Having had the privilege of being president through these formative years, I would like to review with you the accomplishments of the Society since its inception.
NLS grew from a fledgling born in the spring of 1986, out of community concern for the Bomber. It has since become a full grown, dynamic organization, composed of enthusiastic regional volunteers and some 700 members throughout Canada, the U.S.A. Britain, Europe, New Zealand and Australia.
Even from the initial cleanup of the Lanc for its first "Open Bomber Day" we have surged ahead. Looking back, our first mandate was to care for the Lanc, but early on, the idea of an air museum with the Bomber as centerpiece became another prime goal. This initiated the gathering up of remnants of other BCATP aircraft for eventual rebuilding. In 1987 parts for Ansons, Cranes, and Lancs began to accumulate.
Our first "Open Bomber Day" brought hundreds to visit the aircraft. We began also to have working relations with other groups who were trying to save the remaining aircraft of WWII. This has helped NLS to find many of the needed parts for the Lanc, as well as technical knowledge.
1988 saw our largest one day field trip to date. "Operation Annie," moved eight Anson carcasses to Nanton from the far reaches of southwest Alberta. Some of our members also travelled to the Western Development Museum at Moose Jaw, Sask., to bring back Anson parts, a Link Trainer fuselage and Cessna Crane parts.
The 1988 summer program confirmed our belief that the Lancaster and an air museum are viable tourist attractions. This program, open only from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. attracted nearly 15,000 people.
In the coming year it looks like even greater things will be happening, with the planned activities noted in this newsletter.
My visit to CWH, Hamilton, as NLS representative, to the inaugural flight of their Lancaster last fall, was a highlite for me personally. CWH's success confirms that our aim to refurbish FM159, is indeed possible.
We have just received word that the Hamilton Lancaster is tentatively scheduled to fly over Nanton on June 26th! The whole town will be looking forward to this event. I wish we had a runway, wouldn't it be great to see two Lancs side by side again! This flying Lanc will be visiting many places across Canada and the U.S. this summer.
Your new president, Dan Fox brings to NLS a younger person's energies that will without doubt make NLS an even more viable organization. I still plan to be an active member of the Society in other ways and look forward to the Society's success in the coming year and beyond.