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  • Mosquito usurps the Lancaster.

    Dear All,

    What if, after the publication of the Butt report in August 1941 into the accuracy and effectiveness of the RAF's Bomber Command (it transpired that only a third of the crews dispatched to targets at night got to within 5 miles of the objective while the figure fell to a woeful tenth of dispatched aircraft against targets in the strongly defended Ruhr valley), Winston Churchill forced Charles Portal and the Air Staff to change tactics and methods?

    Portal was a dedicated advocate of Strategic Bombing and would have fought tooth and nail against any change but so far, despite the bravery and best efforts of the crews and the losses they sustained, Bomber Command wasn't achieving much.

    So, Churchill has a change of heart and forces a change of direction, and the Mosquito is chosen as the main bomber for Bomber Command and the RAF generally. What effect would this have on the Bombing War? (By the way, this was an option supported by the likes of Professor John Ellis of the Royal Aircraft Establishment, Farnborough and supported by the aviation historian Jon Lake who wrote the 'Lancaster Squadron' series of books for Osprey, amongst others). The Mossie could carry a 4,000 pound bomb load all the way to Berlin faster than a Spitfire and (it is certain) with far fewer losses (which compares very well to the B-17 of the USAAF and while not as heavy as the loads carried by the Lancaster and Halifax, the smaller bomb loads would be all the more effective as they would be delivered on target).

    So, if such a policy was implemented, how do you think it would have effected the course of the war? How would the Luftwaffe counter swarms of Mosquito's flying day and night? How would the RAF deploy their heavier brethren (because I reckon the Lancaster would still be introduced, just not in the same numbers)? Who would be put in charge of Bomber Command, would Harris still be selected (he was after all convinced of the value of Area Bombing and the 'De-housing' of civilians who contributed to the German war effort and he hated what he called 'Panacea' targets)? Would a Royal Air Force with such a large number of Mosquito's be effective (it would certainly be more of a Tactical rather than a Strategic force)?

    Any ideas? A good idea or a non starter?
    HONNEUR ET FIDÉLITÉ

    "Believe me, nothing except a battle lost can be half so melancholy as a battle won." - Duke of Wellington at Waterloo.

  • #2
    The Impertinence. How dare you put forward such a sensible solution. It's just not cricket old boy!
    "It's like shooting rats in a barrel."
    "You'll be in a barrel if you don't watch out for the fighters!"

    "Talking about airplanes is a very pleasant mental disease."
    — Sergei(son of Igor) Sikorsky, 'AOPA Pilot' magazine February 2003.

    Comment


    • #3
      Leaving aside 'if' this could have happened..

      The GAF will be forced to develop aircraft and antiair artillery that can deal with a high speed bomber. Perhaps the Me262 development program would not be be sidetracked by a bomber variant. That wont solve any of the jet engine problems of the Germans, but it could get jet powered interceptors aloft sooner. That might accelerate British and US jet engine development as well. I'd expect a lighter faster piston engine interceptor might emerge for the GAF as well. The Fw190 was a excellent general purpose aircraft, but not ideal for going after the Mosquito. So perhaps a ultra fast/climbing short ranged point interceptor would join the GAF inventory.

      Were the Mosquito sucessfull then the USAAF would pay more attention to high speed bombers as well. Perhaps building Mosquitos as it did British originated Liberty ships or LST. Other USAAF high speed bomber programs may have been pushed further along as well. The B26 Marauder was not quite in the same class as the Mosquito, but its potiential as a high speed bomber was never pursued after its initial development. Ditto for the P38.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Dogsbody67 View Post

        Any ideas? A good idea or a non starter?
        Good idea .

        I would suggest it may be the actual fact that bombing was taking place at all that was the real headache for the Germans, not where the Lancaster bombs were actually hitting. I believe that after the Russian Front, the Germans spent more resources on combating enemy bombers than any other area.

