NASM’s “Great British Fly-in” Adds a Lancaster!

The Smithsonian's Steven F. Udvar Hazy Center will be hosting the Great British Fly-in on April 15th, 2018 in celebration of the RAF's Centenary. The Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum's Avro Lancaster B.X FM213 will be attending, along with a dozen or more other RAF affiliated warbirds. (image by John Dibbs via NASM)

The Royal Air Force celebrates their centenary as an independent air arm today, April 1st, 2018. There are many events taking place around the world in honor of this auspicious anniversary, including a special gathering of vintage military aircraft with close ties to the RAF taking place at the National Air & Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia on April 15th. While we mentioned The Great British Fly-in a few weeks ago, we now have a list of the aircraft scheduled to attend, and it is going to be quite something.

The Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum will be bringing their Avro Lancaster B.X FM213. She rarely ventures far from their museum in Hamilton, Ontario, so this is a major coups for the Smithsonian. FM213 is one of only two Lancasters flying in the world today, and the only one in North America, so it is a rare treat to see (and hear!) this magnificent aircraft fly.

The Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum’s mighty Lancaster FM213. There is nothing quite like the sound of four, closely synchronized Merlin engines roaring together! (image by Doug Fisher via NASM)

Added to this, the Historic Flight Museum will be flying North American B-25D Mitchell 43-3318 all the way across the country from their base at Paine Field in Everett, Washington. She is currently one of only two airworthy D-model B-25s, and flew during WWII with the Royal Canadian Air Force as KL161, though never in combat. The aircraft has flown for over twenty years in an RAF paint scheme with the nickname Grumpy,  a name now synonymous with this particular airframe.

B-25D Mitchell KL161 “Grumpy” will be flying 3,000 miles from her base in Everett, Washington to take part in the Great British Fly-in at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center on April 15th, 2018. (image by Frank Kovalchek via wikipedia)

Other famous aircraft tied closely to the RAF will be attending including the Collings Foundation‘s Supermarine Spitfire Mk.IX BR601 and Spitfire Mk.XVIII SM969 belonging to Lawrence Classics in Arkansas. Three North American P-51D Mustangs will be on hand, as well as a brace of deHavilland Chipmunks, a Percival Provost, two Boeing Stearman trainers in RAF markings and a Shorts Tucano. The complete list of aircraft currently expected to attend and their identities are as follows…

  • Fairchild Cornell Mk.II FZ337 (RCAF 10890)
  • North American P-51D Mustang 44-74202 Swamp Fox
  • North American P-51D Mustang 44-73029 Bald Eagle
  • North American P-51D Mustang 44-73420
  • deHavilland Canada DHC-1 Chipmunk T.10 WP797
  • deHavilland Canada DHC-1 Chipmunk T.10 WP833
  • Percival Provost T.1 WV435
  • Avro Lancaster B.X FM213
  • Shorts Tucano T.1 ZF136
  • North American Harvard Mk.II AJ583
  • Boeing/Stearman PT-17 Kaydet 42-16204
  • North American B-25D Mitchell KL181 Grumpy
  • Supermarine Spitfire F Mk.IX BR601
  • Supermarine Spitfire FR Mk.XVIII SM969

The aircraft will be arriving between 07:30 and 09:45 am, and park outside the Udvar-Hazy Center. Visitors will be able to go on the ramp to see the aircraft following a safety briefing. Activities will also be taking place inside the museum as well (see list below). Not to be missed will be a presentation by 96 year old WWII Lancaster pilot Flight Lieutenant Richard E. Boyd (retired) DFC. The celebrations will conclude with a flyover from the attending aircraft.

So come on out and celebrate the RAF’s centenary with the Smithsonian. A brief synopsis of events is shown below. There will be fun for the whole family!

Outdoor area:
A safety briefing is mandatory for all visitors.
Aircraft arrival 07:30- 9:45
Public access to arrival ramp begins at 08:00 (museum main floor open at 10:00)
Meet the pilots and see current and former Royal Air Force aircraft including a Lancaster Bomber
Meet the students from The British International School that have restored a Piper Pacer
Aircraft departure and flyover between 15:45 – 16:15 pm.

In the Museum:
The Royal Air Force Band performs with The Queen’s Colour Squadron
Re-enactors in Royal Air Force uniforms from the 100 year history (12+)
Learn about the British WWI single-seat biplane fighter the Sopwith Camel with ask an expert
Talk to Royal Air Force Officers about aircraft flown by the Royal Air Force

This extraordinarily rare, original Sopwith F.1 Camel (B6291) is on display at NASM’s Stephen F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia. Learn about the type’s history from the experts during the Great British Fly-in on April 15th, 2018. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)

Presentations on the stage:
Air Vice Marshall Gavin Parker OBE, Defence Attaché USA – History of the Royal Air Force
Flight Lieutenant Sarah Cole – Women in the Royal Air Force
Michael Bishop – Churchill and the Royal Air Force
Aviator Panel Discussion
Flight Lieutenant Richard E. Boyd (retired) DFC – Lancaster Pilot (96yr)
Dr Alex Spencer(NASM Curator UK Aircraft / Seb Cox Air Historical Branch

Hands-on activities 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Take part in the Royal Air Force ‘Design a Badge for Hugh’ Challenge
Take part in the RAF 100 Challenge
British School STEM
Forces of Flight
Take part in a Paper Airplane Design Challenge
Try your hand at Propeller design
Design a Flying Car for Washington DC
Discovery Stations & Interactives throughout the Museum

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