Lancaster NX611 ‘Just Jane’ – Major Announcement

Lancaster B.VII NX611 Just Jane in her hangar at East Kirkby just received a major boost to her restoration from an overseas delivery... check out the latest report for details!
Aircorps Art Dec 2019


As our regular readers know well, Avro Lancaster B.VII NX611 Just Jane is undergoing rebuild to airworthy condition with the Lincoln Aviation Heritage Center (LAHC) at former RAF East Kirkby in Lincolnshire, England. While we just reported on the deal which the LAHC worked out with the South Yorkshire Air Museum regarding the rear fuselage of Lancaster B.X KB976, they have followed this announcement with an even more significant arrangement. They will be collaborating with les Ailes Anciennes, the team restoring Lancaster B.VII NX664, a sister-ship to Just Jane, at the Musée de l’Air et de l’Espace in the suburbs of Paris, France. We felt our readers would love to see Andrew Panton’s report on these details, reproduced here with permission…

MAJOR RESTORATION ANNOUNCEMENT!!

We have some very special news for you!

Over the last two years, we have been working with les Ailes Anciennes at le Bourget in France to create a plan which can help both Just Jane and Lancaster B.VII NX644, which the French team is restoring. NX664 rolled off the same production line, just a few dozen places after NX611, at the Austin Motor Company satellite plant in Longbridge, Birmingham. She is currently under restoration with les Ailes Anciennes at le Bourget near Paris, France.

As you know, we can typically only perform major restoration work on NX611 during the winter periods each year since the aircraft must be in taxiable condition during the summer season to help raise the funds we need for her continued restoration. Due to this schedule, there are various restoration tasks which we know cannot be completed within any particular six month, off-season period; the biggest of these tasks involving the wings, of course.

As a result, we have been networking with many of the Lancaster groups/owners around the world to find cooperative areas of mutual benefit, as you will have seen from our recent dealings with the South Yorkshire Air Museum and the rear fuselage of KB976. Through these conversations, we have developed a plan to help both les Ailes Anciennes in France and ourselves.

While les Ailes Anciennes has made great progress with NX664’s fuselage, they have yet to tackle the aircraft’s wings – so here is the plan we have conceived to assist each team. We will borrow NX664’s outer wings, one at a time, and bring them to LAHC. We will start with NX664’s port wing, first building a jig to mount it in and then restoring it into a taxiable condition. Once this wing is ready, we will swap it out for NX611’s port outer-wing to allow Just Jane to continue her taxi-runs over the following season.  NX611’s port outer wing can then take its turn in the jig and undergo restoration to airworthy condition. This means that we can work on the wing for a full twelve month period without having to stop and start.

Once NX611’s port wing is finished, it will go back on the airframe, at which point we can return NX664’s port wing to France and repeat the same process with the starboard outer wing in a similar fashion. We are expecting this to be a 4 year plan and it certainly presents the biggest and most complex aspect of the whole project. While all the wing project is underway, we will still be restoring the rear fuselages for KB976 and NX611, hopefully making up the time we lost due to COVID, so that the restoration as a whole will still meet our 10 year plan to have Just Jane back in the air.

This wing project has huge benefits for NX611, as we can get a jig made without disrupting the taxy run season. We can also learn a lot about the wing and the best methods for working on it before we even attempt the airworthy restoration for NX611, and furthermore, we can have a full, 12 month period working on each wing, making the restoration proceed much more efficiently.  The added benefit to the warbird world and all those whom love the Lancaster is that another example will get her wings refurbished as well – so what’s not to like!

There is just one problem, however. Since we will be running the wing project alongside the rest of the restoration, we will need to raise an additional £500,000 over the next four years to fund the additional effort. To help manage this target, we have started a Gofundme campaign so that anyone can donate to the project and we can spread the news about this huge step forward.

Just Jane’s GoFundMe WINGS DONATION LINK

We would be so grateful for any support you can give us whether it be financial or by sharing the link for the campaign on social media, over the internet and/or by word of mouth.

For those in the UK who would prefer to donate by cheque, please send them to the address below.

Panton Bros – Lancaster Restoration Fund
Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre
East Kirkby Airfield
East Kirkby
Lincs
PE23 4DE

Or you can donate online, but please note that it is for the WINGS FUND HERE

This is the single best opportunity we have to take a huge step forward with NX611‘s restoration to airworthy condition. I cannot over stress how exciting and important this step is!

What’s more, we’ve already started!  The first wing has already arrived and you can see photos of the delivery below.  Special thanks must go to Welch’s Transport who moved the wing for us – the had to spend 65 hours in customs at Calais before receiving clearance to proceed to the UK.

Stay safe and thanks for your support!

Andrew Panton

NX664’s left outer wing arriving at East Kirkby. Note the original all-white paint dating back to the aircraft’s time as WU-21 within the Aéronavale’s Escadrille 9S in New Caledonia. NX611 served in this same squadron. NX664 had an accident on Wallis Island during the early 1960s and sat abandoned there until May, 1984, when les Ailes Anciennes orchestrated her recovery back to France. While the Musee de l’Air allows les Ailes Anciennes hangarage to perform the restoration, they contribute no funds towards it. Once completed, however, the aircraft will go on display within the museum, however. (image via Andrew Panton)
Unloading the trailing edge for NX664’s port outer wing at East Kirkby. (image via Andrew Panton)
NX664’s port outer wing trailing edge and aileron. (image via Andrew Panton)
Unloading NX664’s port outer main plane. (image via Andrew Panton)
Gently lowing NX664’s port outer main plane within the hangar at East Kirkby. (image via Andrew Panton)
NX664’s port outer mainplane, wingtip and flap safely inside the hangar at East Kirkby. The team will be building a jig with which to begin their restoration of these critical parts very soon. (image via Andrew Panton)

That’s all for this particular update. We hope that you have enjoyed reading it. As can be seen, a lot of work remains to be done, but the aircraft is well on the way back to flying condition. It is being done in a methodical and careful manner in order to keep the aircraft available for ground-running operations during the summer months. For those interested in helping support this important project, please click HERE

Be sure to check out their store HERE as well… There are many cool items to buy which will help get Just Jane back in the air!



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