        Personally I think it would have been a great idea, if introduced, helping to allieviate manpower shortages, reducing casaulties and being more effective.
        How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic: http://grist.org/series/skeptics/
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        • #5
          So perhaps a ultra fast/climbing short ranged point interceptor would join the GAF inventory.
          Something like the ME-163, but perhaps with a slightly more useful range? Do you reckon the TA-152 would have come into service all the quicker (or at least something like it)? I think the Mossie could have handled those two, but you never know what else would have popped up, both on the Allied and Axis sides as a result of this scenario.

          (edit)
          On the subject of short range interceptors - I forgot about the poor old Ba-349 Natter, but again, I don't know how much of a threat they would be to the De Havilland - not much of a one I would guess, being not manoeuvrable enough.



          Would this have been a familiar site in Germany had the Mosquito ruled her skies?
          Last edited by Dogsbody67; 21 Nov 09, 12:45.
          HONNEUR ET FIDÉLITÉ

          "Believe me, nothing except a battle lost can be half so melancholy as a battle won." - Duke of Wellington at Waterloo.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Dogsbody67 View Post
            Something like the ME-163, but perhaps with a slightly more useful range? Do you reckon the TA-152 would have come into service all the quicker (or at least something like it)? I think the Mossie could have handled those two, but you never know what else would have popped up, both on the Allied and Axis sides as a result of this scenario.
            Andrew...let's not get too carried away here.

            While it's a fine machine, the Mossies (especially the ones optimized for the bombing role) are no match for a Ta 152. They're about 80-100kts TAS (read up on that definition) slower (at all altitudes) and the bomber versions can't even shoot back. The stripped down reece models (PR's) have better speed than the bombers but they still won't outrun a Ta with MW50 and GM1. The Jumo 213 was a very serious motor...thank god it never found a way into favor for a Fuhrer Befel...(until it was way too late)

            FWIW, the Luftwaffe had a dedicated unit to deal with the Mosquito "problem"...they operated a hot-rodded version of the Bf 109G and were actually a lot more successful at their tasks than "popular" history cares to admit.

            In the past, I've met a number of vet's who crewed the machine we're talking about here; none of them made any great shakes about how their machine was "better". Unanimously it was more a statement to the effect of "I beat the odds...let's just leave it at that". A couple of the RCAF guys actually took the tack that all the "Mosquito" hype was little more than "a good story for the papers"...that leads me to the following:

            We almost tend to romanticize this stuff to the point where the fact that young men were dying very horrible deaths becomes obscured in all the technical jargon; and frankly? That's wrong...on so many levels.

            Also...? The Me 163B-1 was anything but a viable weapons system against an opponent that could maneuver...the Ba 349? desperation exemplified. Development money spent on a SAM/proximity fuse, starting when the USAAF came on the scene, might have prolonged the agony a little...

            I await the legions of Mosquito fans...and their fervent (fervid?) responses; certain to be supported by numerous citations of all of the popularly published performance figures ...whatever. I've seen the scans of the period Farnborough data; they tell a much different story.

            Cheers, Ron
            48 trips 'round the sun on this sh*tball we call home...and still learning...
            __________________________________________________ __________________

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            • #7
              Originally posted by iron View Post
              Andrew...let's not get too carried away here.


              I await the legions of Mosquito fans...and their fervent (fervid?) responses; certain to be supported by numerous citations of all of the popularly published performance figures ...whatever. I've seen the scans of the period Farnborough data; they tell a much different story.

              Cheers, Ron
              I think you are being far too hard on the Mosquito. Here is a little snippet of information "A Mosquito B.IX also holds the record for the most combat missions flown by an Allied bomber in the Second World War. LR503, known as "F for Freddie" because of its squadron code letters, GB*F, first served with 109 and subsequently 105 Squadron of the RAF. It flew 213 sorties during the war, only to crash at Calgary airport during the 8th Victory Loan Bond Drive on 10 May 1945, two days after VE Day, killing both the pilot, Flt. Lt. Maurice Briggs, DSO, DFC, DFM and navigator Fl. Off. John Baker, DFC and Bar." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/De_Havilland_Mosquito Even though this is only one instance, I don't imagine any 4 engined bomber coming even anywhere near this. This source also provides in some detail the "tooing & froing" between the Air Ministry and deHavilland concerning the reasons why heavy bombers received priority. Stanley Baldwin, and his maxim "the bomber will always get through" have a lot to answer for.

