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Canadian Lancaster Bomber, B-25 Returning to Oshkosh

  • Lancaster
    Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum’s Avro Lancaster bomber makes its third appearance in Oshkosh this year.
  • B-25
    The B-25 bomber Hot Gen was one of the last Mitchells off the line in 1945. Photos courtesy of Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum

February 26, 2015 - EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015 will feature the return of an iconic Allied aircraft that helped secure liberty in World War II, the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum’s Avro Lancaster bomber. The pride of Canadian EAA members, the aircraft first visited Oshkosh in 2006 and returned in 2009 to help celebrate that year’s Canadian centennial of flight. This year the rare RCAF heavy bomber, along with the museum’s B-25 Mitchell bomber Hot Gen, will participate in 70th anniversary commemorations of the Allied victory in Europe.

“We’re very pleased to be coming back to Oshkosh,” said Al Mickeloff, museum retail & marketing manager.

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 it was retired by the RCAF in 1964. A total of 7,366 Lancs were built during WWII, and C-GVRA is one of only two remaining airworthy examples in the world today. The other is based in the U.K., owned and operated by the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, and the two Lancs linked up last summer when C-GVRA flew to the U.K. in August.

The CWHM 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 Pilot Officer Andrew Mynarski of Winnipeg was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross for attempting to rescue the trapped rear gunner from his blazing turret.

Powered by four Packard-built Merlin engines, the Lancaster was the only Allied bomber capable of carrying and delivering the 22,000-lb. “Grand Slam” bomb.

Lancasters measure 69 feet, 6 inches with a 102 foot wingspan. Its four 1640 hp Packard Merlin 224s propel the plane to a maximum speed of 275 mph.

Built in early 1945, the museum’s B-25J Mitchell (C-GCWM), was one of the last Mitchells off the line in Kansas City, Missouri, and never saw military service. It was operated as a civilian transport for more than 25 years and was found abandoned at Wilmington Airport, Delaware, in 1975. The airplane was ferried to the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum in Ontario where it underwent extensive restoration.

The aircraft displays the markings of a B-25J of RAF No. 98 Squadron, which fought over northwest Europe during 1944-45, and is dedicated to the Canadians who flew with 98th. It’s been to Oshkosh a number of times, the first after initial refurbishment in the 1970s and most recently accompanying the Lanc in 2009.

B-25 Mitchell Bomber Specs
Length: 52 ft, 11 in
Wingspan: 67 ft, 7 in
Engines: 2 Wright Cyclone R-2600-29As, 1,700 hp each
Maximum speed: 272 mph
Cruising speed: 230 mph
Service ceiling: 24,200 ft
Range: 1,350 miles

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