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Thread: Avro Lancaster - Where Does External Power Source Plug In?

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    Default Avro Lancaster - Where Does External Power Source Plug In?

    I understand that both PA474 and C-GVRA have been modified so that this is no longer needed, but where did the external plug fit into a wartime Lancaster? I can't find any clear photos or diagrams anywhere, but I'm sure some of the knowledgeable people on here will know and be willing to share their wisdom. Cheers, Andrew

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    Default Re: Avro Lancaster - Where Does External Power Source Plug In?

    High up in the Stbd Undercarriage Bay Andrew - the ground crew clambered up on the mainwheel to plug the 'trolley acc' in.

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    Default Re: Avro Lancaster - Where Does External Power Source Plug In?

    Thanks bvs - that was quick! Does anyone have a photo please?

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    Default Re: Avro Lancaster - Where Does External Power Source Plug In?

    I don't have much Lancaster stuff but on Page 9 of Lancaster at War 5 there is a stbd side picture with a Trolley Acc/Chore Horse/Putt Putt thingy parked behind the stbd mainwheel and you can (not so) clearly see the elec lead going up into the top of the U/C Bay.
    It does not give a copyright for the pic but I assume MOD/IWM.

    Last edited by bvs; 6th October 2020 at 16:01.

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    Default Re: Avro Lancaster - Where Does External Power Source Plug In?

    Researching R.A.F. personnel from the North East of England

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    Default Re: Avro Lancaster - Where Does External Power Source Plug In?

    Interesting pics Simon.
    The Ground/Flight switch was mounted on the stbd side of lower fuselage so it would make sense to have the ground power socket on the same side.
    Trolley Accs were also used for many purposes inc ground system checks and powering lights etc,I retired from aircraft techying in 2015 and we were still using Trolley Accs for multi uses.

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    Default Re: Avro Lancaster - Where Does External Power Source Plug In?

    Actually there is a video showing NX611 'Just Jane' engine starting with the trolley acc at the port wheel,so maybe a socket either side or perhaps a difference between marks of Lanc ?

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    Default Re: Avro Lancaster - Where Does External Power Source Plug In?

    I have been away so could not have another look into this question.
    However it would appear that either Port or Stbd U/C Bay could be used (ie a ground power socket provided in both sides),it was just coincidental that the couple of pics I had seen of Trolley Accs plugged in to Lancs were both on the stbd side.

    An excerpt from a print description by Gary Eason

    Lancasters on dispersal - A print by artist Gary Eason

    An RAF Avro Lancaster bomber's crew start the engines on an airfield dispersal to join the stream of other aircraft heading east as the Moon rises over a winter dusk.

    Technical note: like many aircraft of the time, Lancasters used an external battery pack on wheels to provide power for starting the engines. Known as a trolley accumulator, or "trolley acc" for short, it was connected for startup then removed before the aircraft taxied out for takeoff.

    Some people have questioned my putting the trolley acc in this scene on the starboard side of the Lancaster because typically the handful of remaining Lancasters are connected via the port wheel well. In fact either side can be used, as you can see in wartime photographs and the celebrated colour film, "Night Bombers".

    The normal engine start sequence is 3, 4, 2, 1 (where 1 is the port outer engine).

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    Default Re: Avro Lancaster - Where Does External Power Source Plug In?

    Hi bvs

    Thank you - in the meantime I have contacted both the BBMF and the Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre, who have confirmed what you have found and that:

    NX611 PA474 still uses an external ground power supply, they normally use the one on the port side.

    PA474 also still uses an external ground power supply, albeit with a modern version of the old accumulator trolley, and it plugs in just behind the landing gear. This aircraft usually uses the trolley when at RAF Coningsby, but it can still get started at other airfields using on-board batteries. This was, apparently, also possible on Lancasters in WW2 but, because the BBMF use modern batteries, the reliance on the external power is not quite as important as it was then. As you'd expect, the engines' generators do do charge the batteries in flight.

    I hope this helps. Andrew Panton (whose family owns NX611) kindly sent me a photograph of the plug in point, but I don't know how to post photos on here!

    Cheers, Andrew

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    Default Re: Avro Lancaster - Where Does External Power Source Plug In?

    Hi Andrew,good to get info from the 'Horses Mouth'.

    Re Aircraft Generators - the Ground/Flight Switch was set to 'Ground' for a trolley acc start,this isolates the aircraft batteries/charging system until engine(s) start achieved - followed by disconnecting trolley acc and setting Ground/Flight switch to 'Flight' thus putting the Aircraft generators and batteries 'on line' for normal running.

    Even with modern batteries,on aircraft which do not have an APU (aux power unit) it is still preferable to use a trolley acc/ground power unit especially for 'cold' starts/first start of the day as on board battery charging still has limitations - especially for short flights/sectors.

    Any photo hosting website (such as Flickr) will allow easy posting of photos on here (I currently use 'Imgur') or I can post on your behalf if you are not registered with a photo hosting website ,all the photo hosting websites are a bit of a pain until one gets familiar with their idiosynchrasies LOL.

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