              My quick case for the Mosquito vs Heavy Bomber(Stirling, Halifax, Lancaster, B17/24)
              "Mosquito - the alternative strategic bomber
              Bomber command used the De Havilland Mosquito to improve the very poor accuracy of the heavy bombers and to reduce their losses, but it refused to consider the alternative, which was finally adopted only after World War 2 and dominates modern air power since. The alternative was to replace the big and slow and expensive heavy bombers with the Mosquito as Bomber command's main bomber. The points in favor of this alternative were also clearly presented by group commander Bennett, as a comparison between the Mosquito and the Lancaster, which was the best British heavy bomber:

              * Mosquito carries to Berlin half the bomb load carried by a Lancaster, but...
              * Mosquito loss rate is just 1/10 of Lancasters' loss rate
              * Mosquito costs a third of the cost of a Lancaster
              * Mosquito has a crew of two, compared to a Lancaster's crew of seven
              * Mosquito was a proven precision day bomber and the Lancaster was not.

              Bennett added that any way you do the math with those data, "It's quite clear that the value of the Mosquito to the war effort is significantly greater than that of any other aircraft in the history of aviation". In the German side, Erhard Milch, the deputy head of the Luftwaffe, said about the Mosquito "I fear that one day the British will start attacking with masses of this aircraft". But in one of the greatest allied mistakes in World War 2, bomber command persisted with its heavy bombers, and less than 1/4 of the Mosquitoes produced were of bomber types.

              Bomber command dropped a total of 1.2 million tons of bombs in World War 2. Given the above 1% hit precision statistic, it actually means dropping just 12,000 tons of bombs on real strategic targets. Since accuracy was later improved thanks to Mosquito Pathfinders, let's assume for a moment that the amount of bombs which hit strategic targets was 50% higher. A quick calculation shows that a force of only 1000 Mosquito bombers of the 7781 Mosquitoes produced, could drop this amount on the same targets with high precision in just ten bombing missions each, at a fraction of the cost in blood, material resources, and time. This demonstrates the tremendous potential lost by using most of the Mosquitoes for every possible mission other than as a main strategic day and night precision bomber. The entire course of World War 2 could be drastically different. The Mosquito bomber enabled the British bomber command to do exactly what it wanted to do, and destroy the entire German military industry in a precision bombing campaign even before American B-17s and B-24s began their costly day bombing campaign over Germany." http://www.2worldwar2.com/mosquito-2.htm

              I will add a few observations to the above.
              The Mosquito, being a much smaller aircraft, will need much smaller runways/hangers/repair facilities. Massive investment was made in airfield construction in the UK in WW2. IIRC 5% of UK land was occupied by a US airbase. Any reduction in the need for concrete & airfield construction means that these resources could have been used elsewhere. The same aircraft could also be used for day and night bombing. The only limitation to true "round the clock" operations would be the weather.
              Finally, a Ta 152(or similar) has difficulty being in more than 2 places at once. A "swarm" of Mosquitoes would have given the Luftwaffe insurmountable problems much earlier and to a much greater extent than what actually happened. Certainly there would still be a need for heavy bombers to deliver really large bombs, or over longer ranges, but overall I consider Andrew's position has merit.

              P.S. Greater use/earlier production priority for the Mossie may have stopped Harris from preventing the use of 4 engined VLR aircraft for anti submarine patrols. Use of more of such aircraft earlier would have had a very positive effect on the Battle of the Atlantic.
              Last edited by At ease; 21 Nov 09, 22:47.
              "It's like shooting rats in a barrel."
              "You'll be in a barrel if you don't watch out for the fighters!"

              "Talking about airplanes is a very pleasant mental disease."
              — Sergei(son of Igor) Sikorsky, 'AOPA Pilot' magazine February 2003.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by iron View Post
                Andrew...let's not get too carried away here.

