Model Airplane News
July, 1951

Model Airplane News Cover for July, 1951 by Jo Kotula English Electric Canberra B-57 Bomber

English Electric "Canberra" (B-57) Bomber
Model Airplane News Cover Art for July, 1951
by Jo Kotula
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The English Electric Canberra is a first-generation jet-powered light bomber manufactured in large numbers through the 1950s. It proved to be highly adaptable, serving in such varied roles for tactical bombing, photographic, electronic, and meteorological reconnaissance. The Canberra remained in service with the Royal Air Force until 23 June 2006, 57 years after its first flight.

 The English Electric Canberra B-57 Bomber

The English Electric Canberra B-57 Bomber      The English Electric Canberra B-57 Bomber

English Electric "Canberra" (B-57) Bomber
Click to Enlarge

English Electric was a well-established industrial manufacturer (sort of like General Electric in the US) gained its aircraft experience by building the Handley-Page Hampden under licence during World War II.

The Canberra began as the successor to the de Havilland Mosquito - that is, a high altitude, high speed bomber with no defensive armament. Although jet-powered, the Canberra design philosophy was very much like that of the Mosquito --- wrap the most powerful engines available, in the smallest, most aerodynamic package possible. Rather than devote space and weight to defensive armament the Canberra was designed to fly fast and high enough to avoid air-to-air combat entirely. In dact, the Canberra could fly at a higher altitude than any other bomber through the 1950s and set a world altitude record of 70,310 ft in 1957. The Canberra was was a simple design, with a shoulder wing, circular cross section fuselage and large low aspect ratio wings.

The Canberra was an instant success. It was built in 27 versions which equipped 35 RAF squadrons, and were exported to Argentina, Chile, Ecuador, Ethiopia, France, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, Peru, Rhodesia, South Africa, Sweden, Venezuela and West Germany. The aircraft was named Canberra after the capital of Australia by Sir George Nelson, chairman of English Electric, as Australia was the first export customer for the aircraft. In the United States where the US Air Force needed to replace the B-26 Invader, 400 Canberras were manufactured under licence by Martin as the B-57 In the United Kingdom, the demand for Canberras exceeded English Electric's ability to supply airframes, and so Handley Page and Short Brothers manufactured them under licence. About 2,400 examples were built. About ten airworthy Canberras are in private hands today, and are flown at air displays.

Here is a video of the English Electric "Canberra" (B-57) Bomber in action:

In addition to the cover of Model Airplane News, this airplane was also featured in the WINGS "Friend or Foe" trading card series of the early 1950s

 Card 012 of the Wings Friend or Foe series   English Electric Canberra B-57 Bomber

Trading card representation of the English Electric "Canberra" (B-57)
Click Here to see all 200 cards in the series
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Click Here for more information about the English Electric "Canberra" (B-57) Bomber.

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