Lancaster Bomber Caught Flying in Google Earth

[UPDATE 28-July-2009: The original imagery in the UK showing the bomber is no longer visible in the newer imagery. I’ve changed the link in the story to point to the original imagery from the Historical Imagery mode of Google Earth. Load the link below and click on the clock icon or “View->Historical Imagery”
Bomber in England in Google EarthThis is the Placemark of the day! A lot of folks are publishing this one around the web, so I should make sure all of you get a chance to see it as well. A first time poster at the Google Earth Community posted a placemark to this incredible sight of a fully restored Lancaster Bomber which just happened to be flying just about over his house (which is why he found it). According to other posters in the thread, this is the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Avro Lancaster, normally located in the City of Lincoln, England (see website). But, it happened to be flying about in this Google Earth photo. As someone said, this would be an incredible 500th post in the GEC, but a historic first post. Another vote of thanks for finding this one SergioL.

About Frank Taylor

Frank Taylor started the Google Earth Blog in July, 2005 shortly after Google Earth was first released. He has worked with 3D computer graphics and VR for many years and was very impressed with this exciting product. Frank completed a 5.5 year circumnavigation of the earth by sailboat in June 2015 which you can read about at Tahina Expedition, and is a licensed pilot, backpacker, diver, and photographer.

PLEASE NOTE: Google Earth Blog is no longer writing regular posts. As a result, we are not accepting new comments or questions about Google Earth. If you have a question, use the official Google Earth and Maps Forums or the Google Earth Community Forums.


  1. i think that this is very cool because people can get very good information with this

    53 47 55 N, 109 34 45 E

  3. Those coordinates show an artifact in the satellite photo bought by Google from its supplier.

  4. Eric Gravel says

    I can’t find the shadow of the plane. Somebody, found it ?

  5. The lancaster has the name City of Lincoln, that isnt its home, but it is based at RAF Coningsby in Limncolnshire.

  6. The Lancaster bomber and ones like it regularly fly over my house, the plane is over a housing estate called Stukely Meadows in Huntingdon near RAF wyton where I beleive these planes take off from. I live about 5 miles away.

  7. FAKE! There is no shadow & judging by the relative size of the bomber to the size of the cars, that thing must only be about 10 feet off the ground!!!!!

  8. The shadow is just a little to the front of the plane… the tail of the shadow is right off the plane’s nose.
    This is not a fake. The plane is probably about 250-350 ft off the ground, most likely on the base of his approach to the airbase just to the northeast.

  9. The airbase in question is (or rather, was) RAF Alconbury which is now disused, as can be seen by the ‘X’ markings on the tarmac and the vehicles parked everywhere, so it is unlikely the Lanc is approaching to land.
    The ‘shadow’ does not match the shape of the aircraft and, since the minimum display height would be 800 feet or thereabouts the shadow would be much further forwards given the angle of other shadows on the ground, but where is it?

  10. It is the airbase to the northwest which is disused; the one to the northeast is RAF Wyton, very much still in use. It looks to me that this plane was at a very low altitude on the run in to RAF Wyton, the shadow is presumably there somewhere, but lost amongst the detail of houses and gardens.

  11. The “shadow” you refer to is NOT the shadow of the plane. As was already mentioned, it does not fit the shape. On closer examination you can tell that what it is a shadow of is the adjkoining backyard fences of the various properties.

  12. TechieTypeGuy says

    The plane is PA474 (Dressed as Mickey The Moocher), the only other airworthy Avro Lancaster is based in Canada.
    Based on the Wingspan of around 31m (102ft for non metrics…) the plane is in flight at around 250ft. Those who like trig. can replicate the maths based on whatever assumptions of reference sizes (ie cars/houses/etc) and the accuracy of the elvations provided by Google Earth.



  15. steven cunningham says

    If I was able to work this Google Earth I would open up the area and look for the shadow. But the sun is behind, about 6:30 on a clock face, nearly abaft the plane, and shining down at about 45 degrees. If this is a satellite photo the parallex would be nearly parallel, that is the plane obscures nearly its own size on the ground, just as does the sun’s shadow. The shadow will be ahead of the plane at about the same distance as the planes altitude.

  16. Wow, we can’t find a shadow so it must be a fake…. I can’t find the shadow either, but I can think of a few reasons why not.
    1.The height of the plane and the angle of the sun aren’t known accurately. Being a sat image I can’t see how the size of the plane will vary in any noticable or accurately measurable way if it’s 2ft or 2000ft up.
    2. Unless the plane is very low, the sun (not being a point source) produces a very blurred shadow. The higher up, the harder it is to spot.
    3. The shadow may not be there at all. The relevent ground might be covered by another image at another time.
    4. Or perhaps no-one has looked hard enough in the right place.

