I stood below it. A massive black shadow covered me as I looked up at one of the world’s most deadly aircraft of the Second World War. This Avro Lancaster is one of two left flying in the world (the other is in England) and it’s home is the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum in Hamilton, ON. Officially dedicated as the “Mynarski Memorial Lancaster”, this warplane is named in honour of Victoria Cross recipent, P/O Andrew Mynarski who sacrificed his own life to save that of his tail gunner as the bomber he flew was shot down by the Germans.
What’s so special about this war plane? Why does the Lancaster hold such a special place in the constructed memories and histories of Canadians? Well for starters, it’s massive. According to the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum, with a wingspan of 102 feet and a length of 69 feet 6 inches, the Lancaster Bomber was considered a heavy bomber because it was the only Allied plane that could hold both a 12000 pound Tall Boy bomb along with 22000 pound Grand Slam bombs. Post-WWII the Lancaster was still used in several mission until its retirement in 1964.
Today, you have the chance to ride in one of these planes yourself…if you have the cash. At $3000, members of the museum can pay to take an hour long ride in the bomber. According to the volunteer helping us upon our visit, Saturdays in the summer can sometimes see up to twenty rides in one day!
P.S. If you saw this week’s episode of the Rick Mercer Report, I can assure you I did not steal his idea! I was as baffled as you by the coincidence.