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What would you pay to fly in a Lancaster ?

Discussion in 'Living History' started by canadiancitizen, Apr 23, 2008.

  1. canadiancitizen

    canadiancitizen Member

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    Although over 7,700 Avro Lancaster 4 engine heavy bombers were built during WW2, there are ONLY two in the world that still FLY.

    One belongs to the RAF's "Battle of Britain " flight and as far as I know, the public are NOT allowed to fly in it, for any price.

    The ONLY other flying Lancaster belongs to the Canadian War Plane Heritage Museum located near Hamilton, Ontario. This is the largest WW2 flying museum in Canada, and they do FLY the planes, over 25 of them.

    The Mynarski Memorial Lancaster is flown many times each summer. This year (2008 ) it will fly 22 times, from May 22nd to November 11th.

    YOU can get to FLY in it. Yes a full one hour ride in one of ony two of them still in the air. It is not cheap, but it is UNIQUE.

    If you would like more information about a flight in a bit of "flying history " or one of the other " war birds " at the Canadian War Plane Heritage Museum, go here.

    CANADIAN WARPLANE HERITAGE

    For our American friends, Hamilton, Ontario is LESS than one hour from Buffalo , New York, and three hours from Detroit , Michigan. Even if you don't want to fly with us, come and be amazed at a air museum that actually restores and FLIES WW2 aircraft , of all types.

    Questions ? Ask me here.

    Jim Bunting. Toronto. Ontario . Canada.
     
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  2. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

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    I was happy enough to see the British Lancaster fly past and waggle its tails for me and a friend (we were just the two of us in the country and it made an extra circle to say hello when it noticed we were waving ).
    Actually there is another Lanc that could fly but that taxis in England and does not take off. Others are being currently restored but I don't know if they wil lever fly again.
    To answer your question It's difficult to say. I would have to buy a several hundred euro ticket to cross the ocean first. I'd probably pay the same for an hour flight in a Lanc. It would be absolutely unique, my dream would be to sit at the tail gunner seat and have a warm tea while surrounded with freezing air. I'd imagine the stres the tail gunner went through. He was to warn the skipper in case of a rear attack, so he could not fall asleep despite the intense cold. Tell are you one of the lucky ones who will actually experience this flight?
     
  3. grim

    grim Member

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    The east kirby lancaster does taxi runs and I think for around £250 you can rattle and bump your way round the airfield in the tail turret! sadly it doesn't take off, but i suspect this experience will be thrilling enough and just give an idea of just how brave these guys were!
     
  4. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

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    250£ is a fair price for such an experience! It looks like something I could put on my Christmas list. Besides I have a weak spot for 57 Squadron !
     
  5. canadiancitizen

    canadiancitizen Member

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    I guess I'm spolied, having been up in our Lanc for a total of about 40 hours over the past 11 years. On regular area flights , with paying passengers, or on route to distant air shows, in Canada and the USA.

    At the air shows, I do double duty, selling our souveniers, and talking about the aircraft, and our museum, to the people at the show.

    I think the price that we charge, for a hour in the air, in a unique aircraft, at $2,000 CDN per person, is a good deal. Of course we need to have 5 people in a group, to make it a profitable exercise. The Canadian War Plane Heritage Museum, is a non-profit group, but it still takes a couple of thousand dollars, just for fuel, to fly it for an hour. Then add the cost of ongoing upkeep and insurance.

    Of course if you can't afford the Lancaster, we have many other WW2 aircraft, in our collection that you can fly in, such as the Tiger Moth, Harvard, PBY, B 25 Mitchell, and Anson. Go to our website, and take a look at the collection and the reasonable prices.

    Go here: CANADIAN WARPLANE HERITAGE

    Jim Bunting. Toronto.
     
  6. Tomcat

    Tomcat The One From Down Under

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    I cant see any axis planes at your museum, why is that?
     
  7. canadiancitizen

    canadiancitizen Member

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    Tomcat :

    Quite simple really.

    It is the " Canadian " War Plane Heritage Museum, so the collection is made up of aircraft that were either "flown by " or "built by " Canadians, in the WW2 era.

    We do have some later time period aircraft, such as the Korean war period F-86 Sabre jet, and the De Havilland Vampire, CF 100 Vodoo, CF 105 Starfighter ,and the Tracker anti submarine plane, but our major focus is on our own WW2 planes and the RCAF people who flew them.

    We teach about our Canadian military history in WW2, and of course we point out WHO we were fighting against, but we don't need to have Axis planes in our collection. Personally, I don't think that would be very well received by our vistors. With limited money, and space , we don't need to have them in our building.

    Jim B. Toronto.
     
  8. Tomcat

    Tomcat The One From Down Under

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    I can understand the money and space issue, but I would have thought that people would not only want to see the planes there country flew but also those planes that their country fought againts, I know I would.
     
