Hamilton

Dream comes true: Halifax boy rides high in WWII Lancaster bomber

An 11-year-old from Nova Scotia crowdfunded his way into a Saturday flight on Hamilton's Lancaster bomber.

Euan MacDonald was able to get $3,500 in donations to make his dream come true

11-year-old Euan MacDonald crowdfunded to fly in a Lancaster bomber. 0:52

With a big smile and a dramatic salute, Euan MacDonald climbed up the stairs into the WW II era Lancaster bomber to fulfill a dream.

His dreamed-about flight on Hamilton's restored Avro Lancaster came on Saturday, with money he collected through online donations.

The eleven-year-old launched a GoFundMe campaign earlier this year to help him get together the $3,500 it costs to ride the Lancaster.

"It means everything to me. This is what I've worked for and so many people have helped me do," he told CBC News before boarding the bomber, one of only two still flying in the world.

Afterward, he said the flight was even better than he imagined. 

Euan MacDonald, 11, got to ride in the Lancaster bomber on Saturday after raising the $3,500 ticket cost through crowdfunding. (Dave Beatty)
The flight left from the John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport at Mount Hope Airport at 2 p.m. and cruised by the Toronto skyline and then down to Niagara Falls before coming back, taking about an hour in total.

Euan and his family are from the Halifax area, but he came across the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum online. Reading that its Lancaster bomber was still in flying condition, he was determined to make it happen for himself.

"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," Euan said at the time. "I'm gonna bet that nothing is going to compare to flying in this thing."

But $3,500 is a lot of money for a kid.

"We thought he'd have to wait until he was grown up, with a job," said Anne-Marie McElrone, Euan's mom. She stood nearby as the historic war plane fired up its 4 giant engines and began its taxi toward the runway with an excited Euan inside, waving from the cockpit.

Hamilton's Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum is home to one of  world's last Avro Lancaster bombers still in flying condition. 

Hundreds of Lancasters were sent on dangerous bombing missions in Europe during the Second World War, and crews had a low survival rate. After being restored nearly 30 years ago, the Lancaster has become an iconic sight (and sound) in Hamilton.

Euan MacDonald, 11, raised $3,500 through a GoFundMe campaign earlier this year to pay for his trip on the Lancaster. (Dave Beatty/CBC)
The WW2 Lancaster Bomber in Hamilton is one of only two still flying in the world. (Dave Beatty/CBC)

dave.beatty@cbc.ca | @dbeatty