                While it's a fine machine, the Mossies (especially the ones optimized for the bombing role) are no match for a Ta 152. They're about 80-100kts TAS (read up on that definition) slower (at all altitudes) and the bomber versions can't even shoot back. The stripped down reece models (PR's) have better speed than the bombers but they still won't outrun a Ta with MW50 and GM1. The Jumo 213 was a very serious motor...thank god it never found a way into favor for a Fuhrer Befel...(until it was way too late)

                FWIW, the Luftwaffe had a dedicated unit to deal with the Mosquito "problem"...they operated a hot-rodded version of the Bf 109G and were actually a lot more successful at their tasks than "popular" history cares to admit.

                In the past, I've met a number of vet's who crewed the machine we're talking about here; none of them made any great shakes about how their machine was "better". Unanimously it was more a statement to the effect of "I beat the odds...let's just leave it at that". A couple of the RCAF guys actually took the tack that all the "Mosquito" hype was little more than "a good story for the papers"...that leads me to the following:

                We almost tend to romanticize this stuff to the point where the fact that young men were dying very horrible deaths becomes obscured in all the technical jargon; and frankly? That's wrong...on so many levels.

                Also...? The Me 163B-1 was anything but a viable weapons system against an opponent that could maneuver...the Ba 349? desperation exemplified. Development money spent on a SAM/proximity fuse, starting when the USAAF came on the scene, might have prolonged the agony a little...

                I await the legions of Mosquito fans...and their fervent (fervid?) responses; certain to be supported by numerous citations of all of the popularly published performance figures ...whatever. I've seen the scans of the period Farnborough data; they tell a much different story.

                Cheers, Ron
                Wotcha Ron.

                I must be honest here. I like the Mossie very much indeed but I have no strong axe to grind in its favour.

                That said, I reckon the scenario I painted would have been a significant challenge to the Luftwaffe (including the TA-152, which in any case wasn't available for deployment when the Mosquito was introduced). If there were 'swarms' (my description) of the De Havilland's penetrating German airspace, then Fat Herman would have needed to put a lot more specialized interceptors in place to counter the multitude of Mosquito bombers/fighter-bombers/recce missions flown by the RAF, not just the odd photo reconnaisance bird. Would this have been possible, given the Luftwaffe's acknowledged lack of forward planning and lack of raw materials with which to manufacture specialised engines and air frames? Numbers are what counted for the Germans, especially once they got embroiled on the Eastern Front.

                Also, from an RAF point of view, the fact that they would have to train significantly fewer air crew (W/T operators, Flight Engineers, Air Gunners) to make squadrons operational should also have paid dividends (Mossies having a crew of 2 as opposed to the 7 for the Lancaster/Halifax//Stirling). Remember too the awful losses suffered by crews of the four engined bombers (in the last raids of the period known as The Battle of Berlin against 'The Big City' and Nuremburg, 180 aircraft were lost. In February '44, 1,529 airmen were killed and March '44 was even worse with 1,880). Think of the numbers of newly trained aircrew which would have been available for new squadrons instead of having to feed them straight into the mincing machine Harris was in charge of. Think of the savings that could have been made for the war effort, savings that could have been more usefully deployed elsewhere. More importantly (to acknowledge you point, which goes without saying), think of the numbers of lives saved in Bomber Command.

                The scenario I painted is only a 'what if' and in no way do I detract from the proud service record and achievements of the crews of Bomber Command. They flew the hardest of missions against awful odds and what is more, the aircrew were all volunteers. They were the cream of their generation.
                Last edited by Dogsbody67; 22 Nov 09, 14:42.
                HONNEUR ET FIDÉLITÉ

                "Believe me, nothing except a battle lost can be half so melancholy as a battle won." - Duke of Wellington at Waterloo.

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                • #9
                  I like the TA-152 a lot, but its too little too late. It was only introduced in Jan 45 while the Mossie was there in 41, and would not have stopped the Mossie in time to be an effective counter.

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                  Global Warming & Climate Change Myths: https://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php

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                  • #10
                    Would a Royal Air Force with such a large number of Mosquito's be effective (it would certainly be more of a Tactical rather than a Strategic force)?
                    If this as the case,Briton would not need the American air force at all.with the Mosquito,spitfire would have been 100% awsome than what she was (and spitfire was already awsome)
                    Don't understand why the Brits never used the mosqutio and spitfire more often as a pair,Mossquito proved herself in many ways but never used as much often as the spit.

