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Canberra Bomber

Old 11th Oct 2011, 16:20
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Angel Eulogy

Considering that the first (weren't there others?) Canberra Spec dates from 1945, the aircraft is quite amazing - and so elegantly simple ... The sleek fuselage, with the wings joining it on the centre-line and therefore needing no fairings to smooth out unwanted burbles in the airflow, which was also the case with the engines.
The engine position did need a main spar having to bridge the jet pipes, but this was a manufacturing inconvenience counterbalanced by the drag reduction. The low aspect-ratio wing gave it that high-altitude ability which helped make it outstanding and long-living, despite its low Mach capabilities, which were in any case far above those of contemporary aircraft, including fighters.
The trim runaway problem did cause much perturbation, until a T4 from Bassingbourn had a runaway "UP" and the instructor (?? Pete Stonham??)smartly wheeled it into a steep turn, then as speed dropped off selected full flap, thus restoring the aircraft to trim and a careful return to base, for the cause to be revealed and remedies found. Tks, Mr.Petter and his team !!!
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Old 11th Oct 2011, 19:44
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Canberra, Hunter, Buccaneer, DC3, B747, Concorde all share a common phenomenon:


If it looks right, it is right.
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Old 11th Oct 2011, 19:59
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If it looks right, it is right.



It didn't but the old Blackburn Beverley still managed to get airborne.

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Old 11th Oct 2011, 22:17
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Originally Posted by goudie View Post


It didn't but the old Blackburn Beverley still managed to get airborne.
Same triack Helicopters use, it's called Repulsion
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Old 12th Oct 2011, 06:53
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" If it looks right, it is right."

Equally applicable to the maintenance world. Speaking as somebody who used to remove the nose on a frequent basis, then the tanks to remove the corrosion in the tank bay, the aircraft was almost unique for a UK design in that some thought had actually been given to maintenance procedures.

The structure was also "pretty robust " as we were involved in the original battle damage repair techiniques on the "decoys" at Bruggen...the plan was to use a standard fire axe as carried on board to make a hole..or two....despite the best efforts of several enthusiastic engineers.....the structure won.

This may prove reassuring to those who flew the beast....
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Old 13th Oct 2011, 13:30
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Canberra, Hunter, Buccaneer, DC3, B747, Concorde all share a common phenomenon:


If it looks right, it is right.
I agree about this for all except the Buccaneer - in my opinion Blackburn were fundamentally incapable of turning out designs that "looked right", the Buccaneer looking as if it was designed by a committee who couldn't agree. The Beverley was another case, as Goudie points out above.

Yet their products apparently worked well enough, so it seems there have been honourable exceptions to that time-honoured "rule".
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Old 13th Oct 2011, 17:05
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According to Spec ...

With its development history going back to gliders carrying troops and vehicles (Hamilcar ?) later given two Bristol Mercuries to enable it to reach the DZ it was aimed at), the "wizard idea" the Army had for the task was a really powerful aeroplane. The ability to carry light(ish) vehicles up to small tank size and simultaneously drop paratroops from the Dakota-sized boom seemed "ideal" - and in that light the "Flying Cathedral" was Fit for Purpose. Whether the Purpose was Fit for Practice was/is an entirely other question ... But I'm sure it impressed the Chaps in Brown who had such influence in its conception. It should have spawned a variant on Lord Brabazon's Horse/Camel/Committee jibe, like "The Beverley is an aeroplane designed by Pongos" ...


PS. As a disappointed TSR2 hopeful, I also felt that the Buccaneer/Bulgemaster was an aeroplane designed by fish-heads - how could it look right?
I know it inspired respect and even love in many aircrew, but there was always the remark often made in other circumstances when choices are running out - "I don't think much of yours".
In any case, by the time it was in service, I was "Outta there" and a happy civvie.

Last edited by Jig Peter; 13th Oct 2011 at 17:23.
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Old 13th Oct 2011, 17:18
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The Canberra was also a supreme platform as a trials aircraft. I spent 4 years at RRE Pershore in the late 1960s and the flexibility of the aircraft for the testing and development of future systems was second to none. Considering its time in service and its many roles it must rank in the top ten of British military aircraft of the post war period.
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Old 13th Oct 2011, 20:12
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In the early days of 360 (late 66 or early 67 ) and we had few aircraft, some of us did some flying for RRE at Pershore- max 2 1/2 hour trips, land by 1630 or go elsewhere, no flying if rudder locks needed, down below 10,000ft and hot soup at half time and electric socks - fantastic. The aeroplanes were immaculate as well. I remember one trial required the nav or AEO to lie on the floor by the exit door lining up a chinagraph mark on the canopy with another Canberra flying several thousand feet higher.
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Old 13th Oct 2011, 20:28
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On the subject of design, why were the engines so far apart?
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Old 13th Oct 2011, 21:10
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Dr Jekyll

Shear relief on the inner main spars. The further out the engines, the slimmer the inboard spar which has only the fuselage to lift. Shear force (and hence bending moment) at the wing root is minimised, slimmer spar, slimmer wing.

Last edited by D120A; 14th Oct 2011 at 07:28.
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Old 14th Oct 2011, 07:04
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Re the mighty Beverley....

