Flight Journal

In the Cockpit of a Lancaster

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Flight Lieutenant Tim Dunlop flew the RAF BBMF Lancaster PA474 as a captain for eight display seasons, and he provides this insight: “The Lancaster has all the prestige and is such an important aircraft in the history of the Royal Air Force. Flying such a rare aircraft, with everything she represents, is something that isn’t lost on any of us and brings with it a certain amount of self-induced pressure. Damaging the Lancaster beyond repair is not something that can be contemplat­ed.

“Landing always concentrat­es the mind; the Lancaster doesn’t always behave how you think she is going to, especially in a crosswind. My top piece of advice to new BBMF Lancaster pilots is don’t ever think you have mastered the Lancaster. If you relax for a moment, she will always remind you that you haven’t!

“The best thing about flying the Lancaster with the BBMF is the opportunit­y it provides to meet the World War two veterans; they are inspiratio­nal. I’ve been able to learn about flying the Lancaster directly from those who flew them in wartime. I have huge respect for the bravery they all showed, day after day, night after night. When they speak about their experience­s, you can hear a pin drop, with everyone hanging on their every word. It has been a privilege to meet every one of them; without a doubt it is the best part of being a BBMF Lancaster pilot.”

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