‘Just Jane’ Lancaster bomber
Wednesday, 2nd January, 2013
A Lancaster bomber featured in Dr Who could soon become the third airworthy plane of its type in the world.
Dr Who: behind the scenes
The bomber, Just Jane, is currently used for taxi rides at Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre.
Fred and Harold Panton, the centre’s owners, are restoring it as a tribute to their brother – who was killed in a Lancaster in 1944.
They have taken delivery of a fourth Rolls Royce Merlin engine, which they said was key to getting it airborne.
Fred Panton said: “We are hoping she will fly one day soon, and as sure as night follows day she will.
Fred Panton said the project would take about 14 months to complete
“But before we start, we want to get everything in airworthy condition, so when we do we can do the whole job in 14 months
“If we were to take the engines out of Just Jane and send them away [to be repaired] it could take up to three years.
“The new engines will save time.”
Mr Panton added: “I didn’t realise until the last engine was handed over that there are 11,000 parts in a Merlin engine – it gives you some idea how complicated it is.
“And to think these were built just before the war.”
Mr Panton and his brother bought the Lancaster (Avro NX611) in 1983 and brought it from RAF Scampton to their museum in East Kirkby. It last flew in 1971.
The museum has also acquired a new undercarriage, turret and tyres for the plane, which was featured in the 2011 Christmas episode of Dr Who.
The episode, The Doctor, The Widow and The Wardrobe, starred Alexander Armstrong as its pilot.
At the moment there are only two airworthy Lancasters – one in the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight at Coningsby and one at the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum in Hamilton, Ontario.
Just Jane: Two Farmers and a Lancaster by Jenny Walton
The background story of Just Jane, and the story of how two farming brothers came to own such a magnificent aircraft.
In wartime Britain, the cartoon heroine “Jane” appeared regularly in The Daily Mirror and boosted morale during the Blitz and thereafter by taking her clothes off during periods of bad news. The model for Jane was Chrystabel Leighton-Porter.