Aviation buffs have a shot at a once-in-a-lifetime intercontinental flight on a famous Second World War bomber — and it will only cost you $40,000 or so.
Hamilton’s Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum is auctioning off the opportunity on eBay to fly as a crew member on the Avro Lancaster when it goes to England in August. Together with the Royal Air Force's Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF) Lancaster, it will be involved in a month-long flying tour in the U.K., before returning home to Hamilton in September. It will be the last Lancaster to ever make the trip, says museum CEO David Rohrer.
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“You’ll never be able to do anything like this ever again,” he told CBC Hamilton. “So we thought why not put it out there? Somebody must have this on their bucket list.”
'We won’t have meal services or in-flight movies, but we will have an outside one.' - David Rohrer, Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum CEO
No bids have been placed on the trip just yet, with the reserve bid placed at a lofty $40,000. But there’s “a lot of chatter” about the trip, Rohrer said, and people are likely just waiting until the last minute to bid (as is the norm on eBay).
“I’m very confident there are people out there.”
The cash will be put towards the trip’s $650,000 costs, as appearance fees the crew will make in England won’t cover the costs of getting there and back. The person who wins one of the eight seats on the flight will be trained as a crew member a couple of days before the flight, so they can actually participate when aboard. The plane will be soaring down below 10,000 feet because the cabin isn’t pressurized, which will no doubt make for a less comfortable experience than a commercial flight.
“We won’t have meal services or in-flight movies, but we will have an outside one,” Rohrer said.
The Mynarski Memorial Lancaster is scheduled to leave Canada Aug. 4. The five-day transatlantic trip to England is being done in four- to five-hour hops, with refuelling and rest stops in Goose Bay, N.L.; Narsarsuaq, Greenland; and Keflavik, Iceland. According to the eBay post about the flight, the museum reserves the right to assess the winning bidder’s physical ability to go on the trip. You can’t be more than 250 pounds, and you have to be able to climb a ladder and manoeuvre in tight spaces.
The winner also has to sign a waiver for a documentary being filmed about the trip.
Bids on the trip are being accepted until May 10. As of Friday afternoon, the museum’s eBay post had almost 5,500 views.
The last time Lancasters flew together was 50 years ago over Toronto, at RCAF Station Downsview. The RCAF flew a special formation of three of the bombers in April 1964 to mark their retirement from service.