Cockpits, Profiles and Logos
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,orignally called the Manchester III. The first prototype BT308 flew from Woodford, Manchester on the 9th January 1941.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 twolarger 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 oneside shut down thus proving the twin fin concept correct.The second prototype DG595 flew on the 13th May 1941 and quickly received authorisation to go for service trials. Whilst there were delays this time was takento 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 simplyoutstanding giving greater speed and a higher operating ceiling. The first RAF unit to receive the Lancaster was 44 (Rhodesia) Squadron with the first three aircraftarriving 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 fouraircraft returned safely after the five hour mission.The Last RAF sortie by a Lancaster was flown by an MR3 RF325 on 15th October 1956.