Barnoldswick Phantom Bomber

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3 Responses

  1. Mauro says:

    Curious case…
    There are a number of issues about this case I discussed with my brother, who is somewhat of an engineering enthusiast, knows lot about old vehicles and visits aviation museums frequently.
    First of all were the witnesses able to identify the aircraft as an AVRO Lancaster? Or did it simply look somewhat similar to the famous bomber? AVRO built a number of aircrafts based on this successful design, I’ll name just a few: AVRO Lancastrian a civilian airliner and freighter converted from low-hours surplus Lancasters, AVRO York a military transport using as many Lancaster components as possible, AVRO Lincoln a heavy bomber which arrived too late to be used in WWII and AVRO Shackleton, a famous maritime patrol aircraft which was withdrawn from RAF service only in 1991.
    Second in 2004 there were only three Lancaster-based airplanes in flying condition around the world: one Lancaster in Britain (owned by the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight), one Lancaster in Canada and one Shackleton in South Africa. All have been carrying out much restricted operations since the ’90s to save precious airframe hours and because of stricter noise regulations.
    Third: paint. Although the vast majority of Lancasters were painted in the classic British night-bomber scheme (gloss black under and reddish brown/dark green over) there were a very few notable exceptions: for examples aircrafts from the famous No 617 Squadron  were repainted with a different scheme for special daylight missions, light gray under and olive green/sand over. The York was usually painted in the classic late-war camouflage (of which dark grey was a main component), the Lincoln was usually painted in light gray while the Shackleton was usually painted in a bluish hue of gray with white trim. Lancastrians were usually painted in their owners’ livery.
    The temptation of a South African identity is strong but it must be remembered that any activity from these precious aircrafts is well advertised and draws huge crowds of enthusiasts. I haven’t been able to find anything about a Shackleton visiting Britain after a SAAF plane crashed on its way to a British airshow in 1994.

  2. Ian Topham says:

    Excellent points Mauro, as
    Excellent points Mauro, as always I am amazed by the things you know (and your brother of course).  I was just reminded of a second case of a Avro Lancsater ghost, this one at Lady Bower where they practiced for Operation Chastise.

    In his book The Ghosthunters Guide to England, Rupert Matthews mentions the ghostly ghost Lancaster haunting Barnoldswick and the Ribble Valley area.  "When a man who was something of a specialist in military history saw and heard the aircraft, he identified it as a Lancaster"

    So if this is correct, someone appears to have heard the throb of the Rolls Royce Merlin engines and not just seen a silent ghost.  Obviously I dare say the Avro variants would have used theh same engines so it doesn’t rule out mis-indentification.

  3. Mauro says:

    Thanks Ian, you are too
    Thanks Ian, you are too kind.
    The lack of noise is also a conspicous fact, especially considering these venerbale large piston engines, but I had another idea.
    A few years ago I saw a brand new C130J Hercules cargo aircraft over my house. I say "saw" because, despite the low altitude it was unnaturally quiet. But it was no phantom… This new variant is equipped with state of the art Rolls Royce turbine engines and high tech propellers that reduce noise in an almost unearthly way. As I have already said in previous posts modern day military vehicles are unbelievably quiet, both to comply with noise reduction regulations and to make them harder to spot.
    Of course I am not ruling out a ghostly apparition but what if the witnesses misidentified a low-flying Hercules for a WWII vintage airplane?