Avro Lancaster KB889

Avro Lancaster KB889

Avro Lancaster KB889, on static display at the Imperial War Museum, Duxford.
Avro Lancaster KB889, on static display at the Imperial War Museum, Duxford.

There are currently only two airworthy Avro Lancasters in the world. These include: PA474, operated by the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight in the UK, and FM213, flown in Canada by the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum. However, a number of other ‘static’ survivors also exist, including KB889, which is currently on display at the Imperial War Museum, Duxford.

KB889 was built in Canada in 1944, being the first of a batch of 300 constructed by Victory Aircraft Ltd in Malton, Ontario. The aircraft was powered by four Packard built Rolls-Royce Merlin engines, and was test flown in December before being delivered to Britain in March the following year. The aircraft was posted to No.428 Squadron RCAF (sometimes referred to as the ‘Ghost Squadron’), where it was involved in an accident during a training flight, flipping onto its back during a violent storm, which injured one of its crew. KB889 later sustained unspecified damage during a cross-country exercise in May, but was subsequently repaired. The aircraft returned to Canada on 10th June, later being converted for use in maritime reconnaissance. As such, KB889 saw no active service during the Second World War.

Following retirement from service in Canada, KB889 was put on public display at the Niagara Falls Museum, Ontario in 1965, before being sold to Ken Short in 1968, who intended to restore the aircraft to flight. However, the necessary work was not carried out and the aircraft remained in Oshawa as a static memorial. The airframe was then sold on in 1984 to Doug Arnold, a UK based warplane collector, being shipped to Blackbushe Airport in Hampshire the same year. It was again sold in 1986 to the Imperial War Museum, who had it restored over an eight-year period to a wartime configuration using parts from an Avro Lincoln (RF324).

Since 1994, KB889 has been on display at Duxford, where it can be seen today. It has the civil registration G-LANC. It remains an excellent surviving example of an Avro Lancaster, and a must-see exhibit for visitors to the museum.

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