BBMF Lancaster email

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melcragg
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BBMF Lancaster email

Post by melcragg »

I received this yesterday from the BBMF Newsletter

The questions “When will the Lancaster fly home?” and “Why is the Lancaster still at Duxford?” have been a recurring theme on social media for a couple of weeks. Answers posted on those platforms, sometimes with apparent authority, have often been ill-formed or simply incorrect.

Members of the Official Club have been kept well informed via the monthly newsletters of the extensive work that has been carried out on Lancaster PA474 during its ‘Minor Plus’ maintenance programme in the Aircraft Restoration Company’s Stephenson Hangar at Duxford, which commenced in November 2020. Completion of the maintenance programme was slightly delayed from the original schedule due to emergent issues requiring additional work, but the Lancaster was declared serviceable and ready for air test by 21st August. It was moved out of ARCo’s Stephenson Hangar and put on show temporarily in the Conservation Area of the Imperial War Museum’s Airspace hangar at Duxford, allowing visitors there to see the big bomber from the viewing gallery.

The post-maintenance air test is now planned for Saturday 11th September, with Sunday 12th as a back-up. The aircraft will land back at Duxford for contracted post-air-test checks before returning to Coningsby, hopefully later the same day.

The reason for the delay in flying the post-maintenance air test and subsequent return flight to Coningsby is entirely down to the prevailing weather conditions and specifically the surface wind strength and direction. Duxford’s single hard runway is shorter than the required minimum runway length published in the BBMF regulations for the Lancaster. This is based on the ‘modern’ requirement to be able to accelerate to lift-off speed (90 knots or just over 100 mph) and, should it be necessary, abort the take-off, decelerate and brake to a stop in the remaining runway distance. In order to do this on Duxford’s runway the headwind needs to be in the order of 10-15 knots. As aircraft wings work with air speed and not speed over the ground this means that the Lancaster would already have 15 knots of airspeed before it starts moving down the runway and so it would reach lift-off speed in less distance, leaving more runway to stop if required.

Duxford’s runway is 24/06, meaning that it is orientated to 240 degrees magnetic (West-South-West) and on the reciprocal 060 degrees (East-North-East). The latter direction is not acceptable for the Lancaster as it points towards the earth bank on the edge of the airfield with the M11 motorway beyond it. In order to fly the Lancaster out of Duxford, therefore, the surface wind needs to be westerly to south-westerly with sufficient strength to provide the required headwind on runway 24. The recent weather pattern which has been stuck over the UK for an unusually long period of time has not provided surface winds of those strengths or directions. So, until the weather pattern changes to produce westerly winds the Lancaster is unable to take off from Duxford.

During the Second World War Lancasters were operated from airfields with three runways arranged in an ‘A’ shape so that the wind was never more than about 30 degrees off the nose for one of the six possible take-off and landing directions. In addition, the accelerate/stop calculations were not applied and crews had a ‘white knuckle ride’ on every operational take-off because the aircraft were loaded to the maximum with bombs and fuel, meaning that if one engine failed during the first few minutes of flight the outcome was an inevitable crash. That wartime risk-taking mentality cost the lives of some crews and is obviously not appropriate to today’s operations with the BBMF’s precious Lancaster.

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Tommy
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Re: BBMF Lancaster email

Post by Tommy »

Frustrating not to see it at the Victory Show last weekend (as they would have put in an absolutely belting topside(s)!) but it’s all perfectly reasonable and understandable, to be fair.

No point rushing things nor cutting corners with any warbird, let alone such an important piece of history.

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Re: BBMF Lancaster email

Post by reheat module »

Thank you for the removal of any ambiguity.
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farnboroughrob
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Re: BBMF Lancaster email

Post by farnboroughrob »

It does make me laugh how angry people seem to get on SM about aircraft that have been around for all of my life. Yes the Lanc has had and on/off few years and not been seen much but it is not like every airshow goer hasn't seen it at some point. Imagine the outcry if something went wrong during the test flight and it ended up as a pile of smoking wreckage? People really need to lighten up.

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Pen Pusher
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Re: BBMF Lancaster email

Post by Pen Pusher »

BBMF ground crew have preped it an it appears ready to fly.
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hunterxf382
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Re: BBMF Lancaster email

Post by hunterxf382 »

Airborne on flight test right now!!!

https://www.flightradar24.com/PA474/291c7c51
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Napper Bantock
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Re: BBMF Lancaster email

Post by Napper Bantock »

She’s up - East Abeam Coningsby

Domvickery
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Re: BBMF Lancaster email

Post by Domvickery »

Apparently had an engine issue & landed at Conningsby on 3 engines
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Re: BBMF Lancaster email

Post by Pen Pusher »

And it wasn't the engine that developed a problem during the test flight at Duxford.
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cg_341
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Re: BBMF Lancaster email

Post by cg_341 »

You have to wonder at what point the RAF need to call it quits? Two, separate, engines issues in the space of one afternoon....after a prolonged period of maintenance and a delayed departure due to it being at an airfield where the ASDA isn't suitable in one direction.

Mike
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Re: BBMF Lancaster email

Post by Mike »

cg_341 wrote:
Sat 11 Sep 2021, 7:01 pm
You have to wonder at what point the RAF need to call it quits? Two, separate, engines issues in the space of one afternoon....after a prolonged period of maintenance and a delayed departure due to it being at an airfield where the ASDA isn't suitable in one direction.
Yeah. About time they cut the old thing up for scrap. It can’t be safe operating these old wrecks, they might plummet into a school or a nunnery.

cg_341
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Re: BBMF Lancaster email

Post by cg_341 »

Do you work for the Daily Mail?

