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Flight Journal

Flight Journal

May - June 2021
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Flight Journal is the world’s number one historical aviation brand. It is the go-to publication for those seeking the aviation experience as seen from the cockpit by history-making pilots and through the lenses of the world’s best aviation photographers. The emphasis is on giving readers unexpected aviation information and making them part of landmark experiences in a way that is to be found in no other periodical.

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United States
Air Age Media
6 Issues

in this issue

2 min.
lancs and jugs

It’s easy to view the Avro Lancaster, which turns 80 this year, as just another large, mechanized, and cumbersome war machine that successfully contributed to the Allied bombing campaign between 1941-45. But if you look at each plane individually, there is so much more when you consider the pilots, air and ground crews, and missions. The driving force was the human element—not just the weapons, rivets, and sheet metal. It would start on takeoff when the pilot heaved his plane off the runway and into the air. In our feature story “Legendary Heavy Hitter,” Squadron Leader Clive Rowley MBE RAF (Ret.), a former pilot and officer commanding the Royal Air Force Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, tells the story behind the latest markings for the Flight’s Lancaster Bomber. Its unique nose…

12 min.
legendary heavy hitter

Monday September 6, 1943, 19:48 hours GMT (21:48 Double British Summer [local] time). A green Aldis lamp shone from the runway controller’s caravan beside the runway threshold at RAF Binbrook, on the Lincolnshire Wolds, signaling clearance to take off. The concrete was damp from a recent shower of rain as, with its four Packard Merlin engines roaring under the strain of full power, a Lancaster surged down the runway and its pilot, Australian Flight Sergeant “Jerry” Bateman, heaved his heavily laden charge off the runway and into the air. The sun had just set as Lancaster B III, W5005, AR-L, climbed slowly and thundered off into the gathering darkness. This was the aircraft’s 30th operation (op) over enemy territory and the crew’s 10th op flying it. Nicknamed “Leader,” this bomber carried…

1 min.
avro lancaster 80th anniversary

This is the 80th anniversary of the Avro Lancaster. The first prototype Lancaster, BT308, took to the air on its maiden flight on January 9, 1941, from RAF Ringway, Cheshire. A conversion of the unsuccessful twin-engine Avro Manchester, BT308 had a new wing center section, which increased its wingspan to 102 feet to accommodate four Rolls Royce Merlin engines. Designed by Roy Chadwick, the Chief Designer and Engineer of A. V. Roe & Company Limited, this first prototype Lancaster, or Avro 683 as it was known at that stage, was very much a hybrid. It was originally designated as the Manchester Mk III before being renamed “Lancaster.” It was immediately obvious that it was a successful design that offered great potential. The second prototype, DG595, was much more representative of the…

1 min.
lancaster pa474 history

Lancaster PA474 was built at the Vickers-Armstrong Broughton factory on Hawarden airfield, near Chester, where it was completed on May 31, 1945. The war in Europe had ended just over three weeks earlier, so the aircraft was modified for Far East operations against the Japanese as part of the “Tiger Force.” It was first flown in this configuration in August 1945. Combat operations in the Far East ended before the aircraft could be deployed, so PA474 was placed in storage with just over three hours on the airframe. In June 1947, PA474 was converted to PR1 standard for photographic reconnaissance work. From September 1948 to February 1952, PA474 conducted aerial survey mapping work with 82 Squadron in East and South Africa, accumulating 2,000 airframe hours before being returned to the UK. It…

1 min.
in the cockpit of a lancaster

Flight Lieutenant Tim Dunlop flew the RAF BBMF Lancaster PA474 as a captain for eight display seasons, and he provides this insight: “The Lancaster has all the prestige and is such an important aircraft in the history of the Royal Air Force. Flying such a rare aircraft, with everything she represents, is something that isn’t lost on any of us and brings with it a certain amount of self-induced pressure. Damaging the Lancaster beyond repair is not something that can be contemplated. “Landing always concentrates the mind; the Lancaster doesn’t always behave how you think she is going to, especially in a crosswind. My top piece of advice to new BBMF Lancaster pilots is don’t ever think you have mastered the Lancaster. If you relax for a moment, she will always…

1 min.
battle of britain memorial flight

RAF BBMF LANCASTER B1 PA474 IS A FLYING MEMORIAL TO THOSE WHO SERVED WITH RAF BOMBER COMMAND DURING WW II, ESPECIALLY THE 55,573 WHO SACRIFICED THEIR LIVES. The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF) is an established unit of the Royal Air Force, funded by the Ministry of Defence, and with a commemorative role. In addition to Lancaster PA474, the BBMF operates a Douglas C-47 Dakota, six Supermarine Spitfires of varying marks, two Hawker Hurricanes, and two de Havilland Chipmunk trainers from its base at RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire, England.…