Amazing Find Returns to Google Earth: Lancaster Bomber

Avro Lancaster Bomber caught in flight in Google Earth

Way back in December of 2005, a first-time poster to the Google Earth Community named ‘SergioL’ posted a placemark showing this amazing sight of a bomber in flight. It’s a real Avro Lancaster Bomber in the UK – which happened to be flying almost directly over the poster’s house (that’s why he found it). The historic plane occasionally flies for memorial flights and it just happened to get caught in a satellite photo used by Google Earth.
This was a very popular find in Google Earth – and was shared with millions of people. Unfortunately, a Google Earth imagery update made it disappear in 2007 from Google Earth. I saved a screenshot and overlayed it in Google Earth as a replacement placemark. But, that wasn’t very satisfying.
Now, thanks to the Historical Imagery mode in Google Earth, you can see the original satellite imagery that caught the bomber in flight once again in Google Earth. Two steps to make this work:

  • Step One – Turn on the Historical Imagery mode by either selecting the menu “View->Historical Imagery“, or by click on the little clock icon in the upper center.

  • Step TwoLoad this placemark which will show the location of the bomber and change the date to December 30, 2003 – when the original imagery was taken.

For some reason, Google only recently returned this image into the historical imagery archive. I have been asking them about it for some time. Hopefully other “missing” historical imagery has been retrieved as well.
It can be fun finding planes in flight in Google Earth. Now, with historical imagery, there are probably tens of thousands of planes in flight to be found. Here are some other amazing things found in flight in Google Earth:

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.


  1. derektunnington says:

    I was interested to see this image as my first flight was in the second prototype of the an ATC cadet from Sherburn in Elmet, Yorkshire in either early 1943 or late 1942.

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