On Feb. 24, 2014 the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum announced they had finalized plans to fly their famed Avro Lancaster Bomber to England where it will join in formation flights with the Royal Air Force’s Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Lancaster. These are the only two Lancasters in the world currently flying and will make for a very historic event.
CWH chief Lancaster pilot Don Schofield, who, with over 750 hours on type is the highest time Lancaster pilot in the world, will be pilot in command. Schofield was born in England and joined the RCAF in the fifties. During his military career he flew the CF-100, CF-101, Caribou and Hercules. He continued his flying career with Air Canada flying the Boeing 747 and Airbus A330s and A340s.
Leon Evans, who has been flying the Lancaster for the past eight years will fly right seat. Evans also comes from an airline background and is a driving force at the museum. Dedicated CWH Lancaster engineer, Craig Brookhouse, will stand guard monitoring the engines and other systems for the transatlantic flight. Brookhouse has worked on the Lancaster the past seven years and was a crew chief for a NASCAR team before opening his own automotive business. Several CWH members and Lancaster flight crew will join the tour once the bomber has arrived in England.
Slated to leave Aug. 4th, the Lancaster will depart its base at Mount Hope and fly to Goose Bay, Labrador. It will then proceed to Narsarsuaq, Greenland and Keflavik, Iceland with the final destination being the Battle of Britian Memorial Flight base at RAF Coningsby in England. The trip is expected to take four days. Once the Lancaster has finished a maintenance inspection, the team will embark on a training session with the BBMF Lancaster before performing at several air displays in England. The event will highlight the sacrifice and dedication of bomber command crews during the dark days of the Second World War. Canada lost over 10,000 flight crew members in Bomber Command during the war. The CWH also offers a unique experience in England through a select amount of UK Bomber Membership Flights in the Lancaster. Based out of Humberside Airport, the Lancaster will perform flight experiences over the historic Lincolnshire area. Within days of announcing these flights they were sold out.
Over 430 Lancaster bombers were built in Canada at Victory Aircraft in Malton, Ontario. For over twenty five years the CWH have operated the last flying Avro Lancaster in North America. The CWH Lancaster has participated in many memorable flights over the past 25 years. Most notable was at the 2013 Hamilton Air Show where the Lancaster flew with a deHavilland Mosquito plus two Spitfires and two Hurricanes. Careful planning has gone into this trip, new avionics are being installed, the engines have been overhauled and the vintage bomber is getting a thorough inspection this winter in preparation for the flight to England. The CWH Lancaster has never been in better shape to make this epic trip.