‘Lanc’ and ‘Mossie’ taxi together

The Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre’s annual East Kirkby Airshow on 3 August saw the debut joint taxi run in public by Tony Agar’s Mosquito NFII, HJ711, alongside Lancaster VII NX611 Just Jane. It was the first time examples of both types had moved under their own power at a British airfield on the same day for at least 23 years.

The LAHC’s general manager Andrew Panton told Aeroplane, “I was in the fortunate position to have been selected by Tony Agar to perform the pilot role and take charge of ‘HJ’ for the planned runs. With no Mosquito experience under my belt, and with no obvious way of getting any other than travelling to North America, we had to rely on my multiengine tailwheel experience on NX611 and a heavy dose of pilot’s notes.

“After proving the systems on ‘HJ’ and successfully taxiing her for several runs, thoughts turned to the August airshow and how we could make a spectacle of our two resident Merlin warbirds. It was decided a dual taxi or ‘synchro pair’ would demonstrate both aircraft and produce a six-Merlin symphony unique outside of North America.

“Myself and ‘NX’ pilot Mike Chatterton choreographed on paper a short taxi run and scheduled a practice to make sure it would physically work with the space we had and actually look pleasing to the crowd. Thankfully the public reaction to the ‘synchro pair’ has been very positive!

The Lancaster appears to be more manoeuvrable on the ground than the ‘Mossie’

“The biggest points of note for me were the differences between the handling abilities of the aircraft and the difficulty in judging the distance between them. Even though the Lancaster is by far the larger aircraft, it appears to be nimbler and more manoeuvrable on the ground than the ‘Mossie’, mostly, I’m sure, due to the asymmetric power of the outboard engines. For me the Mosquito is ‘easier’ to taxi due to its size, and it became obvious to me how daunting the Lancaster must have been to new Bomber Command crews coming from the operational training units.”

The magnificent sight of Mosquito HJ711 and Lancaster NX611 taxiing together at East Kirkby. MARTIN KEEN/LAHC