10-year-old crowdfunding his dream of a flight in Lancaster bomber
Dartmouth boy launches gofundme campaign for historic flight
Every kid has a dream.
10-year-old Euan MacDonald from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, has a big one!
Euan is on a mission to take a ride in Hamilton's historic four-engine Avro Lancaster bomber, one of two in the world able to fly and the only one you can take an adventure flight in.
I'm gonna bet that nothing is going to compare to flying in this thing.- Euan MacDonald
"I want to know what it feels like to be on a World-War Two bomber that is past its prime but it survived up to this day…I'm gonna bet that nothing is going to compare to flying in this thing."
But he's not just dreaming. He's launched a gofundme page, is holding bottle drives and bake sales and hoarding his Christmas and birthday money to make it come true. For every donation he gets toward the $3,500 cost of the flight he issues a personal thank you.
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"I think the people that are donating, giving me bottles, baking for me, I think they know how important it is to me. I care about it and I'm behind it 100 percent and I feel good about them doing it so when I send a thank-you note, I put a lot of effort into it," said Euan.
Price tag not a deterrent
His mother said he discovered the Lancaster when looking at the website of Hamilton's Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum, which restored the Lancaster and maintains it in flying condition.
"When we saw the Lancaster he was really excited and then he saw the price tag and wasn't as excited and he said 'Mommy I'll do that when I'm a grown up and I have a job and I can pay for it,'" said Anne-Marie McElrone.
But then he decided later wasn't an option and early this year, Euan launched his mission to fly.
"He decided he'd launch it in January, the 75th anniversary of the Lancaster's first flight so we had a bottle drive…I couldn't believe how may bottles we got and it takes a lot of bottles to get a hundred bucks," explained McElrone.
Then came the social media and crowdfunding efforts.
"People started asking me because I put it on Facebook if they could send money from other places so we decided to start a gofundme page for people to do that and it's just snowballed from there."
Along with donations, people have been sharing their own Lancaster stories or memories.
Euan was able to collect over $1,000 dollars in just over a month. On the Facebook page you'll find videos, pictures and stories about his fundraising initiatives.
Flight to the Falls
Al Mickeloff from Hamilton's Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum says the $3,500 pays for an hour-long flight that includes taking passengers around Niagara Falls, across Lake Ontario for a view of the Toronto skyline and the CN tower. It runs with a crew of four and can take four passengers.
What makes this aircraft so special is the history lesson that comes with it, he said.
"Ours sat up in Goderich for many years on a pedestal until the early '70s and it took 11 years for us to restore it, flew in '88 and we've been flying it ever since," said Mickeloff.
"In 2014 the bomber was part of unique tour in England with the only other flying Lancaster in the world.
"We did that because the veterans of World War Two are in their 90s so this was the only chance as a thank-you to them."
During the war, Lancaster crews had a very short life expectancy.
"Back in the war your chances were a little over a week to survive. These guys knew it and they persevered. Some of these aircraft survived 50 or 60 missions, others weren't so lucky," said Mickeloff.
Euan's next big fundraiser is a bake sale this weekend at their local farmers market – Alderney Landing Farmers Market in downtown Dartmouth.
According McElrone, Euan's passion for vintage aircraft and all things military started a few years ago, following in his father's footsteps.
"He's a force of nature, no doubt. He has always been a very determined kid and very typical, plays hockey, reads comic books, he's really into video games…but he also has this significant interest in the military and so we've encouraged it and helped him develop that because it's great to explore a passion."
Euan's hopes to take flight in the summer of 2017 to celebrate Canada's 150th birthday and his graduation from elementary school.