The Hunt for "Lanky"

Our thanks to great number of aircraft buffs at the Mynarski Facebook page for helping putting the story together on KB860.
It all started with a small photo sent to us of KB860, although at that time we were not aware it was KB860, just one of 419's Lancaster's parked in Nova Scotia after arriving back from the UK in June of 1945. We could make out a giraffe painted on the side and the letter "L" on the fuselage what appeared to be the word "Lucky". With the help of Lisa it was found out to be "Lanky" not "Lucky" and she located a larger photo of the nose section showing the giraffe and the name large and clear.
Then I found I did have a larger version of the original full side view photo, the one shown here. The same night someone sent their copy of the side view of Lanky which Lisa had discovered online. This original copy is in sepia tone and somewhat clear. Everything seems to be fine until.....

18 Ops or 2 Ops ?


Until the number of operations, each shown in the shape of a chamber pot, completed by KB860 was eighteen when only two operations could be found listed in the ORBS. So new mystery. Where did the other 16 ops come from. Thanks to Dom Howard who provided us with the Form 78 on KB860 the history of what was to become VR-L "Lanky" showed that KB860 arrived in the UK November 21st and was at No.20 Maintenance Unit until December 15th, one report shows it going to 419 squadron in February of that year.
KB845 was the current VR-L at that time until lost while crashing on return from on operation, that was March 5th. On March 13th KB860 was going through Air Tests when problems occured on the aircrafts metal skin, it was taken out of service for repairs. The first appearnce in the ORB shows KB860 now as VR-L, "Lanky" first flown by F/O Retallack's crew on April 10th, then on April 16th by F/O Lambroughton and crew. Then on the 19th of April another accident is recorded has happening with the aircraft then being out on repairs until the 24th.of April.
So why are there 18 operations shown on "Lanky", not too sure! Do you know why? KB860 was stored at Medicine Hat until 1948 then stuck off, a very short career.

Summary of Accident Reports


First Accident


During an Air Test flight on March 13th of 1945 the test pilot reported that the starboard mainplane skin was badly wrinkled. Technically speaking it was explained as “overloading underside rivets are sheared at about rib No.20 and serious skin wrinkling along spar effect similar to outboard engine producing twist in mainplane nose down”.

Second Accident


On April 19th while on a training flight pilot performed a 60 degree bank turn from 10,000 feet to 2,000 feet with an airspeed of 250 to 275 mph. No blame was attached to the pilot. Explanation of damage and cause was “Skin wrinkling due to excessive “G” in full dive. Considered due inadvertant excess of stick force”… rest is unreadable.