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Following the flight path of the Dambusters

Following the flight path of the Dambusters - News

One of our more unusual Helicopter Flights packages here at FlyDays is one that combines stunning, dramatic natural views, an exhilarating ride in a helicopter and sites of social and military historic importance, which are our Dambusters Helicopter Tours.

As the name might suggest, this flying experience for one or two to enjoy will see you take off over the same skies that the RAF 617 Squadron trained in, ahead of 'Operation Chastise', or the 'Dambusters' raid as its more commonly known, of Germany during World War II nearly 80 years ago this month on the infamous night of 16th May 1943.

The actual dam they practiced on, which was the Ladybower Reservoir in the Derwent Valley area of the Peak District National Park, actually predated WWII, being built between 1935 and 1943, with the creation of the Howden and Derwent reservoirs coming before this from 1902 to accommodate the rapid changes that had been bought on as a direct result of the Industrial Revolution in the East Midlands and South Yorkshire.

The Squadron practiced here, primarily because of the Reservoir's similarities to the German dams they would be attacking from a fleet of nineteen Lancaster Bomber planes. The reason for this was because in order for the operation to be successful, they would have had to keep flying at an exact height of 60 ft at all times.

To this end, the Lancasters were fitted with special spotlights which would hit the surface of the water from exactly 60 ft when they released the special 'bounce-bomb' which was designed by Sir Barnes Wallis to destroy the Möhne and Edersee dams in the Ruhr valley of Germany - which of course, as history now records, they achieved.

Whilst it's obviously a bit difficult to see from high up in the air, there is a plaque erected at the Ladybower dam to this day to mark the bravery and efforts of the RAF 617 Squadron who carried out the operation, whilst one of the towers along the dam is the site of the Derwent Valley Museum, which houses an exhibition commemorating their training that took place here, as well as other artefacts of local historical significance.

It was also in 2014 that a Battle of Britain Memorial Flight was conducted over Derwent Valley in the last two airworthy Lancasters, one from Battle of Britain and the other from Canada, who displayed three formation flights in honour of the men of the Squadron who had been involved in a defining moment that edged Britain closer to victory in WWII.

Head on over to our Helicopter Flights page on the FlyDays website to book your Dambusters Helicopter Tour for One or Two to enjoy today through purchase of our open gift vouchers, with fantastic discounts from 17% off.

07 May 2021

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