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BBMF Lancaster service at Duxford update and new nose art for 2017
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Post BBMF Lancaster service at Duxford update and new nose art for 2017 
Thought this might be of interest - from BBMF club newsletter:

BBMF Lancaster PA474 departed RAF Coningsby on Thursday 6th October 2016 – a few days ahead of schedule, due to anticipated weather problems the following week – and flew to Duxford, where it is now undergoing a scheduled 6-month ‘major’ servicing under contract. The crew for the flight to Duxford were: Flight Lieutenant Tim ‘Twigs’ Dunlop (captain), Flight Lieutenant Neil ‘Faz’ Farrell (co-pilot), Wing Commander Mark McNulty (navigator) and Flight Lieutenant Jim Stokes (flight engineer). The Flight was sad to see the Lancaster receding into the distance, in the knowledge that there will be a large unfilled space in the hangar across the winter months and visitors to the hangar at Coningsby will not be able to view the iconic bomber. Work on the Lancaster at Duxford is being undertaken by a team from the Aircraft Restoration Company in a brand-new, purpose-built hangar at the airfield, which was officially opened in September by Air Marshal Stuart Atha CB DSO MA BSc RAF, Deputy Commander Operations and a former BBMF pilot. The new hangar has been named the ‘Stephenson Hangar’ in honour of Air Commodore Geoff Stephenson CBE, the Officer Commanding 19 Squadron at Duxford in early 1940. Visitors to the Imperial War Museum at Duxford will be able to see work in progress on PA474 from a small viewing area alongside the new hangar at no extra charge. The Lancaster’s ‘major’ maintenance programme of scheduled work includes a strip of the airframe and the removal of all four engines, which will receive routine maintenance. The wing structure, the elevators, rudders and engine bearers will then all be inspected for corrosion or cracks with non-destructive testing (‘x-ray’) techniques. Any faults found will be rectified, as will the minor defects deferred to this ‘major’, and the Lancaster will then be re-assembled.

Some aviation enthusiasts have incorrectly stated on social media sites that the work at Duxford will include replacement of the Lancaster’s tailplane. This is not the case, as there is still considerable life remaining on the existing tailplane spar, in excess of three display seasons’ flying, and the new tailplane is not yet ready. The tailplane will be changed at a convenient opportunity during a future winter servicing at Coningsby. (The Club members’ newsletter for June this year carried the full story.)

The Lancaster will also receive a “Depth C” re-paint, which is a rub-down (‘scuff’) and re-paint. The “Depth D” re-paint, taking the aircraft back to bare metal, was completed on the last ‘major’ servicing in 2006-7 and only occurs every other ‘major’. The colour scheme will remain that of a ‘Main Force’ bomber during World War Two and PA474 will take on two new ‘identities’, one on each side of the aircraft.

The port (left-hand) side of PA474 will represent 460 (RAAF) Squadron Lancaster W5005, ‘AR-L’, “Leader”, with its large and colourful artwork of a kangaroo playing bagpipes, indicating the origins of one of its crews, Australian and Scottish. W5005 flew 44 successful bombing ‘ops’ with 460 Squadron from May to December 1943. It was then transferred to 550 Squadron with which it completed a further 50 ‘ops’. It was ditched in the Humber Estuary in August 1944 returning from its 94th operation, a bombing raid on Kiel, therefore narrowly missing out on becoming a ‘Ton-up Lanc’. Some sources incorrectly state that this artwork was worn by Lancaster JB607, ‘AR-N’, but this is not the case as that aircraft was lost on only its ninth operation and could not have displayed 30 ‘ops’ on its mission log.
Meanwhile, the starboard (right-hand) side will wear the 50 Squadron code letters VN-T, the identity of the 50 Squadron Lancaster flown on 27 ‘ops’ by the current OC BBMF’s grandfather, Flying Officer Douglas Millikin DFC. The crews’ wireless operator, John Tait, is still alive and has visited the BBMF at Coningsby.
The full background stories to the Lancaster’s new ‘identities’ will, of course, be told in the RAF Memorial Flight Official Club Yearbook for 2017, due out in the spring.
The BBMF is looking forward to getting PA474 back for the 2017 display season, ready for many more years’ flying.

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Thanks Al for bringing up this picece of news. Good

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