aviation News late last year, but in brief it was originally built in Australia for the RAAF and later sold to the RNZAF where it served with 75 Squadron as NZ2308/YC-Z, these markings now replicated on the restored aircraft. In recognition of the late Glyn Powell, the mastermind behind the New Zealand Mosquito restoration projects which had their genesis in NZ2308 – Powell’s own personal project – the aircraft now has the civil registration ZK-PWL.

NZ2308 flying with 75 Squadron in the early 1950s
An air-to-air photo of NZ2308 flying with 75 Squadron RNZAF in the early 1950s. [Photo via the Air Force Museum of New Zealand.]

The aircraft will be test-flown at Ardmore and then displayed at Wanaka by accomplished American pilot Steve Hinton. Steve, a former Reno air race champion, has flown numerous warbird types including the last Mosquito from the Avspecs’ workshop (Charles Somers’ FB.VI NZ2384/N474PZ), and is currently President of the Planes of Fame Museum at Chino in California.

4 Comments

  1. This is quite an achievement. Definitely heartfelt.Very moving 🥹. I’m looking forward to the display (flight). I think you guys are incredibly talented. You have done a magnificent job on the restoration work. Congratulations! 🏆💪

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