"Spirit of Caledonia"
Avro Lancaster Type 683 Mk 10
If you have any information (or photos) you can add, I would be pleased to include it here,
please drop me a line email@example.com
Following the mention of the talk by Dick Richardson (BCal newsletter September 2016) some more information has come in for the delivery flight of the Lancaster by BCal crew. My thanks to Tony Creasey for sending in the information.
There are some postal commemorative covers, newspaper clippings and also a press release / crew bio with details of the crew and some of their recollections of the flight too.
The task was a daunting one in view of the fact that this Lancaster had only flown some 16 hours in the past ten years and the mission amounted to the safe delivery of a priceless piece of history to Sir William Robert’s Strathallan Aircraft Collection in Scotland. The aircraft is a Lancaster Mk X with Packard built Merlin 28s - one of about 250 produced by Victory Aircraft in Canada.
Details of its service career are somewhat sketchy; it is known that twice before it had flown the Atlantic - once when flown by the RCAF and again on its return in 1945. On this flight it was flown the 5,539 miles by a group of British Caledonian Airways crew.
Captain P. A “Mac” MacKenzie DSO, DFC in command. Captain MacKenzie joined 83 Squadron RAF during the Battle of Britain flying Hampden Bombers, Manchester’s and eventually the Avro Lancaster. He completed a full tour of 42 missions in Bomber Commands Pathfinder Force. He left the RAF in 1946 and by 1948 was chief pilot of Skyways - East Africa. Later he became Flight Captain of Air Charter’s Britannia fleet; the on to British United Airways. Upon the creation of British Caledonian Airways in 1971 Captain Mackenzie was appointed General Manager of Flight Operations and in 1973 he became Director of Flight Operations.
Captain G Moore, served in the RAF flying Wellingtons, Lincolns in 214 Squadron, Lancaster’s in 149 Squadron and also B29s. Captain Moore’s first civil aviation post was as a First Officer with Hunting-Clan, a predecessor company of British Caledonian. He became Chief Training Captain and later Viscount Fleet Manager. Transferred to BAC 1-11’s he became Chief Training Officer before being appointed to his present post of BAC 1-11 Fleet Manager for British Caledonian. Before boarding the last Lancaster Flight he received the Queen’s Commendation of Valuable Service to Air Transport.
Navigation Officer David Kemp joined the RAF in 1949 specialising in navigation. He flew Ansons, Wellingtons, Lancaster’s, Shackletons plus Air Sea Rescue helicopters. On leaving the RAF he joined Air Charter as a navigator flying Tudors and DC4s. His present post with British Caledonian is Manager - Navigation.
Senior Flight Engineer Stanley Banfield spent three years as an RAF Lancaster flight engineer during the Second World War as part of 463 & 467 Squadrons. He joined Bond Airways and took part in the Berlin Airlift flying the Halifax Halton, a converted WWII Bomber. Following a short time as Flight Engineer for Trans Canadian Airways TCA he joined Air Safaris before joining British Caledonian.
Dick Richardson, a technical member if staff at the Strathallan Aircraft Collection has had the formidable responsibility of getting the Lancaster back into flying trim (its last flight having been in 1972) in order to qualify for a temporary C of A to cover the delivery flight to Scotland.
Last Lancaster across the Atlantic
Facts connected with the flight from the crew
"Cockpit instrumentation and aid available to us was fairly basic. The flight had to be carried out in VMC by day and we had no modern means of precision navigation at all. Most of the navigation was by dead reckoning except when flying on airways over Canada where we had some radar surveillance. The only effective radio navigation aid was a VOR with a 40 mile range”.
(VMC = visual meteorological conditions; VOR = VHF Omni-directional Range [radio system])
"On arrival at Toronto we were parked in a prominent position and surprised at the size and nostalgic enthusiasm of the crowds. A gang of middle aged airmen took upon themselves the task of cleaning down the aircraft as a “labour of love”.
"The departure from Toronto for the leg to Gander was prefaced by an amusing incident. The Lancaster was given take off priority over a TriStar, DC-10 and DC-8 and when one of the commercial jets queried this with Toronto ATC they replied “Gentlemen today it is age before beauty”.
"Direct HF communication with Gander and Iceland centres was not good and we relied largely on the “big boys” at 35,000 feet to relay our hourly positions. Air Canada, KLM, British Airways and Air France all came to our assistance and we would like to thank both them and the other international carriers who were monitoring our progress across the Atlantic."
Lancaster from Canada
The Avro Lancaster which is to join the Strathallan Collection in Scotland is scheduled to arrive at Abbotsinch airfield, Glasgow, at 13:00hrs next Tuesday, May 20th. It will have flown from Edmonton, Canada, via Toronto, Gander and Reykjavik, a 34 hour flight spread over six days.
Strathallan’s Lancaster from Flight
The Strathallan’s collection greatest prize yet - an Airworthy Lancaster -is to join other flying Second World War types at the Perthshire Airfield following a trans-Atlantic flight commanded by Captain P.A MacKenzie of British Caledonian. The airline’s flight operations director, a former Lancaster captain, will be accompanied by a BCal crew of three, all who have served on Lancasters.
The Lancaster is a Canadian built MK 10, KB976. It has been on a private airstrip in Edmonton, in the ownership of Northwestern Air Lease of St. Albert, Edmonton. The aircraft was in the United Kingdom from March 1945 to June 1945 with 405 Squadron at Linton-on-Ouse. It remained in service with 408 Squadron RCAF undertaking maritime reconnaissance and survey work until the middle of 1964; it was subsequently used as a water-bomber.
The Lanc is in good condition, according to a detailed engineering survey led on Strathallan’s behalf by Dick Richardson, who was formerly in the RAF in charge of the Service’s airworthy Lancaster at Waddington.
The Canadian Ministry of Transport is certificating the Lancaster on behalf of the British Civil Aviation Authority. Mr Richardson tells Flight that the co-operation of the Canadian Air Force has been “unbelievable”.