THE owners of the Mynarski Memorial Lancaster have cancelled its engagements for this weekend, after it suffered an oil leak which left smoke pouring from one of its engines.

It was taking part in a demonstration flight from Durham Tees Valley Airport, near Darlington, yesterday morning, less than 24 hours after entertaining hundreds of enthusiasts during a nostalgic flypast.

Darlington and Stockton Times:

The bomber is named after Canadian war hero Andrew Mynarski, who flew missions from the airport during the Second World War, when it was known as RAF Goosepool.

It was coming in to land after a 30-minute flight over Hartlepool and Saltburn, when pilot Don Schofield became aware of an oil leak on the starboard outer engine.

The aircraft landed safely, with no injuries to anyone on board.

There was no fire, although plumes of white smoke were seen coming from the affected engine.

Darlington and Stockton Times:

It taxied to a hanger, where engineers have been investigating the cause and significance of the leak.

The Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum, which owns the aircraft, cancelled the plane's engagements for the weekend, dashing plans for it to appear alongside the world's only other airworthy Lancaster at air shows in Bournemouth and Milton Keynes.

Captain Schofield told The Northern Echo: "During a brief flight, with museum members on board, the aircraft suffered an internal oil leak on the starboard outer engine.

"The aircraft landed perfectly safely. There was never any hazard to anyone's safety, but the oil spilled in to the exhaust system, and that's what caused the big cloud of white smoke."

Affectionately known as Vera, the Lancaster is on a three-month visit to the UK and is scheduled to return to Canada on September 22.

Firefighters were called, but were turned back while en-route to the airport, as there was no fire.

An airport spokesman said: "The Lancaster has been returned to the hangar and engineers are conducting tests to determine the cause of the fault."

The Mynarski Lancaster touched down at the airport on Wednesday as part of a two-month programme of flyovers and airshows across the UK.

Selected guests and veterans were given the chance to get close to the plane after it touched down on Wednesday, ahead of Thursday's flypast.

It was built in 1945 and served as a maritime patrol aircraft before being retired by the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) in 1963.

After a period in storage the Lancaster was restored and returned to the skies in 1988.

RCAF officer Andrew Mynarski was posthumously awarded a Victoria Cross for attempting to save a comrade after they were shot down over Cambria, France, in 1944.