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It’s a plane!

Okay, not my picture. I stole it from this Sun article from Armed Forces Day. But that is totally what it looked like.

We were at a village fete, standing in the churchyard, when we heard the most extraordinary noise, and THIS went over. Low and slow.

It’s a Lancaster bomber, and it had an escort of Spitfires. It was spectacular.

Wikipedia tells me there are seventeen of these left and only two airworthy: “Of the 7,377 aircraft built, 3,736 were lost during the War (3,249 in action and 487 in ground accidents). Today 17 remain in complete form, two of which are airworthy, and eight of which are in Canada. Only four of the surviving 17 – KB839, KB882, R5868, and W4783 – flew combat sorties over continental Europe during the War.”

Where we are, the sky was black with these once. This one was flying commemorative events all weekend. We saw it again on Sunday, when we were driving to the cat sanctuary. I managed to whip out my phone and take three pictures of a completely empty sky.

I almost lead with one of those pictures, but I actually like you guys.


Comment from Uncle Al
Time: July 24, 2018, 9:32 pm

That’s a nice photo, stoaty, and I don’t care where it came from!

Totally empty, i.e. featureless, sky is hard to get enthusiastic about, but cloud photos can be very nice, especially cumulus, stratoculumus, and cumulonimbus clouds photographed with a polarizing filter. Hint hint.

Comment from Subotai Bahadur
Time: July 24, 2018, 10:04 pm

You have my envy. I am a military history buff, have been since I could read. Just before we went into Iraq, I was at one of the largest Highland Games in the country at Estes Park. I had just finished talking with a drummer from the Scots Guards and heard a noise. It was a DeHaviland Vampire [one of the earliest fighter jets] and a Spitfire [Mk. 9?] flying low and slow over the Games. I built a lot of models of Spitfires as a kid, but thought I would never see a real one in flight. Seeing a Lancaster brings to mind 617 Squadron, Guy Gibson, and Wallis Barnes.

Comment from p2
Time: July 24, 2018, 11:05 pm

had the unique experience of clambering about on one of those, along with a B-17 and a few fighter types at an open house at RAF Bentwaters back in the 80’s. 40th anniversary of the war’s end or some such. it was surprising how small they were. i worked on A-10’s at the time and both bombers weren’t much bigger…

Comment from gromulin@gmail.com
Time: July 24, 2018, 11:56 pm

Four Merlins in a row must sound fabulous.

Comment from sassamon
Time: July 25, 2018, 12:38 am

Lancaster Bomber, I have a soft spot for them.

I was in England January 9, 1991 which was the 50th anniversary of the first flight of the prototype Lancaster.
I had talked with my contacts at the AP office in London and they contacted RAF and they had no information about any celebrations. 🙁

I had hooked up with a client of the company I was working with and he was willing to drive me to RAF Coningsby which is the home of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Visitor Centre. The museum staff were very friendly and allowed us to actually go into the hanger where the Lancaster was undergoing winter maintenance. This was a great day for me and I have fond memories of my visit.

There is also a Lancaster at the Royal Airforce Museum in Colindale which I have visited twice. Also at the Royal Airforce museum is a Vickers Wellington which was designed by Barnes Wallis who also designed the specialty bombs dropped by 617 squadron.

On my bucket list is to get a flight on The Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum’s airworthy Lancaster which provides flights for donors to the museum.

Comment from CantHarkMyCry
Time: July 25, 2018, 2:05 am

Ric would have loved this. . .Cool, thank you! Long may they fly!

Comment from tomfrompv
Time: July 25, 2018, 5:29 am

Barnes Wallis and the Dam Busters. Nothing better than that in Brit air war history, IMO. I’m old enough to remember seeing the original movie before it was edited by the PC police. If you watch it now, you can’t understand why the radio seems to go dead when the heroes send back the code word for a successful mission and everybody goes nuts.

Well, it had to be bleeped out lest the tender ears of the PC crowd start to bleed.

And oh yeah, the dog that starred in the movie (and inspired the code word) was killed by a jeep just prior to the raid. In the movie we get to see its grave marker, but the pup’s name is blurred for PC reasons.

I wonder if Britain would have won the war had the PC crowd been in charge.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: July 25, 2018, 11:11 am

Tom, you’re a gentleman. I appreciate you not wanting to sully my blog with the ultimate radioactive word, 2018.

For them what don’t know, the little dog’s name was Nigger.

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: July 25, 2018, 11:31 am

My apologies, tomfrompv – earlier I wrote a response to you but the Weasel’s blog appears to have eaten it.

