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Rare Lancaster Bomber Coming to EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, Making 2006 the 'Big Bomber Reunion'

 

EAA AVIATION CENTER, OSHKOSH, Wis. - (May 8, 2006) — One of just two Lancaster bombers left flying anywhere in world will be part of EAA AirVenture 2006, as this World War II bomber from the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum will be in Oshkosh this summer. The 54th annual EAA fly-in convention, The World's Greatest Aviation Celebration, will be held at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh on July 24-30.

The Lancaster bomber, which has not been seen at Oshkosh since 1989, combines with the Commemorative Air Force's B-29 "FIFI" and B-24 "Diamond Lil," and up to five B-17s to create an unprecedented "Big Bomber Reunion" at this year's event.

"The legendary World War II warbirds are always among the favorites of AirVenture visitors, and you will not see these great airplanes together anywhere but Oshkosh," said Tom Poberezny, EAA president and AirVenture chairman. "With the confirmed appearance of the Lancaster from the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum, all the great Allied bombers will be on display at AeroShell Square this year. It's another reason you've got to be here this year."

The bombers will be on display throughout AirVenture week on the showcase AeroShell Square and participate in the expanded Warbirds air shows during the week. The "Big Bomber Reunion" will be an extraordinary part of these shows, as these aircraft have not been flying in the same location for decades.

The Lancaster, C-GVRA, was one of the 422 Mk X models built at Victory Aircraft in Canada between 1943 and 1945. It saw service with the No. 107 Rescue Unit at Torbay, Newfoundland as a maritime patrol/search and rescue aircraft until retired by the RCAF in 1964.

Lancasters were powered by four Rolls Royce or Packard-built Merlin engines and was the only aircraft capable of carrying the 22,000-lb. "Grand Slam" bomb. Between 1942 and VE Day (May 8, 1945), Lancasters participated in 156,000 sorties and delivered two-thirds of Bomber Command's total bomb weight. The Lancaster won a place for itself in history with the daring and precise bombing raids on the Mohne and Eder dams in May 1943 and with the sinking of the German battleship Tirpitz, in a well-defended Norwegian fjord. Of the 7,366 Lancasters built during World War II, only two are still flying today.

The Lancaster was acquired from the Goderich Legion in 1977, with assistance from the Sully Foundation. Following a lengthy restoration, it flew again on September 24, 1988. The aircraft is painted in the wartime Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) markings of the 419 Squadron, unit code VR-A aircraft in which P/O Andrew Mynarski of Winnipeg was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross for attempting to rescue the trapped rear gunner from his blazing turret.

The Lancaster's appearance at Oshkosh was made possible through the assistance and participation of EAA's Canadian members, led by EAA Chapter 1410 of High River, Alberta.

EAA AIRVENTURE OSHKOSH is The World's Greatest Aviation Celebration and EAA's yearly membership convention. EAA members receive lowest prices on admission rates. For more information on EAA and its programs, call 1-800-JOIN-EAA (1-800-564-6322) or visit www.eaa.org. EAA AirVenture information is also available through the World Wide Web at www.airventure.org.

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