The Avro Lancaster

The Avro Lancaster

The Avro Lancaster is a British four-engined Second World War heavy bomber designed and built by Avro for the Royal Air Force. It first saw active service with RAF Bomber Command in 1942 and, as the strategic bombing offensive over Europe gathered momentum, it was the central implement for the night-time bombing campaigns that followed. It became the main heavy bomber used by the RAF, the RCAF, and squadrons from other Commonwealth and European countries serving within the RAF, overshadowing its close contemporaries the Handley Page Halifax and Short Stirling. The “Lanc”, as it was affectionately known, thus became one of the more famous and most successful of the Second World War night bombers, “delivering 608,612 long tons of bombs in 156,000 sorties.” The Lancaster, an evolution of the troublesome Avro Manchester, was designed by Roy Chadwick and was powered by four Rolls-Royce Merlins, or, in one version, Bristol Hercules engines.

The Avro Lancaster

Born out of the failure that was the Manchester, the Lancaster has become the one bomber most associated with the RAF night offensive over Germany.   When it became clear to Avro’s Chief Designer, Roy Chadwick, in 1938 that the new Rolls Royce Vulture engines intended for the Manchester were suffering from a lack of development, the company set about revising the design to include an additional pair of engines, preferably the well-proven Merlin. As a matter of fact, so dire was the Manchester situation that the Ministry of Aircraft production seriously considered scrapping the production line at the Avro factory at Newton Heath in Manchester after its contract for 200 Manchesters had been completed, and switch to the rival Handley Page design, the Halifax. Fortunately, the plan never came to fruition and Avro was allowed to continue development of the Manchester III (the name Lancaster had not yet been chosen).   In September 1940, a contract was signed with Avro for two prototype aircraft, the first of which was to fly within four months. To do this, Avro was to use as many existing Manchester components as possible to reduce cost and the timescale. Within a month, Avro had had prepared the requisite technical drawings for the Lancaster and things progressed smoothly with the first flight being made on 9 January 1941. The first aircraft was very much a hybrid design, and a more representative aircraft followed in May 1941. The second prototype had larger tail fins, a new undercarriage and improved Merlin engines and the true potential of the aircraft could now be tested. Test flying continued throughout the summer and the first production Lancaster I was flown on the last day of October 1941. Thursday 27th & Friday 28th August 2015,  West Greensward, Clacton Seafront, CO15 1NW
Event opening times: 11.OOam – 5.OOpm. Flights announced so far Vulcan XH558 (Thurs), Red Arrows, Chinook (Thurs), Autogyro, Tigers Parachute Team, Team Raven, Sally B, Tutor & Typhoon, BBMF, Rolls Royce Spitfire, Bulldog T1, MiG 15, La Patrouille Reva.

The Avro Lancaster Bomber

Avro Lancaster Specifications

Avro Lancaster Specifications

Avro Lancaster Specifications

Details for Lancaster I Length: 69ft 4in (21.08m)
Wingspan: 102ft 0in (31.00m)
Height: 20ft 6in (6.23m)
Maximum Speed: 287mph (462km/h)
Cruising Speed: 200mph (322km/h)
Ceiling: 19,000ft (5,793m)
Range: 2,530 miles (4,072km) with 7,000lb (3,178kg) bomb load.
Powerplant: Four Rolls Royce Merlin XX, 22 or 24 of 1,280hp each.
Payload: Up to 22,000lb bombs carried internally. Later versions modified to carry a variety of single high explosive bombs of 8,000lb (3,632kg), 12,000lb (5,448kg) or 22,000lb (9,988kg) for special missions.
Defensive Armament: 2 x .303 Browning machine guns in nose turret, 2 x .303 Browning machine guns in mid-upper turret and 4 x .303 Browning machine guns in tail turret. Early models also had ventral turret with a single .303 machine gun. Special versions were stripped of aramament to carry increased bombloads.
Recognition: Slab-sided fuselage with heavily-framed canopy mounted well-forward on the upper fuselage. Nose, tail and upper rear fuslage contain turrets housing defensive guns. Twin tail unit with unswept horizontal surfaces. main undercarriage housed in the cowlings of the inner engines. Some aircraft had the H2S radar bulge aft of the bomb-bay while a few other carried a mid-lower gun-turret. Avro Lancaster Avro Lancaster Bomber