                    (it would certainly be more of a Tactical rather than a Strategic force)?
                    Effective,tactiacal and Strategic all rolled into one!
                    What German aircraft can kill a mossie? plus antic aircraft guns,Mossie can outwit the guns and destroy more targets,out wit any german aircraft,it a shame briton never thought the mossie wa snot good enough!

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                    • #11
                      I couldn't see the comparison the DH Mosquito was built for fast in and out so maybe you carry 4000bs of bombs. The Avro Lancaster could carry up to 22,000 lbs (A tallboy) normal would have been in the 8500 to 14000 lb range .
                      Look at the different jobs A Mosquito could bomb, be PR a/c, it copuld fight be a hi speed transport between UK & Sweden.
                      A Lancaster was an all out killing machine . Bomber command was not that interested in precsion bombing as oppossed to ruining German morale and hopefullyn their will to war. The USAAF was & still is(USAF) interested in getting bombs on target x in close aiming point . The RAF was intereste in getting it over a target area yes, but precesion not a hi priority. Though when they put their minds to it they were good, there was an aero engine factory in France and the RAF told the Underground get the workers in the canteen and we will hit all buildings except that one, and it worked. That was done with the heavies Lancasters, Halifaxs etc.
                      The raid on the Amiens Jail , Shell house in Copenhagen which called for precise bombing were carried out by Mosquito units.

                      "To all who serve , have or will serve , Thank You"

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by strathnaver View Post
                        I couldn't see the comparison the DH Mosquito was built for fast in and out so maybe you carry 4000bs of bombs. The Avro Lancaster could carry up to 22,000 lbs (A tallboy) normal would have been in the 8500 to 14000 lb range .
                        Look at the different jobs A Mosquito could bomb, be PR a/c, it copuld fight be a hi speed transport between UK & Sweden.
                        A Lancaster was an all out killing machine . Bomber command was not that interested in precsion bombing as oppossed to ruining German morale and hopefullyn their will to war. The USAAF was & still is(USAF) interested in getting bombs on target x in close aiming point . The RAF was intereste in getting it over a target area yes, but precesion not a hi priority. Though when they put their minds to it they were good, there was an aero engine factory in France and the RAF told the Underground get the workers in the canteen and we will hit all buildings except that one, and it worked. That was done with the heavies Lancasters, Halifaxs etc.
                        The raid on the Amiens Jail , Shell house in Copenhagen which called for precise bombing were carried out by Mosquito units.
                        The USAAF was in theory commited to a Precision Bombing doctrine, but let us not get too carried away with this phrase. There wasn't very much in the Precision Bombing line about the B-29 fire raids to Japan and as for Europe, then yes, they were keen to show the RAF how to do things and struggled manfully in the process (and before anybody starts - I am NOT taking anything away from the bravery, commitment and professionalism of the men of the USAAF in either Theatre), but the fact is that, especially towards the final stages of the war in Europe, the USAAF was in practice if not in theory, bombing in a style similar to the RAF. Think too about operations such as Operation Clarion launched in Feb '45 in which all Allied Air Forces participated in which aircraft roved all over the battlefield targeting transport related objectives which included a fair number of horse and carts driven by civillians. If it had wheels it was a target, if it floated it was a target.
                        HONNEUR ET FIDÉLITÉ

                        "Believe me, nothing except a battle lost can be half so melancholy as a battle won." - Duke of Wellington at Waterloo.

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                        • #13
                          I like this idea! Instead of 300 Landcasters in the dead of night, scattering bombs to the winds, you have the same 300 Mosquitoes able to place their ordinance directly on target! More bang for the buck! (Sorry, I couldn't resist).

                          They would also be less vulnerable to German fighter intercept and flack. On top of that, they could have additional fighter versions along for escort.

