A Lancaster Bomber that spent 50 years in static display in Edmundston New Brunswick is now at the National Air Force Museum of Canada where crews are working to retore it Plans call for the aircraft to be available for display on the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Royal Canadian Air Force in 2024; but the pandemic cost the project five months. Still volunteers are confident they can make the anniversary deadline and they are working feverishly, albeit under COVID distancing conditions. They are working in rotating shifts of teams of 10 persons. The aircraft has been broken into sections because the floor space is limited. Once all the work is done the plane will be reassembled and painted in its 1950’s RCAF livery. It is not intended to restore the plane to flying condition.
The plane, Avro Lancaster KB 882 was built in November 1944 by Victory Aircraft Ltd in Malton, ON — one of 430 Mk. 10 Lancasters built under licence in Canada. Ferried to England in March 1945, it was sent to 428 “Ghost” Squadron, 6 Bomber Group and based at Middleton St. George, Yorkshire. Wearing the Squadron code NA-R, it flew 11 combat missions prior to the end of hostilities in Europe. KB 882 returned to Canada in June 1945 as it was destined to become part of “Tiger Force”, Canada’s contribution to the air war in the Pacific. The war ended prior to deployment and KB 882 was placed in storage at MacLeod, Alberta.
In 1956, KB 882 was taken out of storage, extensively modified and eventually delivered to 408 “Goose” Squadron at RCAF Station Rockcliffe, Ontario a little more than 12 years since its last operational mission. The most notable modification to KB 882 was to convert it to reconnaissance) configuration with included a 40-inch extension ahead of the cockpit in order to house the additional camera and RADAR installations. For the next 8 years, KB 882 flew a wide variety of photo mapping, intelligence gathering, and photo reconnaissance missions including the surveillance of numerous Soviet ice stations. It was also tasked to conduct photo and intelligence gathering during the Cuban Missile Crisis in October of 1962.
Decommissioned in 1964, KB 882 was bought by the City of Edmundston, New Brunswick and placed on static display at the local airport where it remained for 50 years before bring acquired by the museum.