I’ve already put up a post putting forward my thoughts about this years Lancaster tour, but there was one event in particular that I felt required its own separate page.
Regarded, much like the whole tour, as a pipe dream, the idea of both Lancasters in formation with the Vulcan was thrown around soon after the Canadians announced their plans.
All remained quiet however until the middle of August, once the Canadian Lanc was well and truly on British soil. It was announced that the three Lancasters and the Vulcan would all be on the ground at RAF Waddington and would be departing together for the Clacton airshow. At this point it was not made clear if the three aircraft would actually be forming up together or not.
A few days before the main event the Vulcan to the Sky team released a detailed map showing the route the formation would be taking. It had been my intention to head all the way up to Waddington to see the event, but it was bound to be exceptionally busy so I had concerns. Luckily the final stop of the route was RAF Marham, considerably further South than Waddington. It also just so happened to be RAF Marham’s families day where the two lancs were due to carry out a full display as well as the flypast.
The 21st August came around and we had arrived at a very windy Marham, which didn’t help the nerves as the Lancasters had already shelved a days flying due to high winds earlier in the tour. After watching an impressive two ship display from the Gnat display team it was a case of playing the waiting game. Thankfully news came out fairly early on that all three aircraft were airborne and on route.
Many people had been discussing the fact that another Avro aircraft should have been taking part in this meeting, namely the Avro Anson. Oddly enough no sooner had i mentioned this than the sight of the Old Warden based example appeared over the brow of the runway. I could hardly believe my eyes as it backtracked down to the end i was waiting near and took off. The Anson performed a wide circuit coming into land minutes before the main event arrived. It was a nice touch for those watching at Marham to get a 4 Avro meeting.
Then the wonderful sight and sound appeared, first there was the sound from the Spitfire and Hurricane joining into the hold behind the airfield and then the main event appeared on the horizon. Both Lancasters, with the vulcan in the middle came into view. As the formation neared the end of the runway the Vulcans engines stopped smoking, signalling power being added and the aircraft pulled up out of the formation into a trademark wingover. I didn’t know which way to look as the Vulcan climbed out and the two Lancasters flew low overhead.
This was then followed by a full 10 minute routine from the Lancaster pair which was a wonderful added bonus to the day. Certainly a day I will not forget in a hurry!