Brother and sister make aviation history by taking control of Lancaster Bomber

Brother and sister Andrew Panton and Louise Bush take control of the Lancaster Bomber at Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre, in East Kirkby. Photo by A & K Markham photographers.
Brother and sister Andrew Panton and Louise Bush take control of the Lancaster Bomber at Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre, in East Kirkby. Photo by A & K Markham photographers.

History was made at the Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre last week when a brother and sister team piloted the Lancaster Bomber.

Pilot Andrew Panton and flight engineer Louise Bush took control of the historic aircraft to give a group of 10 people a thrilling ‘taxy ride’ around the grounds.

“It’s the first time we know of in history that a brother and sister have taxied a Lancaster Bomber. I do not know for sure, but it could also be the first time that there has been a female flight engineer.”

The pair, who both work at the site, are the grandchildren of Fred Panton, who along with his brother Harold, set up the museum in 1988.

The ‘taxy ride’ sees paying passengers driven around the site – including a speeded-up pre-take off style experience.

“For many people it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, getting to experience the sights, sounds and smells of the aircraft,” said Andrew.

The Lancaster is one of only three in the world – the other two are in Cananda and Coningsby. But unlike these, the one owned by the centre is currently not able to fly.

However, plans are afoot to get the famous plane back into the skies, with aircraft parts currently being obtained to restore her to her full glory.

The restoration will take 18 months – but could see her fly again by late 2014.

The Aviation Heritage Centre was set up as a memorial to Bomber Command – and as a tribute to Fred and Harold’s eldest brother Christopher Whitton Panton, who was shot down and killed during a bombing raid over Nuremberg in March, 1944.