Ever watched the “Dam Busters” or “One of our Aircraft is missing” and wondered what it would be like to fly in a WW2 plane like the Lancaster Bomber?
Well if you live or are visiting Ontario then wonder no more and go visit The Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum, Hamilton
This is a living museum featuring aircraft used by Canadians or Canada’s Military from the beginning of World War II up to the present. Unlike many Aircraft Museums that are more like airplane mausoleums, many of the vintage aircraft in this museum’s collection actually fly
So back to my opening line, it houses one of the only two operating Lancasters in the world, and the only one on the world that “joe public” can book a one hour flight on.
To any WW2/History buff this is an incredible opportunity – this aircraft is around 70 years old and thanks to the untiring efforts of the volunteers at the museum is kept in tip-top flying condition – however like all of us it will have an expiry date. Yes it is expensive, but a priceless unique experience and because a proportion of the cost is deemed to be a charitable donation, there is a tax break to be had.
You can also book flights on the following:
North American Harvard
Avro Lancaster Bomber
This museum also has static vintage aircraft both inside and outside and wonderful volunteer guides such as Ken Murphy who conducted a wonderfully lucid and colourful explanation of some of the aircraft outside the hanger namely a:
Buffalo 461 similar to the one that was assigned to a peacekeeping force and shot down by three Syrian missiles on August 9, 1974 killing all the crew – inside a poignant memorial exhibit to that mission.
Jet trainer the T33
Inside, as a backdrop exhibit to the Avro Lancaster was a visual display depicting a scene from the Lancaster’s most famous sortie of all, immortalized in the story of The Dam Busters raid on the Ruhr valley and it’s dams, on May 19,1943.
19 Lancaster bombers specially modified to carry the Barnes Wallace “Bouncing bomb” led by Commander Guy Gibson, managed to breach two of the three targeted dams and lightly damage a third. However this daring and “successful” mission cost the 671 squadron dearly with 8 aircraft shot down, 53 aircrew killed and 3 taken prisoner.
Whilst in the museum you can also climb into the cockpit of a real WWII trainer or jet fighter (Avro CF-100).
There are also interactive flight combat simulators and a host of educational experiences: the most exciting in my opinion being one where uniformed groups (guides/scouts etc) can spend the night sleeping amongst the aircraft!
Amongst other activity the museum hosts gala dinners in the shadow of the majestic Lancaster, with the WW2 vibe enhanced by live Big Band musical and dancing amongst the vintage aircraft – awesome
Keep an eye out for the plaque – outside the canteen – of my 6% of separation acquaintance Air Commodore Len Burchall – what a man; what a life!