The de Havilland Mosquito, one of the most successful aircraft of World War Two, had an airframe composed entirely of wood. Wood!? In World War Two? As odd as it seems the answer is 'yes'. The fuselage of the Mosquito was made of balsa wood pressed between two layers of cedar plywood. The rest of the airframe was made of spruce, with plywood covering. The wing was built in one piece, and attached to the lower side of the fuselage structure. The aircraft wasn't very big: 41 feet long with a wingspan of 54 feet.
The Mosquito annoyed the Germans to no end. In 1943, said Reichsmarshal Göring, the drug-addicted, foul toad of a man who was C-in-C of the Luftwaffe: "It makes me furious when I see the Mosquito. I turn green and yellow with envy.
The aircraft was the brainchild of Geoffrey de Havilland, the design and industrial genius behind the de Havilland Aircraft Company in Great Britain. He was a first cousin to actresses Olivia de Havilland and Joan Fontaine - who were sisters. Their father and Geoffrey's father were half-brothers.
By comparison, the US F-16 Falcon fighter jet, which is on active operations in the US and 28 other countries around the world has a a top speed of 1,500 mph, (2,410 km/h) at high altitude, its maximum altitude being 60,000 feet (18,000 m).
During his long life - 1882 to 1965 [45 years ago as of May 21st] - he died at age 82 and had continued to fly until he was 70, Geoffrey de Havilland set many records, invented many things, lived large but he will ever be remembered for the incredible de Havilland Mosquito which was so important to Allied victory. I wish I could have met him once.