The Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre at East Kirkby celebrated its 25th anniversary in style on 20 July with a Bomber Meet - this innovative event featured taxy runs by Lancaster Just Jane and flying displays by the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight's Lancaster PA474, although the star display act on this occasion had to be Sally B, the only airworthy B-17 Flying Fortress on this side of the Atlantic. The Duxford based aircraft was making its first appearance at East Kirkby since 1993 and gracefully thundered through a thrilling display with its four Wright R-18200-97 Cyclone radial engines presenting a very different sound in the airspace over East Kirkby to the Merlin types we are more accustomed to.
Flying in huge numbers from East Anglian airbases, the B-17 (along with the B-24 Liberator) was critical to the USAAF's WWII daylight precision bombing campaign over Europe. Flying in formation and armed with 13 machine guns, the type was christened "Flying Fortress" with good reason. The B-17 was also renowned for being able to bring its crews home with terrible battle damage inflicted on bombing raids over Hitler's "Fortress Europe".
Returning to the 25th anniversary, both Phillip and Harold Panton spoke of the museum's early days besides an excellent display of photographs from the early days. In fact Harold recalled concerns he and the late Fred Panton had about the opening of the museum on 18th July 1988. There was a fear that despite vigorous local advertising no one would in fact visit! Well, after twenty five successful years of attracting visitors, aviation enthusiasts, Bomber Command veterans and TV film crews from literally all around the World, they clearly need not of worried!
Also present at the museum were numerous motorbikes visiting as part of the Buell bike meet, a few pictures are included in the gallery below. The next major event at L.A.H.C. is the eagerly anticipated annual airshow on 3 August. Please note tickets need to be purchased in advance; for more details and tickets sales please visit this LINK.