Engineers hope that iconic Lancaster will be airborne by Tuesday after engine repairs

WORKING HARD: Engineers and aviation enthusiasts are working tirelessly to fix the Mynarski Memorial Lancaster. Picture by David Thompson

PLANE GROUNDED: The Mynarski Memorial Lancaster is undergoing repairs. Picture by David Thompson

PLANE GROUNDED: The Mynarski Memorial Lancaster is undergoing repairs. Picture by David Thompson

PLANE GROUNDED: The Mynarski Memorial Lancaster is undergoing repairs. Picture by David Thompson

COMMEMORATIVE EVENT: Event held at the St George Hotel and Durham Tees Valley Airport to commemorate Second World War hero Andrew Mynarski and the arrival of a Lancaster bomber from Canada. The Lancaster bomber being viewed by those attending the event.

COMMEMORATIVE EVENT: Event held at the St George Hotel and Durham Tees Valley Airport to commemorate Second World War hero Andrew Mynarski and the arrival of a Lancaster bomber from Canada. The Lancaster bomber in flight. Picture: Chris Booth

ENGINE PROBLEM: The dramatic moment the Lancaster came in to land on Friday with smoke pouring from its damaged engine Picture: GEOFF HILL

First published in News
Last updated
by , Reporter (Darlington)

WORK is progressing well on fixing the Mynarski Memorial Lancaster and it is hoped the plane will be airborne again by Tuesday.

The Lancaster, which arrived at Durham Tees Valley Airport on Wednesday, was the focal point of a celebration day on Thursday but was forced to cancel its weekend engagements after engine trouble.

The plane had suffered an internal oil leak on the starboard outer engine as it was coming in to land after a 30-minute demonstration flight over Hartlepool and Saltburn.

Four engineers from the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum – which owns the plane – have worked tirelessly throughout the weekend to get it back in the sky.

They sourced a replacement Merlin engine from the Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre at East Kirkby airfield near Skegness and work to remove the damaged engine is taking place today (Sunday, August 31).

The engineers plan to install the new one on Monday.

It is hoped that the Lancaster will be ready to fly again on Tuesday and if it does, it will visit East Kirkby to meet up with the heritage centre’s RAF Lancaster Just Jane.

It will then fly in formation with the RAF Lancaster from Coningsby over Just Jane, which presently only ground runs.

David Thompson of The Cleveland Aviation Society has helped the engineers with the repairs and said that the crew worked non-stop in less than perfect conditions and with very little technical tools and kit.

He said: “The problem will be lifting the Merlin out as they have no lifting frame or hoist which will need to be found to do the job safely.

“Their Tuesday date with Jane looks a bit tight but if they make it then it will all be down to the hard work and ingenuity of the four Canadian engineers, as ever - the unsung groundcrew coming to the fore.”

The engine trouble has meant that the plane missed a several scheduled appearances over the weekend including at Bournemouth and Shoreham airshows.

The Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum has used social media to thank people for their support and for the donations of money it has received to help cover the unforeseen expense of getting the Lancaster fixed.

Comments (4)

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8:29pm Sun 31 Aug 14

Robert_ says...

Hope it goes well. Won't be putting me and my son in it though x
Hope it goes well. Won't be putting me and my son in it though x Robert_
  • Score: -7

9:24pm Sun 31 Aug 14

waterglen says...

How come there is no lifting frame or hoist available, has all servicing of aircraft been stopped as are most flights.
How come there is no lifting frame or hoist available, has all servicing of aircraft been stopped as are most flights. waterglen
  • Score: -5

5:55pm Mon 1 Sep 14

Spy Boy says...

Engines are usually changed by manufacturers and at designated service facilities. Back in 45 there would have been equipment available here, but these days the only dedicated equipment would be at RAF Conningsby, where the BBMF is located, or East Kirkby, where another Lancaster resides. As you can see, the engine is already mounted, which shows how versatile the skilled team of engineers can be. Nice to see that the aircraft is being worked on in one of the original RAF hangars, just like in WWII.

The aircraft is now fitted with 3 Packard built Merlins and a Rolls Royce Merlin. All Canadian built Lancasters were fitted with the Packard Merlin, built under licence from Rolls Royce. Basically, the same engine that powered the P-51D Mustang fighter. The R R Merlin series powered Spitfires, Hurricanes, Mosquitos, Beaufighters, Halifaxes, Battles, Defiants and many other famous aircraft.
Engines are usually changed by manufacturers and at designated service facilities. Back in 45 there would have been equipment available here, but these days the only dedicated equipment would be at RAF Conningsby, where the BBMF is located, or East Kirkby, where another Lancaster resides. As you can see, the engine is already mounted, which shows how versatile the skilled team of engineers can be. Nice to see that the aircraft is being worked on in one of the original RAF hangars, just like in WWII. The aircraft is now fitted with 3 Packard built Merlins and a Rolls Royce Merlin. All Canadian built Lancasters were fitted with the Packard Merlin, built under licence from Rolls Royce. Basically, the same engine that powered the P-51D Mustang fighter. The R R Merlin series powered Spitfires, Hurricanes, Mosquitos, Beaufighters, Halifaxes, Battles, Defiants and many other famous aircraft. Spy Boy
  • Score: 6

1:27am Wed 3 Sep 14

Spy Boy says...

I believe that it was the BBMF that supplied the spare engine.
I believe that it was the BBMF that supplied the spare engine. Spy Boy
  • Score: 1
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