Second World War bomber touches down in Kelowna | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Second World War bomber touches down in Kelowna

One of the last one of the last de Havilland Mosquitos touched down in Kelowna, June 30, 2022.

A Second World War-era bomber landed safety in the Central Okanagan this morning to join KF Aerospace’s growing museum of historic airplanes.

KF Aerospace announced it acquired one of the last de Havilland Mosquitos for its Centre for Excellence, a state-of-the-art aviation museum set to open later this year. Delays due to a mechanical issue caused the plane’s landing to be pushed from D-Day, June 6, to this morning, June 30.

Stan Biggs, a Kelowna resident who saw the plane land, said his uncle Tom Burdge, from the U.K., fought and flew a Mosquito during the war as part of the British Royal Air Force’s Banff 248 Squadron.

Burdge nearly lost his life in the victory fly-over of London in 1946 after the war ended.

One of the last one of the last de Havilland Mosquitos touched down in Kelowna, June 30, 2022.
One of the last one of the last de Havilland Mosquitos touched down in Kelowna, June 30, 2022.

“He was telling me there were 25,000 soldiers on the ground and 2,000 aircraft and he was part of a group of 14 Mosquitos,” Biggs said. As they were flying over Buckingham Palace, his uncle's radio died, so he climbed through the cloud barrier and flew in-between other planes at 400 miles an hour.

“He said five feet up or down, he would’ve been a dead man.”

Biggs called it an “incredible” experience to see the Mosquito land in Kelowna, having heard many stories about the planes through his family. His uncle, now 99, was unable to make the trip from Victoria.

“The emotions of it all, I picked it all up over the years,” he said, adding his uncle was thrilled to hear the plane landed in the Okanagan.

FILE - de Havilland Mosquitos
FILE - de Havilland Mosquitos
Image Credit: KF Areospace

Across European, Mediterranean and Italian theatres of war, the Mosquito proved extremely versatile. It served as a bomber, fighter, night-fighter, photo reconnaissance plane and even provided wartime cargo and passenger connections through enemy territory. A total of 7,781 aircraft were built, according to the aircraft company.

READ MORE: Second World War-era Mosquito bomber flying into Okanagan

Pilot Mike Spalding, who flew the plane from the Lower Mainland, flies for the Military Aviation Museum in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

“It was beautiful scenery to get here… it’s a great airplane and it was my first time flying this airplane… it did a great job,” he said.

Flying these planes keeps history alive and helps remind people of what happened during the Second World War, he said.

D’Arcy Barker, KF heritage maintenance chief engineer, said the plane won’t see a lot of air time this year as training needs to be conducted for the pilot and maintenance staff.

“I expect next year we’ll have more than one airshow and some other appearances. It will take us time to learn the aircraft and its capabilities. It will fly on its own schedule as old aircraft tend to do,” he said.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Carli Berry or call 250-864-7494 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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