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Bomber Command Museum of Canada, Nanton, Alberta
By Mike Davenport, EAA 89102, Langley, British Columbia
October 2019 - When in Alberta this past May, I stopped in Nanton and did a quick tour of the Bomber Command Museum located on the north edge of the town.
This museum has done a brilliant job of developing a first-class facility. The sparkling clean and impeccably maintained building was built over a period of years beginning in 1991. It is large enough to contain a significant number of aircraft, including the star of its display, a World War II vintage Lancaster.
The star exhibit, Lancaster LM159.
I had first seen the "Lanc" sometime in the late '70s, sitting outside in the weather and looking more than a little forlorn. The elements had not been kind to it. I am glad to report that such is not the case today. Purchased for a reported $513 in 1960, today LM159 looks almost flight worthy, complete with four runnable engines and propellers, and needing only the reinstallation of the rear turret to complete the weight and balance of the aircraft. It carries a replica of the drum-shaped bomb featured most recently in Ted Barris' book Dam Busters. For the complete story of the acquisition and restoration of the Lancaster, check out The Bomber Command Museum of Canada, a book by Dave Birrell, downloadable for free from the museum website.
Beautiful and rare Fleet Fawn in perfect condition.
In addition to the restored Lancaster, the museum also has on display a variety of past trainers such as the well-known Harvard and a much rarer Fleet Fawn, the predecessor to the Fleet Finch. The Fleet Fawn came either with a Kinner five-cylinder radial or later with a seven-cylinder Armstrong Siddeley Civet radial engine. There are only a handful of these 1930s aircraft still in existence. They were flown exclusively by the RCAF as two-seat primary trainers. A more modern aircraft in the display and one that is still in service is the CL-41 Tutor jet trainer, painted in Snowbird colours.
Two other more modern aircraft are mounted on poles at the front of the facility, where a T-33 T-Bird and a CF-100 do permanent guard duty.
For more information, check out the museum's web site at BomberCommandMuseum.ca.