Ever wondered what it was like to pilot one of the RAF’s World War II heavy bombers that featured giant bubble canopies, or to see the Earth whip by in stereo from the plexiglass enclosed bombardier’s seat in the very nose of such a beast?
Now you can find out, and not in some grainy black and white footage from the war. Click through the jump for some awesome footage that MoD cameramen shot from inside the RAF’s Avro Lancaster bomber as it overflew London for Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee yesterday. (It’s the four-engined plane shown above, flying with a Hawker Hurricane and Supermarine Spitfire, but you knew that.)
The Lancaster was RAF Bomber Command’s main heavy bomber during the war, where it was used to pound targets in Germany during nighttime raids starting in 1942. The U.S.’ fleets of B-17 Flying Fortresses and B-24 Liberators had the unenviable job of pummeling German targets during the daytime, in full view of Nazi antiaircraft gunners and fighter planes.
Random fact: A later evolution of the Lancaster design, the Avro Shackleton, would serve in the RAF from the 1950s until 1991 as a maritime patrol and airborne early warning plane.
Watch the video and just imagine sitting in the glass-nose of the Lancaster as you try to put bombs on target while AA artillery explodes all around you.