Since announcing in late March (click HERE) that Avro Lancaster KB882 will be moving from its home of half a century in Edmundston, New Brunswick to the Alberta Aviation Museum in Edmonton, Alberta, a team has been busy preparing for the re-location. The museum hired Lancaster specialist Tim Mols, of Ingersol, Ontario to lead the complex job of moving this 70-year-old bomber. Mols is an experienced Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (AME) and was the crew chief for the restoration of Canada’s only flying Lancaster at the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum, in Hamilton, Ontario.
Mols has completed an initial on-site assessment of the Lancaster and has found that the aircraft is in better shape than expected, despite its decades of exposure to the elements. Three of the four propellers still turn, which raises hopes that KB882 can be restored to “ground running” condition to allow visitors to hear the roar of its four Rolls Royce Merlin engines. The leadership of the Alberta Aviation Museum has decided to do preliminary work to preserve KB882 at its site near the Edmundston airport this summer and complete the task of moving the aircraft next spring. “It’s a complex job of logistics,” notes Project Director Jack Van Norman. “We want to take the time to do it right. It will also give us more time to raise the money we need to bring the aircraft to Edmonton.” Van Norman estimates that cost at about $350,000. The job will require moving the aircraft, which has a wingspan of 31 metres and a length of 21 metres, to Moncton by road and then to Edmonton by rail. Mols and his crew are still trying to locate the wheel assemblies needed for the first part of the trip. Van Norman notes that they will perform additional work this summer to clean the aircraft’s interior with a special preservative that should make the dismantling task next spring easier.
KB882 is one of only seventeen complete Lancasters still known to survive. One of 430 Mk.X variants built in Canada by Victory Aircraft, it flew about a dozen bombing missions in Europe at the close of World War Two. The aircraft went on to see extensive post-war service with the Royal Canadian Air Force. It received modifications for coastal patrol and Arctic mapping. The Alberta Aviation Museum has decided to acknowledge that role by displaying it in its post-war configuration. Fundrasing is underway, but a major sponsor has come forward to help with the move. Those details will be made public later. But the museum is still looking for individuals and organizations to join their team to help preserve this important part of Canada’s aviation history. Anyone interested in getting involved as a donor, sponsor or volunteer should contact the Alberta Aviation Museum at firstname.lastname@example.org.