Lancaster Bomber arrives in U.K. Friday for historic tour
Warplane to be welcomed on arrival by 100 bomber command veterans
The Lancaster bomber "ran beautifully" on the first cross-Atlantic leg of the aircraft's historic tour, flying from Goose Bay, N.L., to Keflavík, Iceland, before travelling to Royal Air Force base at Coningsby, in eastern England, Friday, according to Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum.
The flight from Canada to Iceland was seven hours and 40 minutes. The last airworthy Lancaster will finish the final leg of its journey to the U.K. early Friday, leaving Iceland at 2:30 a.m. ET and arriving in Coningsby at 8:30 a.m. ET (1:30 p.m. local time).
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He called the flight to Iceland "epic" and tweeted, "Just need my ears to re adjust now!"
The plane will be met in Coningsby with an arrival ceremony with more than 100 bomber command veterans expected to be in attendance. The hangar will be closed to the general public and there will not be guided tours available.
The Lancaster Bomber itinerary details the rest of the stops on the tour.
There are only 10 qualified Lancaster pilots in the world, according to Chief Pilot Don Schofield of the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum in Hamilton.
“Taking an aircraft of this size and nature across the Atlantic, unlike a 747, which can go up to 35,000 feet and sit there in wonderful comfort, this aircraft is low, and by today’s standards, slow,” he told CBC's Labrador Morning of the 69-year-old warplane. “For the poor guys in the back it is incredibly dark, cramped, noisy and smelly. It was not built for comfort.”
"I think this trip is going to be the jewel in the crown of my career," Schofield said. "If I have to retire the day after this trip is over, I will retire a very happy person. I feel a huge responsibility to the entire nation."
Before it left Canadian airways, the Lancaster was also spotted doing some fly overs in Newfoundland, with this video posted to YouTube Wednesday.
The website flightradar24.com offers a great look at the flight path taken by the Lancaster as it made its way from Iceland to the UK. You can follow the bomber in real time. Flightradar24 is a flight tracker that shows live air traffic from around the world.
You can follow the Lancaster's journey with our live blog below.