The Lancaster bomber at the Aero Space Museum of Calgary will be completely refurbished with money from a fundraising campaign the museum announced this week. ((CBC))

The Lady Orchid will ride, if not fly, again.

The Aero Space Museum of Calgary announced plans Wednesday to finish the cosmetic restoration of its static centrepiece display, the Avro Lancaster Mark X bomber.

One of the first tasks is painting on the nose art, historically a picture of a pistol-toting woman riding a bomb.

The four-engine plane was famous for night-bombing missions over Europe during the Second World War.

"Just imagine hearing 100 of them going overhead to Germany. I mean, this was the bomber that helped win the war," said Lucille Edwards, CEO of the Aero Space Museum.

Edwards said they've begun a fundraising campaign to help pay for the work, expected to cost about $16,000.

One main feature of the restoration work will be giving the plane a wartime paint scheme.


A new wartime paint scheme planned for Calgary's Lancaster bomber will include the historical Lady Orchid nose art. ((CBC))

"The Lancaster bomber is probably our most significant part of the collection," Edwards said.

"So this is a significant step. It's taken us about 20 years to restore it to where it is right now. The interior is in very good shape, it's just the exterior that needs quite a bit of work."

Owen Wright has been a volunteer at the museum for the past 18 years. He was overjoyed to hear the historic plane was going to be refurbished.

"I helped restore a couple of components out on the machine guns on the front end. And I'd like to see the whole thing restored to its original, probably its camouflage, shade, so it simulates a real wartime bomber," said Wright.

Edwards said that of the approximately 7,500 Lancaster bombers originally built, there are only 26 left. Two of those can still fly.

The work on Calgary's Lancaster — which is not airworthy — is expected to take a few months. Calgarians will then be able to tour the iconic bomber.

The fundraising campaign will also pay for a Lancaster exhibit focusing on the contributions of Albertans to the Allies' Bomber Command and the seven stations of the bomber.