A group of people restoring a Lancaster bomber in Windsor, Ont., is interested in saving a second Lancaster currently in Edmundston, NB.
An Avro Lancaster Mk 10P KB882 that has been on display near Edmundston and the Quebec-New Brunswick border for 50 years is on the verge of heading to the scrap heap.
- Edmundston's Lancaster bomber headed for rough landing
- WWII artifact hand delivered to Windsor from England
However, John Robinson the project leader for the Lancaster restoration in Windsor, says he is interested in the historic plane.
“I would hope to enter in some kind of conversation with Edmundston and see where we can move forward, tell them our story and possibly use their aircraft to help with our restoration,” Robinson said.
He has already phoned Edmundston Mayor Cyrille Simard and expects to hear from Edmundston officials Thursday.
Those responsible for the plane in Edmundston have problems similar to those in Windsor. Namely, money is tight.
An Edmundston group has been searching for federal and provincial funding to try and restore the local landmark. They've approached the city. They've tried to raise money locally.
They need to find $700,000 to $1 million to build a hangar on site to protect the plane while it's worked on. Moving the plane to a museum or some other location would cost about $500,000 said Mychele Poitras of the Edmundston society for the Preservation of the Lancaster.
“It seems kind of high for me,” said Robinson, who is willing to look at ways to move the plane to Windsor.
Windsor’s Lancaster is owned by the city but is being restored by a group of volunteers with the Canadian Historical Aircraft Association. In 2006, the council approved 10 annual payments of $35,000 to the association to restore the plane.
A progress report went before council in March. Volunteers spent more than 5,000 hours working on the plane. Some pieces completely restored in 2013 include the port wing tip, landing gear doors and vertical fins.
Parts 'like hen's teeth'
Parts are tough to come by and that’s why Robinson is very interested in the Edmundston plane.
“There are not a lot of Lancasters in the world,” he said. “There are groups that are searching constantly for parts. It’s like hen’s teeth now.”
The Lancaster in Edmundston already has a large hole in one metal wing, brought on by salt spray over the years from the nearby Trans-Canada Highway.
But it has several pieces Windsor could use.
“This aircraft has two perfectly shaped bomb bay doors we could put on our aircraft,” Robinson said.
The Lancaster in Edmundston survived 11 sorties into Germany during the Second World War.
“There’s some history behind that airplane. To hear it might end up in the scrap heap is kind of sad,” Robinson said.
Approximately 7,500 Lancasters were built in the 1940s. The aircraft was used as the primary bomber fin the Royal Air Force. Less than 20 Lancasters exist.
An airworthy Lancaster is housed in Hamilton. Robinson wants the Windsor one to at least be able to taxi after restoration.
“It’s like a time machine. You think about those young men who flew these aircraft and sacrificed so we could have the freedom we have today.
“To see that memorial go to the scrap heap would make me quite sad.”