A newly-discovered hoard of secret Second World War aircraft technical drawings will be used by enthusiasts to rebuild and launch a Mosquito plane into the skies above Britain.
More than 20,000 wartime Mosquito engineering drawings and diagrams have been found in the corner of a wartime factory just days before bulldozers were due to flattening it.
The twin-engine plane was used for wartime training, then by the RNZAF, and later was believed to have been used for spy missions by the CIA. It will be one of just three of its kind in the world still flying when completed.
It will be rolled out by the New Zealand Warbirds Association for public display next Sunday at Ardmore.
Workers have already spent 75,000 hours on restoring the wooden plane – the equivalent of more than eight and a half years. The rare, restored examples of the plane can fetch up to $10 million on the international market.
Known as the ”Mossie” or the ”Wooden Wonder” – the twin-engine de Havilland Mosquito was first built in 1941 as a fighter-bomber and also served as a pathfinder and for maritime and photo reconnaissance.
The aircraft restored in Auckland was built in early 1945, used for training in Britain and then flown by the RNZAF’s No. 75 Squadron after the war.
It was sold to new owners in the United States in the 1950s where Warbirds says it may have been used for intelligence-gathering by the CIA in South America.
By 1970 it was left abandoned and then bought by a private collector in the US but the scope of the work proved too much, and it was never fully completed.
The aircraft was again left to deteriorate at an airfield near Los Angeles before Auckland plane restoration company Avspecs in 2014 tracked it down for a client, oil billionaire Rod Lewis of San Antonio, Texas. Forbes puts his fortune at about $1.9 billion.