“We’ll meet again..” Historic aircraft on way home

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By Marc Montgomery
Radio Canada International
Thursday 25 September, 2014

Of the thousands made, only two are left flying. One in Britain, and the other in Canada. The Canadian plane is known as “Vera” for her call letters VRA.

This year for the first time in decades, two historic Lancaster bombers flew together in the skies over the UK.

Hundreds of thousands thrilled to the sight and sound of these heritage aircraft at a number of airshows and events around the UK in a very special six-week tour.

At one point, one of the Canadian Lancaster’s engines failed, and a spare was provided by British company to enable the plane to continue the programme.

The cost to repair the plane’s damaged engine is in the range of $180,000.

“Flying old aircraft certainly isn’t cheap,” said Al Mickeloff, the museum’s marketing manager who is travelled with the Second World War bomber on its tour of British airshows.

But an outpouring of support from both sides of the Atlantic has helped offset the cost of the engine and some of the missed airshows while the bomber was grounded.

Mickeloff said he’s been “overwhelmed” by the support from British aviation groups and regular citizens. The Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum even had to alter its website so scores of donations in British pounds could pour in.

That kind of intense love for the old aircraft is indicative of the pure enthusiasm people have for seeing it in the air, Mickeloff says. “It’s been unbelievable,” he said. “We expected to be popular over here, but we’re 100 times more popular than we even expected

It’s still flying on the borrowed engine as it makes its way back to Canada on a 6,000 kilometre journey back to its base at the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum near Hamilton Ontario.

The Lancaster stopped in Iceland Tuesday on the first leg of its return however poor weather kept it on the ground Wednesday. Its next stop will be at Gander, Newfoundland. It is now expected back at the CWHM later this week, or possibly on Sunday, depending on weather conditions.


Morgan September 26, 2014 Buzz