You seem to have taken what I said and turned it in to hyperbole.

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Forestfan
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Re: BBMF Lancaster email

Post by Forestfan »

cg_341 wrote:
Sat 11 Sep 2021, 7:01 pm
You have to wonder at what point the RAF need to call it quits? Two, separate, engines issues in the space of one afternoon....after a prolonged period of maintenance and a delayed departure due to it being at an airfield where the ASDA isn't suitable in one direction.
A couple of technical issues aren't a reason to give up on the most iconic aircraft in the RAF's inventory, and neither is an operating restriction. The aircraft has to demonstrate rigorous airworthiness standards and is very well looked after. Snags happen, even after a maintenance period, on any aircraft.

Long may she continue.

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Re: BBMF Lancaster email

Post by tomkil »

cg_341 wrote:
Sat 11 Sep 2021, 7:57 pm
Do you work for the Daily Mail?

You seem to have taken what I said and turned it in to hyperbole.
Mike's response was ironic I think - I'm not at all sure yours isn't too!

Napper Bantock
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Re: BBMF Lancaster email

Post by Napper Bantock »

So a donkey wasn’t well - she had three more to rely on, was massively under wartime MTW and had exceptionally experienced hands on at the time

stickshaker
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Re: BBMF Lancaster email

Post by stickshaker »

Napper Bantock wrote:
Sun 12 Sep 2021, 11:34 am
So a donkey wasn’t well - she had three more to rely on, was massively under wartime MTW and had exceptionally experienced hands on at the time
As long as you can somehow tell that the other three might not have the same problem - or that the problem hasn't been caused by the fuel which is common to them all?

Stagger2
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Re: BBMF Lancaster email

Post by Stagger2 »

That new E-10 fuel must be Sh##ey Mc Shi## :poop: for the Lancaster! :grinning: :innocent:

Marathon Milkshake
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Re: BBMF Lancaster email

Post by Marathon Milkshake »

cg_341 wrote:
Sat 11 Sep 2021, 7:01 pm
You have to wonder at what point the RAF need to call it quits? Two, separate, engines issues in the space of one afternoon....after a prolonged period of maintenance and a delayed departure due to it being at an airfield where the ASDA isn't suitable in one direction.
Far better looked after than any airliner, I'd trust her to fly me safely anywhere!
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CJS
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Re: BBMF Lancaster email

Post by CJS »

The info in the original post is very interesting. I've often wondered why WW2 airfields had the A shaped runway configuration - now I know 👍🏻

Hopefully the issues can be resolved ASAP.
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effects
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Re: BBMF Lancaster email

Post by effects »

Marathon Milkshake wrote:
Sun 12 Sep 2021, 7:47 pm
cg_341 wrote:
Sat 11 Sep 2021, 7:01 pm
You have to wonder at what point the RAF need to call it quits? Two, separate, engines issues in the space of one afternoon....after a prolonged period of maintenance and a delayed departure due to it being at an airfield where the ASDA isn't suitable in one direction.
Far better looked after than any airliner, I'd trust her to fly me safely anywhere!
So is every aircraft in the RAF.
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DerekF
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Re: BBMF Lancaster email

Post by DerekF »

That'll be why military aircraft have such great reliability statistics.

Napper Bantock
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Re: BBMF Lancaster email

Post by Napper Bantock »

stickshaker wrote:
Sun 12 Sep 2021, 1:46 pm
Napper Bantock wrote:
Sun 12 Sep 2021, 11:34 am
So a donkey wasn’t well - she had three more to rely on, was massively under wartime MTW and had exceptionally experienced hands on at the time
As long as you can somehow tell that the other three might not have the same problem - or that the problem hasn't been caused by the fuel which is common to them all?
Goodness me - glass half full - ground them all just in case!

cg_341
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Re: BBMF Lancaster email

Post by cg_341 »

Yes that's often what happens in the real world of commercial aviation where rose tinted spectacles about a 80-year-old aircraft don't exist.

My point is that for the past however many years, it's been issue after issue, prolonged maintenance programme after prolonged maintenance programme.

To arrive back from a test flight with an engine out, them to depart back for base and have a different engine out, is absurd. If that'd have happened with a BA 777 at Cardiff then BA would be doing some serious work in to what's going on, and likely grounding their fleet in the meanwhile.

Why can the maintenance not be performed somewhere where it's safe to operate in all directions of a runway? At Coningsby they don't even use a runway - they use a taxiway - if there's even a hint of crosswind. That's got to be an interesting safety case with the MAA!

You know what, the more I think about it, the more the operation of the Lancaster leaves me with questions.

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Pen Pusher
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Re: BBMF Lancaster email

Post by Pen Pusher »

cg_341 wrote:
Mon 13 Sep 2021, 8:25 am
To arrive back from a test flight with an engine out, them to depart back for base and have a different engine out, is absurd.
It didn't arrive back at Duxford with an engine out, it was still running. There was nothing wrong with the engine, it was a gauge indication. Any way, the Lancaster can fly safely on 3 engines and I have seen the Catalina flying on one engine.
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DerekF
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Re: BBMF Lancaster email

Post by DerekF »

Interesting that the MAA would allow operations from a base where basic performance criteria cannot be met. The accelerate stop distance is a function of airspeed and groundspeed (for the decel part) and to mitigate the risk on the basis of a wind speed is interesting to say the least. The fact that a Lancaster can fly on three engines (not safely as it will have reduced or no redundancy) is neither here nor there. It would be interesting to see some statistics about the overall safety of warbirds.

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