Avro Lancaster

The Avro Lancaster was developed from the twin engined Avro Manchester, powered by four 1,145hp Rolls Royce Merlin X engines, and with a lengthened wing, originally called the Manchester III. The first prototype BT308 flew from Woodford, Manchester on the 9th January 1941.

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BT308 had the triple fin of the Manchester, and at about this time it became known as the Lancaster. Following early flight trials the triple fin was replaced by two larger fins, the central fin being removed. It was first flown in this form on 21st February 1941 and on its second test flight was flown with both engines on one side shut down thus proving the twin fin concept correct.

The second prototype DG595 flew on the 13th May 1941 and quickly received authorization to go for service trials. Whilst there were delays this time was taken to fully review the aircraft and its systems.

The first production machine L7527 flew on 31st October 1941 and differed from the prototypes in having 1,280hp Merlin XX’s and its performance was simply outstanding giving greater speed and a higher operating ceiling. The first RAF unit to receive the Lancaster was 44 (Rhodesia) Squadron with the first three aircraft arriving on Christmas Eve 1941.

The first operation was on 3rd March 1942 when four aircraft flew a mine-laying sortie to Heligoland Bight at the mouth of the River Elbe in the North Sea, all four aircraft returned safely after the five hour mission.

The Last RAF sortie by a Lancaster was flown by an MR3 RF325 on 15th October 1956.

Total produced: 7,377

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B.I & B.III

There were more B.I’s built than any other mark of Lancaster. Powered by the Merlin XX, 22’s or 24’s. The first production example carried out its maiden flight on 31st October 1941.

The B.III was the same as the B.I but powered by American Packard built Merlin 28, 38 or 224 engines. The different designation was used as the engines had different servicing requirements to the Rolls Royce produced Merlins. The first B.III’s were converted B.I’s R5849 & W4114.

 

B.I & B.III Specials

These aircraft were modified to carry loads in excess of 12,000lbs. These were the Earthquake bombs, the Tallboy & Grand Slam. These bomb loads had to be carried under-slung in the ‘cutaway’ bomb bay area and the aircraft were fitted with more powerful Merlin 24’s. The extra designation ‘Special’ was applied to aircraft modified in various ways for specific weapons..

The B.III Specials, also known as the Type 464 Provisioning, these were 23 specially modified Lancaster's to carry the 9,250lb ‘Upkeep’ bouncing bombs. All the aircraft were operated by 617 Sqn for the Dambusters raid of 16/17th May 1943. The bomb was carried in a specially designed structure that could rotate it at 500rpm for it to ‘bounce’.

 

B.II

These aircraft were built by Armstrong Whitworth and powered by the Bristol Hercules VI or XVI radial engines. Hercules engines were used as there were not enough Merlin's. The aircraft could attain a similar speed as the Merlin powered version but had a lower ceiling and greater fuel consumption. There were 300 B.II’s built and No’s 61 & 115 squadrons operated them between March 1943 & April 1944.

 

Mark X

These aircraft were built Victory Aircraft in Malton, Ontario, Canada and fitted with Packard Merlin's. Later examples had the Martin mid-upper turret. Parts were fully interchangeable with British built parts.

 


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Cockpit Revolution has been developing cockpit posters for the last 5 years and are drawn by a Flight Engineer using his expertise in aircraft engineering and training.

All the posters are based upon the manufacturers documentation, visits to the aircraft and simulators and photographs.

The posters are drawn to no specific configuration, phase of flight or switch position. If you require a specific configuration, phase of flight or switch position then please contact us.