  9. canadiancitizen

    canadiancitizen Member

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    Given that the mandate of this museum is to " Preserve and Maintain " and to restore the aircraft to "certified flying condition " we are not about to spend money to restore a german aircraft , not as long as we have any planes in the hanger that are not yet in flying condition.

    There are other aircraft museums in Canada that do have enemy planes in their collections , so if people want to see a 109 or a Stuka, they can go there. The National War Museum in Ottawa, only open for 3 years now, has a very extensive collection of not only WW2 Axis armour, artillery and aircraft, but lots of other time periods as well, such as WW1, Korea and Cold War era Soviet stuff, and items from all of our numerous UN assignments.

    When the first four "founders " of this museum began the collection, in the 1970's, with their own 4 WW2 privately owned aircraft , they set the standard for the present collection. Imagine having a 200,000 square foot building that was designed especially for this museum's collection, that is located right on a International airport. We can open the two sets of hanger doors, roll out our planes and start up the engines, and proceed directly to the taxi way and out onto the runways of the airport, and take off. And any private aircraft owner can "fly in " to visit us at the museum, and park their plane on our apron, next to our hanger.

    Jim Bunting. Toronto.
     
  10. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    The economics of maintaining a Lancaster in flying condition must be stupendous - I know that the cost of keeping the East Kirby Lancaster NX611 in taxi-able state are very high. The costs of acquiring and maintaining super-rare Axis aircraft are perhaps best left to the 'big boys' ( eg Nationally-funded museums or US collectors with extremely deep pockets - and even they don't fly Lancasters ! ;) )

    I know that all enthusiasts over here wish you the very best with your efforts, Jim.....
     
  11. Tomcat

    Tomcat The One From Down Under

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    Absolutely mate, and I understand now mate, didn't mean to pry or anything, just curious more then anything.:)
     
  12. canadiancitizen

    canadiancitizen Member

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    Martin Bull:

    Yes, it is costly to fly the Mynarski Memorial Lancaster, and this year, 2008, it will fly 22 times, from May to November. But, I must point out that the Canadian War Plane Heritage Museum has 22 other aircraft that we ALSO fly, on a regular basis. Most of them are licensed by Transport Canada, to carry paying passengers.

    Each of the individiual aircraft in our collection have a "supporters club " who do the maintainance, provide the pilots and raise money for "their " aircraft. In addition, there are major funds contributed by private individuals, and Canadian corporations, such as Air Canada, who provide aviation fuel to us, at their cost. In the main entrance to our building, there is a wall that holds the recognition plaques, for our sustaining contributors. The lowest level is $ 100,000, up to one million dollars. Because CWHM is a registered non-profit group, we can write tax receipts for donations, either in cash or in goods.

    A good example would be our building. All of the steel, for the frame, was donated by Stelco, while the concrete floor was donated by Canada building materials. All of the machine tools and equipment in our restoration shops were donated, as was the kitchen equipment for our cafe. Intruments for cockpits are re-built by a professional shop, at no cost to us. Painting is done by a mobile spray paint booth, mounted on a tractor trailer unit. Paint is donated by CIL, and Goodyear makes us tires, from the original WW2 moulds, at cost. Engines are re-built on site by our own volunteers, and we also do work fore others, to raise money for the museum.

    We run a summer camp for teenagers, two weeks at a time, to teach military history and basic flight education. We have a number of onsite meeting rooms that are rented out to local groups for their meetings, and we have a full calender of events that are held in our building, such as trade shows, weddings, and musical shows, all of which generate money for the museum. We also have one of the largest gift shops anywhere that sells everything to do with aviation , such as books, movies and clothing, and it is now available, online, so people from all over the world can buy from us.

    With our two sets of huge doors open, we can move all of the aircraft out to the apron, leaving about 180,000 square feet of display area. We have two local catering companies that can feed up to 5,000 people a day, buffet style, or feed up to 500 guests at tables. We have our own sound systems, and big screen tvs for multi media presentations. Our outside parking lot has over 1,000 vehicle spaces, and we can use other parking lots at the Hamilton International airport, 300 metres away, if needed.

    So Yes, it is a huge operation, but we ONLY have four paid employees, a special events manager, a building manager, and two full time cleaning staff. All the rest are un-paid volunteers, about 400 of them, plus our general membership of all most 6,000 people. We have some retired mechanics, and machinists, who come in every day of the week ,to work on aircraft restoration. We currently have a Westland Lysander, and a Bolingbrooke under restoration. Both were built in Canada, under license , during WW2.

    Un-like some American organisations, like the "Confederate Air Force " where the individual aircaft are privately owned, all of ours are owned by CWHM. So no one person has any rights, to fly them or decide what to do with them.

    BTW I'm just a member, not a director.

    Jim Bunting. Toronto.

    Jim Bunting.
     
