Thursday, February 14, 2008
British Planes that Didn't Stink
As a follow up to my post about silly British aircraft, I wanted to highlight at least one British plane that didn't stink, and some American failures. The above aircraft is the English Electric Canberra, intended as a high-to-mid altitude bomber, the Canberra caught the attention of the USAF who was, at the time, considering the Martin XB-51.
The XB-51 had been designed with certain specifications in mind, but by the time of implementation, the needs had changed and the Canberra outperformed the XB-51 in most areas and better fit the role.
The USAF chose the Canberra over the XB-51 and designated it the B-57 Canberra. The Canberra, similar in shape as the famous U2 spy plane, fulfilled multiple roles within the US services including reconnaissance and attack/bombing during the early 1950s.
Martin, the developer of the XB-51 actually picked up the license to build the B-57 and was the US source for the plane.
The B-57 Canberra is still in use by NASA as a high-altitude research aircraft designated as the WB-57, NASA's two aircraft are the only ones still flying in the world today.