Four Calgarians were treated to the flight of a lifetime Friday, taking to the skies on board one of only two Second World War Lancaster bombers that are still airworthy.
The historic plane arrived in Calgary Tuesday for a nine-day visit from the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum in Hamilton, Ont. It is part of a display co-hosted by the Aero Space Museum of Calgary.
Aviation buffs lined up for more than an hour for a close-up look at the legendary four-engine bomber.
And four $4,000 "memberships" to ride in the noisy, hulking "Lanc," as it was known, sold fast, according to the museum.
Gene Marklund, who flew the bombers after the war, received one of the memberships as a gift from his family.
"I'm speechless. I'm speechless. I'm thrilled. It's been nearly 60 years since I had a ride in the Lancaster and I'm now looking forward to it. I'd never dreamt I'd fly in a Lanc again. It was the best years of my life — it's a fun airplane."
Night missions by Lancasters were instrumental in the Allied air campaign against the Nazis.
The plane was also dubbed the "dam buster" for its success in destroying infrastructure in Germany's Ruhr Valley.
"At $4,000, it's a lot of money to spend. But if you look at this magnificent aircraft, to be able to go for a ride — money, I think, is the least of the worries," said Herb Grider of the Aero Space Museum.