Lancasters United

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After an extraordinary ferry flight across the Atlantic, the world’s last two flying Avro Lancaster bombers have been reunited in the U.K.

After eight months of planning, the Avro Lancaster of the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum touched down safely at RAF Coningby, Lincolnshire, U.K., the home of Britain’s last flying Lancaster operated by the Royal Air Force’s (RAF) Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF).

All photos: U.K. MoD - Crown Copyright

Unfortunately, the British weather did its best to ruin the celebrations with plans for a spectacular fly-past of both aircraft along with the Red Arrows aerobatic team scrubbed. Howeve,r thousands of people lined the perimeter fence at the airfield to watch the aircraft arrive as these photos taken by RAF photographers show.

Initial plans to get airborne on Monday, August 4 were foiled by engine problems, but the aircraft was able to get airborne on August 5, destined for Goose Bay. The next stop was Keflavik, Iceland, but not before the crew avoided some North Atlantic storms. After arriving in Iceland, the final leg was to RAF Coningsby on August 8.

The aircraft will now undergo some maintenance before beginning a two month long tour of the U.K. with some 60 appearances at airshows and other events across the U.K. flying in formation with the BBMF Lancaster.

The last time two Lancasters flew together in formation in the U.K. is believed to have been back in the mid-1950s perhaps during the filming of the famous Dambusters film, but I am happy to hear from anyone who can correct that.

The Lancaster tour also commemorates the shared experience of U.K. and Canadian pilots during the Second World War in which 50,000 Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) aircrew served with RAF Bomber Command. Of the nearly 56,000 Bomber Command aircrew who died during WWII, some 10,000 were Canadians serving either in RAF or RCAF squadrons.

The Canadian Lancaster is due to head home in late September.

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