In 1960 I sat in the boom with other participants after a Sylt based 38 Group exercise and on our way back to a fog free Colerne I seem to recall an airframe mech screwing bits back in place - the constant vibration apparently made items fall off [maybe his bullshit] but we were made aware of a hole in the floor to be avoided [maybe another leg-pull, maybe not]?

As an ILS Ground Radio National Service Junior Tech it was all great fun to be away from my deck chair outside the Benson Glideslope hut!
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Old 14th Oct 2011, 16:45
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but we were made aware of a hole in the floor to be avoided [maybe another leg-pull, maybe not]?
Certainly wasn't a leg-pull. There was a door in the floor of the boom. Several people died falling though it..... when the A/C was on the ground!
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Old 15th Oct 2011, 05:34
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Didn't an Australian nav bang out of a perfectly good Canberra without bothering to send the hatch off first?
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Old 15th Oct 2011, 09:57
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Certainly an RN Obs banged out of a T4 at Watton when a practice EFATO looked like going wrong, without getting rid of the hatch first, and sadly died. RIP (ISTR his name was Norman Lake, but it is a long time ago - about 1966 or 67)
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Old 15th Oct 2011, 22:00
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Canberra T4 Bang Seats

I was a lowly electrician on Station Flight at RAF Upwood in 1958/9 and our T4 had bang seats for both pilot and trainee, it swung forward and latched to allow the navigator to enter, then swung back to allow the pilot and trainee to enter, finally swung to the middle and latched for normal operation.
We also had two B2's with a double actuated piece of piping on the end of each wing. These aircraft only flew at night and often came back with bits of twigs and leaves stuck on various parts of the aircraft, we then had to remove a filter from these "pipes" and hand them over to the Flt Sergeant i/c Station Flight, we called them "baccie bombers" because of the filters. We suspected they flew to certain parts of darkened Europe late in to the night and were measuring air quality/radiation levels. Some retired pilots could confirm this for me.
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Old 16th Oct 2011, 15:05
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A couple of Upwood B.2s were flown on Operation Baccy during 59-60. That was a sampling programme on behalf of Harwell to see how much radioactive debris was present in the atmosphere over the UK.
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Old 17th Oct 2011, 09:00
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Wander00,

Was at Watton on 51 when the incident you mentioned happened. Didn't the seat narrowly miss the Stn Commander, who was walking his dog on the sports field?
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Old 17th Oct 2011, 10:29
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The potential danger of such a situation is obvious; as one scrambled into the right hand seat it would have been possible to grab a handhold and inadvertently fire the damned thing! And there was no red safety disc and removable pin to guard against such a catastrophe. No, I am as certain as I could be, that there were no such seats fitted in that particular aircraft.
(The above from my post #13)

I have just recalled a further relevant point tending to confirm there were no bang seats in the T4 I flew in. In 1956, the year before my flight, our CCF annual camp was at RAF Andover. One of the "treats" for us was a day trip in trucks to what was then RAF Wroughton, Wiltshire (now part of the Imperial War Museum or the Science Museum, I forget which).

At that time, the hangars were absolutely chock-full of a fascinating array of aircraft as a sort of ad hoc museum. We sat in a Fieseler Storch, a Japanese rocket-powered fighter, a Wellington cockpit, and so on. One of the exhibits was the fuselage of a Canberra, fitted with bang seats. These
had red painted steel discs attached to pins to guard against accidental firing (though obviously the seats were not still loaded with cartridges!). Well, the inevitable happened, one of the idiots in our party decided to pinch one of these as a "souvenir". This probably happened often, so someone checked and noticed it was missing before we left. We were kept waiting in the back of the lorry by our highly embarrassed officer, who threatened we would be kept there until the culprit owned up.

To cut a long story short ("too late", did someone say?), the red-faced berk who had it eventually handed it back, and if looks could have killed on the way back, he wouldn't have survived the journey! (We were from a highly respected Grammar school, oh, the shame!!)

So the following year, the appearance of a Martin Baker bang seat would have been indelibly etched on my memory, and no mistake ....
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Old 17th Oct 2011, 11:47
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Halcyon days ...

The memory is a wonderful thing, once stirred by a recollection, others come back unbidden ...

(May I crave a little indulgence by the Mods, this isn't really on topic!)

Another "treat" at our camp at RAF Andover was an unexpected offer from a friendly Squadron Leader for six of us to accompany him on his imminent business trip in a communications Anson to St Eval. We didn't need to be asked twice, we were "in like Flynn" almost before he had settled into the pilot's seat.

It was a lovely summer's day (remember those?), the Annie droned on, and on, and six happy cadets watched the green English countryside drift slowly past for what seemed like hours. Eventually we arrived and landed, our pilot went off for his two-hour meeting, and we tumbled out onto the grass to explore. Feeling very chipper, I said to an "erk" nearby "This is great, I've never been to Cornwall before". "You still haven't, mate, this is Wales!" We were at RAF St Athan, I had mis-heard the Sqd Ldr!

So for the rest of our stay, we indulged in an orgy of aircraft-spotting at what we learned was an important RAF maintenance centre, with Meteors of all marks, Hunters, Javelins, and all manner of other types typical of the 1950's. And yes, there were Canberras there too!! (Poor attempt at staying on topic.)
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