Artefact of the Month Archive

LANCASTER BOMB AIMER CONTROL PANEL

May, 2009

Immediately below the cockpit at the front of a Lancaster bomber were stations for the front gunner in his power-operated turret and for the bomb aimer. This nose compartment for these two crew members was reached by a one step down from the main cabin. The bomb aimer, when in position, had to lie flat on his stomach and look through the large circular perspex blister at the front of the aircraft.

Three miles from the target, the bomb aimer would take over from the navigator in order to direct the pilot towards the aiming position, normally marked by target indicator flares. In late production Lancasters the bomb aimer could even steer the aircraft himself, having controls linked to the rudder and ailerons via the automatic pilot mechanism. During the hazardous thirty seconds run-in to the target, the bomb aimer would give a running commentary to the rest of the crew as he had a clear view forwards and downwards through his optically flat aiming panel. The crew would be waiting for the welcome phrase from the bomb aimer – “bombs gone!”

The Museum has recently constructed an exact replica of a Lancaster Bomb Aimer Control Panel from original parts. Assistance for this project was provided by the Imperial War Museum who allowed access to their Lancaster DV372 cockpit on display at Lambeth. John Elvins, the Museum’s volunteer who carried out this project, was permitted to take photographs of DV372’s bomb aimer’s position to ensure an accurate replica of the control panel.

THE LANCASTER BOMB AIMER CONTROL PANEL CAN BE SEEN DISPLAYED IN THE MUSEUM’S MIDDLE HALL.

Talks by Tangmere

The Museum is able to offer speakers to interested groups or societies on a range of subjects connected with the history of operations at RAF Tangmere and other military aviation subjects.

Further details of the full range of presentations and the availability of speakers can be obtained by calling the museum on 01243 790090, by emailing your interest to director@tangmere-museum.org.uk or by letter marked for the attention of the Director.

Museum Development

The Museum car park has been enlarged and re-laid and audio guides provided with the assistance of LEADER – the European Agricultural Fund for Redevelopment.

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