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Can you identify the plane that was flying over Independence Mall on Jan. 20? It was a beautiful sight.

John Peaspanen
StarNews

The Spirit of North Carolina, a 1945 Douglas A-26C Invader, roars to life as Pilot/Owner Captain George Lancaster starts the engines on August 14, 2012. StarNews photo by Mike Spencer.

Q. Can you identify the twin-engine black plane with red around the props that was flying over Independence Mall on Sunday, Jan. 20 around 3 p.m. It was a beautiful sight.

A.  That was Wilmington resident Capt. George Lancaster buzzing by.

Gary W. Broughton, director of operations at Wilmington International Airport, said he thought you might have seen Lancaster, who owns and operates a 1946 Douglas A-26C “INVADER.” The impressive plane is dubbed “Spirit of North Carolina.”

“I do have a World War II bomber that I fly,” said Lancaster, a retired Piedmont and U.S. Airways pilot. Though he could not recall if he was up that particular afternoon, Lancaster added, “We do rides in the bomber, primarily on Saturdays and Sundays.”

Lancaster said he has owned the plane for 11 or 12 years. When asked what drove him to purchase the craft, he said, “We’re just trying to preserve a little history.”

Second only to the Boeing B-52 in length of service, the A-26 became popular in the later years of the war, valued for its speed, larger bomb capacity, greater firepower and longer range. It saw service from WWII through the Vietnam Conflict.

You can see a photo of the “Spirit of North Carolina” at Lancaster’s Web site, www.fuzzydogvideo.com.

RELATED LINKS:

StarNews: Vintage plane has new life as a star of air shows, patriotic events

Why is there a blue and white government plane flying around Wilmington Airport (ILM)?

Where is the best place for “plane spotting” at ILM? Is there a park or road where locals watch landings and takeoffs?

 

 

User-contributed question by:
Anne Russ

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