Saturday 5 January 2013

Pensioners restore rare WWII bomber

Pensioners restore rare WWII bomber

While preparations continue for the excavation and repatriation of a number of Spitfires, which may eventually lead to a doubling of airworthy examples, in a small corner of Lincolnshire work continues on increasing the flyable examples of another famous Second World War aircraft - the Avro Lancaster bomber.

Currently only two of the surviving 17 Lancaster airframes are airworthy.  One is of course PA474 City of Lincoln - better known as the mainstay of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight  - the other is owned and operated by a museum in Canada.  More are in the process of being restored at various locations around the world - in France, Canada and the U.S.A.  Looking most likely to make it back into the air first though is NX611 Just Jane, which has been the star attraction at the Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre since it was opened in 1988.  The story of how the museum came in to being and how the Lanc was obtained is explained briefly in the accompanying B.B.C. article and in greater detail here.

Lancaster bomber to fly as tribute to a lost brother

Suffice to say it has obviously been a labour of love for the two owner brothers - who must have been moved in ways we can only imagine to set the whole thing up - and the team who have spent the last 25 years getting Just Jane back to near-original condition.  So close are they to fulfilling their dream that they can already offer taxi runs to paying customers but now thanks to donations they have been able to purchase four "new" Merlin engines that should, all things being well, allow the aircraft to be deemed officially airworthy!

With Just Jane on the brink of returning to the skies and 30-odd Spitfires about to be dug out of the Burmese soil 2013 is shaping up to be an extraordinary year for these special aircraft.  Whether there will be two Lancs in the air in time for the 70th anniversary of the famous "Dam Busters" raid in May remains to be seen but that these aircraft will get the chance to fly again and continue to thrill and educate new generations is wonderful news indeed.


  1. I was reading an article about the Burma ones in The Times today, very interesting.

  2. It is great that there are still people out there preserving and flying these wonderful aircraft.


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