Sunday, 2 March 2014

Lancaster bombers to fly together on UK summer tour



Lancaster bombers to fly together on UK summer tour

More Bomber Command commemoration news now, and this one is exciting almost beyond words (well, I'll try anyway)!

The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight has been thrilling airshow crowds and remembrance parades around the country for decades and the undisputed jewel in its crown is the Avro Lancaster bomber PA474.  Joining the Flight in 1973 it has become a much-loved feature; one of only two airworthy examples left in the world it is highly valued in its own right.

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Avro Lancaster Mk X FM213
"Mynarski Memorial"
of the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum
The other Lanc in flying condition - FM213 - performs a similar office for the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum in Ontario, having been rescued from the scrapheap by The Royal Canadian Legion in 1978 (and restored to airworthiness by 1988).  A familiar sight on the North American display circuits the Canadian-built FM213 was, like PA474, completed just too late to see service in World War II - spending 20 years with the RCAF's Maritime Air Command Search & Rescue division.

Canada's Lancaster bomber to cross Atlantic for U.K. tour

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Avro Lancaster B I PA747 "City of Lincoln" of the BBMF
Now in a series of special one-off events FM213 and PA474 are scheduled to meet in the skies of Britain this summer in what is rightly being billed as a "once-in-a-lifetime event".  For the first time in 60 years two Avro Lancasters will fly together over two weeks in August (including, I note, my birthday - hmmnn, now there's an idea...!).

The CWHM will fly its Lancaster, in stages, across the Atlantic to meet up with the BBMF at RAF Coningsby.  That in itself is more than worthy of comment, since a Lancaster has not undertaken an Atlantic crossing since 1975 and we should remember that we are talking about a near 70-year-old machine here!  Just that flight alone will be testament to the aircraft's durability and the hard work of the museum engineers who work strenuously to keep this wonderful aeroplane flyable (the same can be said, of course, for PA474 and the BBMF).

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Avro Lancaster B VII NX611 "Just Jane"
of the Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre
Once FM213 has made it across and is checked over a number of displays and events are planned for that second fortnight in August.  Flypasts with the BBMF will commence on the 14th August with a series of as-yet unspecified shows to follow.  A tour of the country seems to be suggested; hopefully we shall know more nearer the time.  A visit to the taxiing Lanc undergoing restoration in Lincolnshire, perhaps (three of them, albeit on the ground, would surely be a sight to see)?  Hopefully a show near you will see both bombers in the air together.  Furthermore if you live near the Humberside Airport and have £3,500 going spare you can even pay to have a flight in one of the Lancasters (£7,000 for a cockpit seat), which are due to take place on the 18th-20th and 26th-27th August.

All-in-all then this sounds like an absolutely amazing opportunity and a fantastic way to commemorate the numerous martial anniversaries that abound this year (WWI 100th, WWII 75th, Bomber Command etc.).  I very much hope to get a chance to see the two Lancs in formation together some time, somewhere, this August.  Watch and listen to the footage at the top of this post, then try to imagine two (or even three if NX611 is involved!) instead of one - what a beautiful sight (and sound!) that will be!

5 comments:

  1. How exciting, I shall definitely try to get me Dad somewhere where we can see them. He went up in the BBMF Lancaster when he retired from the R.A.F (his last job had been organising what planes went to which airshow and when.) It was a heck of a drive but well worth it such a great day. I do miss not being able to go to all the airshows at Duxford for free! (selfish? moi?)

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  2. That has got to be a wonderful sight. I love those old bombers and there will never be another air plane like them and many of the other old WWII aircraft. It is good some organizations are keeping the rare few left alive and airworthy.

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  3. Oooh, last year the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight was in Trowbridge for the Veterans' Weekend and at Lacock for the big military vehicle gathering there, so hopefully I'll get to see both planes.

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  4. Hmm, I think my comments keep getting eaten...

    Anyway, last year the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight came to both the Veterans' Weekend in Trowbridge and the military vehicles thingy at Lacock, so I'm now hopeful of seeing both planes somewhere in Wiltshire this August.

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