  17. I can asure anyone interested, that the Lancaster photo is not a fake, shadow or no shadow. The aircraft is Lancaster Mk3 PA474 ‘City of Lincoln’ built in 1945, one of only two airworthy Lancasters in the world, and is based at R.A.F Coningsby in the county of Lincolnshire U.K, as part of ‘The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight’. At the time of the photo, the Lanc: was flying over the town of Huntingdon in Cambridgeshire on a slight northerly heading making for it’s home base. I have seen this aircraft fly over my home on numerous occasions, once flying quite low doing a 360 degree turn as it did so and I was able to grab a camera and photograph it. I am a member of ‘The Lincolnshire’s Lancaster Association’ which helps to support this aircraft that is still owned by the Royal Air Force. The disused airfield shown just to the north west of the Lanc; is the old R.A.F. Alconbury which at one time was a very busy air base used by the United States Air Force with thier lovely Phantoms. The Lancaster never operates from R.A.F. Wyton.

  18. G. Jones says

    How many escape hatches were there on the Lancaster and where were they placed?

  19. B Webber says

    The Lancaster was a WWII bomber. As such, there are few if any in existance today, and certainly none in military service. This photo seems fake to me.

  20. A LANCASTER flew over my house in Brampton, Ontario Canada, a couple years ago. VERY LOUD, Anyone who lives in that area would be able to confirm the authenticity of the photo. My Grandfather worked on them at AVRO in MILTON ONTARIO.

  21. I reckon it’s positioning right base leg for a fly past or landing at RAF Wyton, the main Lancaster Pathfinder base in WW2 and home to regular air shows. Normal flights would avoid built up and residential areas but the Lanc is somewhat special being only one of two airworthy ones in the world. Now repainted Phantom of the Rhur, PA474, is quite likely to have been flying in that area and at a low height. Good find!

  22. I’ve checked it out on google earth. Unless the chaps at google earth are in the habit of putting misc objects in their pictures, it has to be real Check out the B29 over Manchester & the Lockheed lightening over Croyden!!!!

  23. Richard Groff says

    The coordinates in the post above take me to Mongolia.

  24. ainsley bird says

    Cant belive it on google earth.
    What im really after is information on the lincolnshire flight on the 31 sep.
    My father served with lancs at the end of the war and is 80 this year. time is ticking by and i would like him to see the flight in its full glory.
    Anyinfo would be great

  25. i think he’s happy seeing that. he’s pros got a poser in his house. i wish somethink like that could happen to me. but i will see it in at bit over highclere castle near newbury. i cant wait!!

  26. Fred Burton says

    Re : Lancaster escape hatches . During the WWII era there were three exits for parachuting . The nose hatch ( under the nose and back of the bomb aimers position) , the rear door just forward of the tailplane on the starboard side of the fuselage and the rear gunner could rotate his turret 90 degrees and roll out . In the case of ditching there was also a htach over head in the pilots canopy . The Lancs I flew in were MK III’s refitted for coastal command work on the 50’s and we also had a large hatch where the mid upper turret used to be to get out and launch a life raft we carried in the equipment bay . There was also a self inflating raft ( in salt water) located in the starboard wing just behind the engines .

  27. re
    “The Lancaster was a WWII bomber. As such, there are few if any in existance today, and certainly none in military service. This photo seems fake to me.”
    well duh!

  28. can someone check these co-ordinates out they really weird sum1 sed it was a ufo but it aint… i dont fink
    61 17’58.92″N 149 37’25.62″W

  29. Leasa Janssen says

    Just this past Saturday, a Lancaster Bomber flew over our farm, very low and made two passes. It also did the same over areas near by. It took a couple of days but we were able to find out that the plane took off from the Hamilton Airport (I am in Ontario Canada) and was giving WW2 vets rides. It was huge, loud and low.

  30. Nice to find the “other” Lanc. We regularly see “ours” as it it is located at the Canadian Warplane Museum ( and flys regularly. As it tend to hear it more often than see it though due to the trees in the area.

  31. Jonathan Brown says

    it could be that there was an air show in the area every year when we have an airshow near scunthorpe we have a lancaster silhouette fly over our town at a very low altitude

  32. Dillon Tonkin says

    Just to end the doubt, this is completely genuine.
    I like near RAF Wyton in Cambridgeshire, UK, and have a few hundred photos to prove the regular sightings of the Lancaster here, as well as Hurricanes, Spitfires and the Vulcan.
    A Spitfire treated us to a short display before landing just yesterday, and is due again today.
    Magnificent machines!

  33. john mackenzie says

    With this year being the 70th Anniversary of The Battle of Britain, the Lancaster ” City of Lincoln ” together with the Spitfire and Hurricane have been at airshows most weekends since early June. I saw them at Duxford Airshow 4th and 5th September and they also flew at the Farnborough Airshow this year. Any doubting Thomas can easly check it all out.

  34. Tim Wilson says

    This photo is a time slip. This plane was probably only there for a second or two. The fabric of space and time slipped up and the plane temporarily switched time frames.

  35. Ciaran dawson says

    It is not fake, i have just found it, search on google earth
    52 20’10.92″N 0 11’43.27″ W
    Go to 12/2003

PLEASE NOTE: Google Earth Blog is no longer writing regular posts. As a result, we are not accepting new comments or questions about Google Earth. If you have a question, use the official Google Earth and Maps Forums or the Google Earth Community Forums.