                          Precision strategic bombing is a myth! The USAAF was somewhat better at hitting targets, but it was still a shotgun method and hope for the best. Even now, you don't find B-52's conducting air strikes anywhere. You have FB's or even the B-2 dropping guided weapons as often as not. Dumb bombs are out!

                          Instead of bombing the entire city in an effort to hit a rail yard, you put even more bombs into the yard, keeping it out of action for longer, disrupting the commuting of workers to factories longer, reducing output!

                          I disagree that you'd have no use for the USAAF; you would just have something different from the B-17 & B-24 heavies. There would still be 'round the clock bombing of critical targets, but with better military results and fewer civilian casualties. Civilian casualties are a waste of ordinance!

                          It means putting the Ruhr off until after the invasion, but if you can utterly paralyze everything west of the Rhine and still gain air superiority it could have worked! IMHO!

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by bubblehead View Post
                            I like this idea! Instead of 300 Landcasters in the dead of night, scattering bombs to the winds, you have the same 300 Mosquitoes able to place their ordinance directly on target! More bang for the buck! (Sorry, I couldn't resist).

                            They would also be less vulnerable to German fighter intercept and flack. On top of that, they could have additional fighter versions along for escort.

                            Precision strategic bombing is a myth! The USAAF was somewhat better at hitting targets, but it was still a shotgun method and hope for the best. Even now, you don't find B-52's conducting air strikes anywhere. You have FB's or even the B-2 dropping guided weapons as often as not. Dumb bombs are out!

                            Instead of bombing the entire city in an effort to hit a rail yard, you put even more bombs into the yard, keeping it out of action for longer, disrupting the commuting of workers to factories longer, reducing output!

                            I disagree that you'd have no use for the USAAF; you would just have something different from the B-17 & B-24 heavies. There would still be 'round the clock bombing of critical targets, but with better military results and fewer civilian casualties. Civilian casualties are a waste of ordinance!

                            It means putting the Ruhr off until after the invasion, but if you can utterly paralyze everything west of the Rhine and still gain air superiority it could have worked! IMHO!
                            Spot on about the B-17's/B-24's/Lancaster/Halifax. If the Mosquito and other similar types HAD come to the fore, the Heavies would still be needed, just not on the same scale. There are some things a Mossie couldn't do (dropping a Tallboy on the Tirpitz, smashing a dam, long range anti-submarine duties etc).

                            I wonder who would have commanded a Bomber Command strong in Mosquitos? Probably not Harris as he was very pro Area Bombing - not for him 'Panacea' targets such as Ball Bearing factories, Harris was fixated on laying waste as many German towns and cities as possible.

                            That said, he was doing the best he could as he saw things but both he and the men of his command were poorly treated after the war.
                            HONNEUR ET FIDÉLITÉ

                            "Believe me, nothing except a battle lost can be half so melancholy as a battle won." - Duke of Wellington at Waterloo.

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                            • #15
                              Senior US officials had access to knowledge about the Mosquito early in its development process.
                              "* General Henry "Hap" Arnold, commander of the United States Army Air Forces, witnessed a demonstration of the Mosquito on 20 April 1941 as a guest of Lord Beaverbrook. Geoffrey de Havilland JR was in prime form that day, screaming the machine low over the ground and performing sharp maneuvers with one engine feathered. Arnold was extremely impressed, and returned to the US with engineering drawings of the machine.

                              There matters more or less stood with the Yanks until late 1942, when a B.IV Mosquito was handed over to Colonel Elliot Roosevelt, the American President's son and commander of a USAAF reconnaissance squadron in North Africa, equipped with Lockheed F-4 Lightning reconnaissance aircraft. The B.IV was faster and had much longer range than the Lockheeds, and Elliot Roosevelt began to press for adopting the British machine." http://www.vectorsite.net/avmoss_2.html#m8
                              It seems strange that the Mosquito was not used more extensively by the US.
                              "It's like shooting rats in a barrel."
                              "You'll be in a barrel if you don't watch out for the fighters!"

                              "Talking about airplanes is a very pleasant mental disease."
                              — Sergei(son of Igor) Sikorsky, 'AOPA Pilot' magazine February 2003.

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