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Can Project Robin’s Canberra be saved?

6 May 2013

Can Project Robin’s Canberra be saved?

28º 31′ 09″ N / 80º 47′ 38″ W

The English Electric Canberra awaiting restoration at the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum — photo by Joseph May

Project Robin was a series of Cold War reconnaissance missions flown by the RAF, in the early 1950s, until the introduction by the USAF of the Lockheed U-2. The subject aircraft of these images may have been a Project Robin participant and is the Canberra of British service with a side-by-side cockpit — not the tandem arrangement of the U.S. Air Force version.

Rear fuselage of the EE Canberra — photo by Joseph May

This Canberra is now owned by the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum in Titusville FL (there are many posts regarding this museum) and due to be restored. One of the guides at the museum is a USAF veteran Canberra pilot and he mentioned this significant nugget of the Canberra’s take-off profile. The two powerful and widely separated engines would make for highly adverse yaw should an engine fail. Single engine minimum airspeed control is 160 knots (296kph) yet the aircraft would break ground at 140 knots (259kph) — the respectful pilot would break ground then fly level until 160 knots had been attained — then commence the climb out.

The horizontal stabilizer and elevator assembly with a positive dihedral — photo by Joseph May

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