RAF Lancaster Bomber boosts morale by flying for the first time since lockdown

Britain’s only airworthy Lancaster Bomber has provided a much needed morale boost by taking to the skies for the first time since lockdown.

Avro Lancaster PA474 took to the air for the first flight of 2020. Picture: RAF Coningsby. EMN-200107-100902001

Pilots and engineers from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight put Lancaster PA474 through her paces after taking off from their home base at RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire.

The Lancaster was the RAF’s most famous bomber during World War Two and was immortalised by the Dambusters ‘bouncing bomb’ raid on Germany in 1943.

Built at a Vickers factory in May 1945 - Lancaster PA474 is Britain’s only airworthy Lancaster Bomber and is huge favourite with the Royal Family being flown at ceremonial occasions and airshows across the UK.

Avro Lancaster PA474 took to the air for the first flight of 2020. Picture: SAC Iwan Lewis, RAF Photographer EMN-200107-100914001

Lockdown restrictions meant the famous plane was unable to join the VE Day celebrations in May.

However PA474 was finally able to take to the skies above Lincolnshire yesteday (Tuesday) in front of a crowd of lucky plane spotters and local residents.

An RAF Coningsby spokesman said: “The Avro Lancaster PA474 took to the sky for the first flight of 2020.

“Maintaining the skills of the aircrew and putting the aircraft through her checks.

“It’s so lovely seeing her fly again!”

Avro Lancaster PA474, turned 75 years old on 31st May 2020 having been completed and ready for service at the Vickers-Armstrong factory Chester on this date in 1945.

She is one of only two airworthy Lancaster Bombers in the world - with the other based in Canada. Over 7,000 Lancaster Bombers were made.

Plane enthusiasts were delighted to see PA474 back in the sky.

Rosemary Wilkinson said: “Where would we be now without the Lancaster and the fantastic pilots that flew these wonderful planes.”

Brent Misiak agreed: “An awesome aircraft, thank you to everyone at BBMF for keeping her in such excellent condition and where she belongs.”

Kevin and Julie Bowles added: “Came over our house, so excited to see her up today!”