Avro Lancaster PA474
Operator: Battle of Britain Memorial Flight
Year of Manufacture: 1945
Powered by: 4 x Rolls Royce Merlin XX
Colour Scheme: Royal Australian Air Force 460 Squadron
PA474 was built as a B Mk 1 (B1) by Vickers-Armstrongs Ltd at its Broughton factory near Chester in 1945 and was to be part of the British Tiger Force for strategic bombing in the Far East. Following the end of the war with Japan the aircraft was not needed and PA474 entered storage. With gun turrets removed it was assigned to Photographic Reconnaissance duties with 82 Squadron in East and South Africa.
On return from squadron service PA474 was loaned to Flight Refuelling Limited to be used as a pilotless drone. Flight Refuelling used an Avro Lincoln instead and PA474 was then transferred to the College of Aeronautics, Cranfield, Bedfordshire to be used for trials on the Handley Page laminar flow wing. The test wings were mounted vertically above the rear fuselage.
In 1964 PA474 came under the control of the Air Historical Branch for possible display in the proposed RAF Museum. During this time the aircraft appeared in two films: Operation Crossbow and The Guns of Navarone. PA474 was stored first at Wroughton and then at Henlow then, after a request in 1965 from 44 Squadron, the Lancaster moved to RAF Waddington for restoration back to wartime standard including refitting the front and rear turrets.
PA474 was transferred to the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight in 1973.
In 1975 a mid-upper turret was found in Argentina and fitted. During the winter of 1995 the Lancaster was fitted with a new main spar to extend the flying life.
On 7 May 2015, the aircraft suffered a fire in its starboard outer engine. A safe landing was made at RAF Coningsby. It flew again on 12 October 2015 after extensive work to fix the damage caused by the fire to number four engine. It was later announced that with the ongoing maintenance, PA474 should still be airworthy until 2065.
Images: Harry Measures