The short answer is, I fear, no: decades of cultural Marxism preached in schools and by the MSM have rendered both our countries incapable of fighting anything as awful as WWII. Sadly, mine has been even more afflicted than yours, I suspect.

Then again, I was pretty sure we had been terminally enfeebled at the time of the Falklands war and I was proved wrong. There are signs of a fightback against the prevailing fashion and it could be that the transformation has been only skin deep. I hope we never ave to find out.

Comment from Deborah HH
Time: July 25, 2018, 11:58 am

Ain’t that something! I’d like to see one in person. If I were insanely rich, I’d sponsor contests to give rides to schoolchildren. A remnant of believers, so to speak.

Comment from DurnedYankee
Time: July 25, 2018, 1:41 pm

I like the Lanc, and the Spit, well that goes without saying – even Hermann Goering liked the Spitfire.

No, the special spot in my heart has always been for the de Havilland Mosquito, “The Wooden Wonder”, when it comes to British aircraft.

And the Juggernaut, the Republic P47 Thunderbolt, for American aircraft. Being tough and bringing it’s pilots home alive the British were reputed to say it was because pilots could climb down from the cockpit and run around inside the fuselage to avoid fire during combat.

And there is nothing in the world quite like the sound of an inline, or rotary, engine from one of these WWII era birds.

Comment from BJM
Time: July 25, 2018, 2:47 pm

I had a similar experience. We lived near a general aviation airport, mostly supporting CHP & news choppers, weekend pilots and biz jets. One sunny July morning as I’m watering plants on the front deck the mother-of-all-engine-noise clamoured above me as a B-17 and two P-51’s rose above our canyon rim…it was magnificent!

But…it gets better. I mentioned this to a friend who’s hubby is a WWII buff. Turns out that his father piloted a B-17 with his (the son’s) name on the nose. Like the Lancaster, only a few Flying Fortresses remain airworthy and they tour the summer airshows.

Yep, he was booked and took the ride of his life. He wore his dad’s flight jacket and brought a signed photo of his dad and crew in front of the Little Tommie and now he has a photo of himself with a B-17 and the crew to complete the circle.

Oh, and I’ve flown in a P-51…some fifty years ago at the Reno Air Races. Amazing and scary when the pilot, a family friend who flew Mustangs during the war, performed a flyby inverted 100 ft over the deck.

I’ve also ridden with a Ferrari test pilot, but that’s another story….

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: July 25, 2018, 3:38 pm

Great plane, the P-51. Some say the best of the era – with its Rolls Royce engine, of course 😉

Comment from DurnedYankee
Time: July 25, 2018, 7:05 pm

“almost lead with one of those pictures, but I actually like you guys.”

You know, you’re really the nice to your imaginary friends. The others don’t treat us nearly this well.

Comment from tomfrompv
Time: July 25, 2018, 7:42 pm

I had to laugh at Sweasel’s blatant response. I wonder if the term “N-Word” shouldn’t be banned too.

I mean nobody could name their black dog N-Word, right?

Or start a joke with “Two N-words walked into a bar…”

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: July 25, 2018, 9:32 pm

I’ve always felt like a complete idiot saying “N-Word.” It just seems like something a six-year-old would say to avoid making Jesus mad.

Comment from Steve Skubinna
Time: July 26, 2018, 3:35 pm

The small general aviation airport down the road from me (well, about thirty miles down) hosts a B-17 and a B-24 every year during summer. We just had them in last month.

They fly several times a day, and part of their route is low along the Hood Canal. That brings them across the front of my parents’ place, not much higher (we’re at the 500 foot level). You can always identify those four big radials a long way off.

Comment from SCOTTtheBADGER
Time: July 30, 2018, 4:40 am

Last weekend was Heavy Bomber Weekend in madison, Wisconsin’s State Capitol. They had a B-17G at the Dane County Airport, and Doc, one of only two airworthy B-29s left in the world. Rides in Doc went from $600.00, for a gunner’s position seat, to $1600.00 for the Bombadier’s seat.

Comment from SCOTTtheBADGER
Time: July 30, 2018, 5:11 am

Eric Brown, the worlds greatest test pilot, said his two favorite fighters of the war at sea in WWII, were the Grumman F6F Hellcat, and the Vickers-Supermarine SeaFire, the carrier version of the Spitfire. He said the Hellcat was like a heavy weight boxer, armed with an ax, while the Seafire was a ballerina with a switchblade.

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