As it always seems, man turned back to wood. Aircraft designer Geoffrey de Havilland, who had been building aeroplanes since his youth in 1910 and so had experience with wood in flight, submitted a design to the British Air Ministry for a prototype light bomber that incredibly had more speed than the famous all-metal Supermarine Spitfire fighters that had won the Battle of Britain. Because of its light weight and handling characteristics, the prototype was eventually named the "Mosquito", and after proving its potential in numerous trials, de Havilland won a contract and began production.
|Mosquito B Mk IV serial DK338 before delivery to 105 Squadron - this aircraft was used on several of 105 Squadron's low-altitude daylight bombing operations during 1943. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/De_Havilland_Mosquito|
But the attribute that makes the Mosquito live on in the hearts of many old-timers in the United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada was its construction of wood. With strips of Ecuadorian balsawood sandwiched between 7/16" 3-plys of Canadian birch, the shell of the Mosquito proved strong enough for extensive use in the war, and in the years after. The following Australian news reel video shows the manufacturing technique, and in it we see that wood and glue, when mixed properly and with ingenuity and enthusiasm, can produce remarkable man-made machines.
A couple of interesting facts: the Mosquito is a forerunner of the de Havilland "Dash" series of commuter planes that I would guess every frequent flyer has boarded at one time or another. And for you classic movie buffs, the Mosquito's designer Geoff de Havilland was a paternal cousin of the lovely and charming actress Olivia de Havilland, who won our hearts in movies such as Captain Blood, The Adventures of Robin Hood, and Gone With the Wind.
A fitting connection, as the de Havilland Mosquito bombers were also gone with the wind before opposing pilots could get them in their sights. And all thanks to the fact that the British Air Ministers decided to Go Wood.