Canada's last-flying Lancaster bomber gets a makeover

The only Canadian Lancaster Bomber still flying will be painted to honour the first-ever Canadian-built Lancaster bomber and Pilot Officer Andrew Mynarski.
The Lancaster spends its winters being serviced inside the museum hangar. (Andres Billiald)

Canada's last Lancaster Bomber in flying condition is getting a makeover.

This year, the left side of the airplane will be painted in honour of the KB700 "Ruhr Express," the first of 430 Lancaster Bombers built by Canadians in Malton, Ontario during the Second World War.

Known as the Mynarski Lancaster, the bomber will continue to sport "KB726 VRA" markings on its right side in honour of Pilot Officer Andrew Mynarski, recipient of the Victoria Cross as part of the 419 Squadron, Royal Canadian Air Force. 

'Not another place in the country has a flying Lancaster'

Dave Rohrer is president and CEO of the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum. An ex-air force pilot for the Royal Canadian Air Force, Rohrer is one of the few people lucky enough to fly the Lancaster.

Canada's last-flying Lancaster bomber's right side will be painted to honour KB726 and Pilot Officer Andrew Mynarski. (Doug Fisher/Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum.)

While the airplane will be marked in honour of KB700 and KB726, Rohrer says that isn't all they will be honouring in 2017.

"In honour of Victory Aircraft, the first Lancaster built in Canada and in honour of Canada 150, we wanted to recognize some of the great things that have happened in those 150 years," he said. "Of course, the first Lancaster being built in Canada was pretty significant."

Crew members remove an old decal on the Lancaster Bomber to prepare for its upcoming paint job. (Andres Billiald)

'People come from all over the world to fly in it'

The public can expect to see the bomber in the sky this June, with the museum's Ride Program taking flight June 3. Through the ride program, members of the public can purchase a Bomber Membership at the museum along with a ticket on the Lancaster for $3500, taking them on a 50-minute trip from Hamilton to Toronto and back.

The Lancaster will also be making a solo-performance at the 2017 Brantford Airshow. Rohrer, who piloted the bomber during its last solo performance five years ago, says he hopes to be back in the cockpit come August, but it won't be easy.

"I'm going to have to beat all the other guys, everyone will want to do it for sure," he said.

The last Canadian Lancaster in flying condition is maintained at the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum. (Andres Billiald)

While the price tag may seem hefty, Rohrer says the museum normally sells out of tickets by the end of March.

"People come from all over the world to fly in it," he said. "People come from Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom because it's the only place in the world you can fly in a Lancaster Bomber."