The National Air Force Museum of Canada in Trenton has announced it has taken on the task of restoring a wartime Lancaster Bomber.
Lancaster Bomber KB 882 was built by Victory Aircraft in Toronto in 1944. After flying several bombing missions with the Royal Canadian Air Force over Germany in 1945, it was returned to Canada and converted into an aerial reconnaissance aircraft. It then spent several years surveying thousands of miles of Canada’s Arctic before being retired to Edmundston, N.B. in 1964 as an RCAF memorial.
After decades of outdoor display, it was purchased recently by the National Air Force Museum of Canada in Trenton, where it will be restored to original, but non-flying condition. Mike Joly is in charge of restoration work at the museum.
“We surveyed the aircraft and found out it’s in better shape than we thought it was, even with sitting there since 1964,” said Joly. “The outside of it is in excellent shape, compared to some of the aircraft we rebuilt here.”
Joly has broken down the restoration project into individual jobs and assigned them to a team of volunteers. He says they are always looking for volunteers and many have shown a particular interest in working on the Lancaster.
The aircraft will join the museum’s Handley Page Halifax Bomber, making the collection unique in having examples of the two major types used during the bombing offensive over Germany. And although KB 882 did see wartime service, it will be restored to the configuration in which it was retired.
Lancaster Project Manager Stu Preston says the museum’s mandate is to tell the complete story of the air force and the aircraft is an ideal representative of the post-war era.
“In my opinion, if we restored KB 882 in wartime condition to a standard Mark 10, put the turrets back on it, that’s ignoring its history with the RCAF from 1945 onto 1964 and that’s a very significant part, that’s our Cold War, it’s a significant part of Air Force history and we need to maintain that as well,” said Preston.
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The restoration work is expected to take five years. When it’s completed, it will be displayed in a purpose-built hangar at the museum.
Cost of the restoration and construction of the hangar is estimated to be around $10 million.