Historic Lancasters' tandem flight takes place in Lincolnshire
Well here I am again, having survived a second week at the Temple of Mammon (I'd love to write this blog as a full-time job but would struggle to make it pay, I'm afraid!), with the exciting vintage news of the moment - the arrival of the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum's Avro Lancaster in Britain! The only other airworthy example in the world after the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight's City Of Lincoln, C-GVRA Vera (or FM213, the Mynarski Memorial Lancaster) has joined its sister in the UK for a month-long series of displays - the first time two Lancasters will have been in the air together for over 50 years.
As reported earlier in the year Vera was flown across the Atlantic Ocean in stages before landing at RAF Coningsby, the home of the BBMF and its Lanc. Having undergone various post-flight checks and practice formations, it has now begun being displayed around the country in the company of the British example
Following a departure display for the press at Coningsby (with the planned flyover of Lincoln Cathedral on the 13th sadly postponed because of bad weather) the Lancs spent this weekend at Airbourne, the Eastbourne International Airshow in Sussex, plus several other displays around the south-east. Over the next month they will appear at various events around the country, including Duxford, Shoreham and Goodwood - plus two special invitation-only events at Humberside International Airport in Kirmington, Lincolnshire. I'm also delighted to note that, as I'd hoped, the pair will go to the Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre where a third powered Lancaster - Just Jane - is based and perform a fly-past while Jane does a taxi run. What an image that will be, I'm sure!
A full list of the planned displays is available on the CWHM's website - I hope there's one near you? Clacton's probably my nearest, although it's on a weekday so I'm unlikely to make it ;(. Perhaps Duxford, we shall have to see. Or I could just camp out in my parents' garden since the flippin' things flew over them yesterday(!), no doubt on the way back from one of the Kent shows.
At any rate, the press is rightly making a big thing out of this once-in-a-lifetime event and there is bound to be more coverage as the month goes on. It really is quite an amazing sight to see these two four-engined monsters in the air together, made all the more poignant by the thought of how much they represent - the 125,000 pilots who flew in RAF Bomber Command during World War Two and the 55,000 who did not return, plus the 7,300 Avro Lancasters that were built between 1942 and 1945 of which only 17 survive today. It is a fitting homage to all these men and machines that these two aircraft should fly together again, as the veterans' comments prove. I hope in their appearances around the country they will inspire and enthral onlookers and remind each generation of the sacrifices their vanished comrades made, and that this will not be the last time two or more Lancasters are seen in the air together at one time.