A pair of Second World War bombers will fly over Northamptonshire this weekend in a sight rarely witnessed in the last 50 years.
The only two airworthy Lancasters on the planet will fly together at the annual airshow at Sywell Aerodrome, named this year, the Sywell Great War Air Show.
One is a Battle of Britain Memorial Flight aircraft and the other – nicknamed Vera, as it is has the registration V-RA – has been loaned from a Canadian museum and has flown from North America via Iceland and five other stop-offs at a cost of about $3m Canadian.
The Canadian Lancaster’s story contains the award of a Victoria Cross to one of its former pilots following an act of wartime heroism.
He rescued his tail gunner when the back of the plane caught fire, but in doing so his own parachute was destroyed by the flames.
Although the pilot fell to his death, the gunner reported his crew mate’s heroism.
Damien Burke, a volunteer for the event, said: “The Lancasters are big aircraft so there’ll certainly be no aerobatics; it’ll be quite a gentle flypast.
“But people will be able to see them go by with the landing gear down and tilted so you can see the bomb bay doors open.
“Because of the logistics it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
As a result of the rare flight – as well as an appearance from the Red Arrows, a Spitfire and a Hurricane – advance tickets only will permit entry and there will be no on-the-gate sales.
A spokesman said “We have been amazed by the popularity of the show and are delighted to have sold out. However traffic on the day will be extremely heavy and if you can, please car-share.
“We implore people not to come unless they have a ticket already as there will not be any ‘on-the-gate’ tickets for sale. With such a popular event we must remind people that the police will be patrolling the perimeter of the airfield and any illegal parking may well prove to be expensive for you.”