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Looking Back: The Victory Lancastrian

Canadian engineering converts British WWII bomber into early transatlantic transport.


October 1, 2007
By Raymond Canon

Topics

190-lookbackAfter the end of World War II thousands of aircraft of all shapes and
sizes were declared redundant to military requirements and turned into
scrap. A few were sold at rock-bottom prices to be used as corporate
aircraft, racers and in some cases chicken-coops. At the Trenton Air
Base enthusiasts are busy reconstructing a Halifax bomber and there
have been numerous other activities of a similar nature.

One
such move was with the Avro Lancaster, a rebuilt flying model of which
is now located at the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum at Hamilton
International Airport. The Lancaster, the most widely used of the
British 4-engined bombers during the Second World War was recognized
early as an aircraft having other possibilities. In 1942 Victory
Aircraft, Avro’s Canadian subsidiary at Malton where the Lancaster was
being produced, decided to take two of the existing airframes and
convert them to a passenger configuration.

The following year
the first completed aircraft, Lancaster XPP, made its initial flight
and, while both it and the second aircraft were eventually lost, one
over the Atlantic in 1944 and the other as a result of a fire during an
engine run, this was not before they set a speed record across the
Atlantic, flying from Dorval to Prestwick in 12 hrs, 26 minutes. Their
overall performance was enough that Trans-Canada Air Lines (now Air
Canada) had Canadair build a further five examples CF-CMS and CF-CMV-Z.

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