Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Surviving Airworthy Avro Lancasters to fly in formation in August 2014

Only 2 Airworthy Avro Lancasters to fly in formation 

This Lancaster based at RAF Coningsby Lincs is one of only two still flying
         
                                British Airworthy Lancaster KC-A          Image copyright British Crown

There are only two airworthy Lancasters left in the world - one with the RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight at Coningsby, Lincolnshire, the other in Canada. The plan is to cross the Atlantic with this plane in August to join in a series of air displays with the RAF Lancaster and Spitfires and Hurricanes.
The ageing Canadian Lancaster will fly to Britain over four days in a series of short hops from Hamilton Ontario via Labrador, Greenland and Iceland.
Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum President and chief executive, Squadron Leader  David Rohrer  who is a current Lancaster pilot, said this reunion will never happen again. He said: "This year a rare window of opportunity was identified to bring the last two flying Lancasters in the world together as a special salute to all the veterans of Bomber Command, many of whom are in their late 80s or older now."
The Canadian plane will also carry out a limited number of flights over Lincolnshire from Humberside Airport for a small number of members of the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum.
The officer commanding the  RAF BBMF, Sqn Ldr Dunc Mason, said: “To see these two aircraft flying at events together will be a unique sight and also the opportunity to truly commemorate those who paid the ultimate sacrifice. Lest We Forget.”
Canada lost 10,000 of its 42,000 volunteers serving with Bomber Command during World War Two.
And the roof of the £7.5million Bomber Command Memorial is made from aluminium from a RCAF Halifax bomber shot down over Belgium with the loss of its eight crew. 
Bomber Command suffered the worst casualty rate of any British-led unit, losing 55,573 of its 125,000 volunteers, average age just 22.
Of every 100 airmen who joined Bomber Command, 45 were killed, 6 were seriously wounded, 8 became Prisoners of War, and only 41 escaped unscathed.
To help honour their sacrifice, Daily Express readers donated £500,000 to the cost of the Bomber Command Memorial in London's Green Park, a sum matched by Daily Express owner Richard Desmond.The Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum will be flying their Avro Lancaster B.X across the Atlantic Ocean to the United Kingdom to take part in a series of displays alongside the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight. This will mark the first time in four decades that two Lancasters will fly in formation with one another, and represent a unique opportunity for aviation enthusiasts around the world to witness these two magnificent historic aircraft flying together.
 BBMF Lancaster passing the towers of the Derwent Reservoir, re-enacting the training maneuvers required for Operation Chastise, earlier this year. ( Image Credit: Air Team Canon)
       Canadian Airworthy Lancaster HW-R                                            Image Credit: Air Team Canon
The Canadian Lancaster, FM213, will depart from its home base in Hamilton, Ontario on August 4th. They will stage across the North Atlantic via Goose Bay, Labrador; Narsarsuaq, Greenland; and Keflavik, Iceland prior to a hoped for arrival at RAF Coningsby on August 8th.
Shortly after arriving, the Lancaster will undergo a scheduled maintenance inspection. The CWHM crews will then complete a short training program with the BBMF in preparation for participation in several air displays and fly pasts with the BBMF Lancaster, PA474, and fighters starting on August 14th. These displays will celebrate the exceptionally close British/Canadian relationship as well as commemorate the sacrifice and dedication of Commonwealth Bomber crews and the professionalism of both nations’ air forces today. The CWHM Lancaster will also conduct a limited number of UK Bomber Membership flights from Humberside Airport, flying over historic Lincolnshire for those fortunate few who have obtained CWHM UK Bomber Memberships. BBMF Lancaster PA474 

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