  13. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

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    hmm tempting.... 2000 Canadian dollars is quite a lot of money, but it is certainly a bargain and something I would probably never forget. To bad it's so far away, but I'm crazy enough to cross the ocean and go for it, you never know. And yes Jim you are spoiled: 40 hours! Those who can claim that (except veterans ) can be counted with the fingers of one hand ! But well , I'm just dreaming , I hope some bored billionair reads my post and arranges the trip for me.:rolleyes::)
     
  14. canadiancitizen

    canadiancitizen Member

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    Skipper"

    Thanks for your kind words to me, but really my hours are insignificant when you compare them to our "Lancaster pilots "group. We have 18 pilots who are certified to fly the Lanc for CWPHM. Some of them have hundreds of hours of "seat time " on our Avro Mark 10 Lancaster.

    This aircraft was first acquired by the museum in 1977. It had been built in Malton Ontario, at Victory Aircraft in 1944. It did not go overseas, and was kept in RCAF service, as a weather and iceberg patrol plane until it was retired in 1964. It was bought by a retired officer's group and mounted on a pedestal ina park in Goderich, Ontario. In 1979, CWPHM bought it and arranged to to have the wings and tail removed, and then a CF heavy helicopter squadron lifted it and flew the load down to our location at Hamilton International airport, as a training exercise. The wings came down on a low loader trailer by road.

    The restoration process took ELEVEN YEARS to complete.

    On September 11th, of 1988, the first trial flight took place. On September the 24 of that year, the first official flight took place. So since 1988 we have put thousands of hours on the Lancaster airframe. This is the twenty year anniversary of it's career with us. It has been flying with CWPHM longer that it did with the RCAF.........

    The CWPHM pilots that fly the Lancaster are all "four engine heavy jet " pilots who are employed by Air Canada, or West Jet, or other commercial airlines. All of our aircraft have a group of "endorsed pilots ' who are checked out and qualified to fly that "type ' of aircraft, and our operations office keeps a rotation list that shows who is next to fly any particular plane in our inventory. Pilots provide their own helmets, coveralls and boots, all in our approved colour scheme and insignias, as well as their own charts and checklists, for that individual plane. In return they get to fly genuine WW2 antique aircraft, and have fun doing so.

    We never have any trouble getting a pilot to fly for us, they are wating in line to do that. They also have to fly under our "standard operating procedures " that do not allow any dangerous aerobatics or low flying stunts. In the entire history of the CWPHM we have NEVER crashed a plane.

    Jim Bunting. Toronto.
     
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  15. grim

    grim Member

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    Fantastic, its great to see all the canadian companies supporting heritage preservation.
    Just out of interest, where do the guests on your lancaster get to go when its in flight?? my uncle was a tail gunner and I've always wondered what it was like!... I presume the health & safety folks stop you putting someone in the tail gun position?
     
  16. Falcon Jun

    Falcon Jun Ace

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    You guys at CWPHM must be having the time of your lives with the WWII aircraft you lovingly maintain. I have to settle for my scale models. I envy you. I surely regret not having heard of you guys when I was in Canada 20 years ago.
     
  17. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

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    The tail gunner is my favorite position too. I wouldn't mind going to the front either and as a bomb aimer. In fact I'd love to switch postions and imagine the navigator making calculations with a tiny flash light.
     
  18. canadiancitizen

    canadiancitizen Member

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    Grim:

    For take offs and landings, the passengers are seated and belted in place. In flight they can sit in the copilot's seat ( we have had to add a second set of flight controls, and a copilot seat, by Transport Canada regulations ) or they can be in the nose, or to the rear of the cockpit area, or in the tail, but not in the turret, as it is too tight for most people to get into.

    WE encourage people to bring cameras, and take lots of photos, or video, as a souvenier.

    Jim B. Toronto.
     
  19. canadiancitizen

    canadiancitizen Member

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    Falcon JUn:

    Thanks for the compliment.

    Twenty years ago, we were not nearly as well known as we are now, thanks in great part to the Internet. Of course, word of mouth is the best form of advertising.

    CWPHM gets about 150,000 visitors a year, and many of them use our on-site free computers to send email to their friends, telling them about us. Our air show appearances also help to introduce us to more people.

    Jim B. Toronto.
     
  20. canadiancitizen

    canadiancitizen Member

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    Skipper:

    The illumination on a Lancaster at night would have been red filtered light, which is easier on the eyes, and of course the "torch " would have been a pinlight type, with only a small beam.

    During WW2, my Mother worked at Victory Aircraft on the outskirts of Toronto, building the instrument panels and the actual flight instruments for the Hurricanes, Spifires, and Lancasters that were built there. She kept a small notebook with all the tail numbers that she installed instruments in. She installed the original instruments in the CWPHM Lancaster , in August of 1944.

    Her previous job, at Majestic Radios, was building the first airbourne radar sets, the H2S2, She had to sign the Official Secrets Act, and I only found out about that in 1970, when I had also been " cleared to Top Secret " as a part of the CF military Police investigative service. At that point she figured I could be told about her WW2 secret work.

    Small world , yes ?

    Jim Bunting. Toronto.
     

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