Aircraft Type Photos
Pre-Accident Photos of Canberra WH972
Airliners.net (with others at Canberra 40th Anniversary Celebration at RAF Wyton in 1989 - the year before this aircraft crashed.)
BELOW: An RAF English Electric Canberra bomber / photo-reconnaissance aircraft at the classic Kemble Air Show, Gloucestershire, England in 2003.
Photo: 2003 Adrian Pingstone ('Arpingstone'). Released by the author to the public domain.
Aircraft Type and Background
RAF English Electric Canberra E.15 / WH972
Aircraft manufacturer: Handley Page Ltd.
Other manufacturers of this type:
(Like Handley Page, both Avro and Shorts were subcontracted by English Electric to help cope with demand);
BAC (subcontractor to English Electric following liquidation or merger of the earlier manufacturers);
Martin B-57 Canberra (US Type built under licence.)
Aircraft Type Nickname: "Cranberry"; Caterpillar", and others.
Built as a successor to the de Havilland Mosquito, the English Electric Canberra became one of the RAF's longest serving aircraft. Used initially as a high-altitude jet bomber, the Canberra was put into service latterly as a photo-reconnaissance aircraft. Between its two roles, the type served with the RAF for over 50 years.
As it was designed to fly high and fast, the Canberra did not carry any defensive armaments. However, as a bomber, the aircraft could carry 6,000lbs of bombs internally plus under-wing gun pods or another 1,000 of bombs externally.
The modified B.2 variant of the Canberra, which is the type featured here, first flew in 1950.
Many of these Canberras served with the RAF in Malaya, and Egypt during the Suez Crisis. Martin B-57 Canberras served with the USAF in Vietnam. Canberras were also used by the RAAF in Australia against targets in Malaya and Vietnam.
Equipped with Rolls-Royce Avon turbojet engines, the Canberra had a maximum speed of just over 600mph, and a ceiling greater than 48,000ft.
A No. 39 (PRU) Squadron Canberra remained in service at RAF Marham until 28 July 2006, when the type was finally retired from the RAF.
BELOW: An RAAF English Electric Canberra bomber.
Photo: 2007 'DJGB'. Released by the author to the public domain under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.
Aircraft Accident Details
The operational aspects of the sortie was completed uneventfully, and the crew commenced recovery for an Instrument Landing System (ILS) approach to runway 26 of RAF Kinloss.
At around 600 feet above ground level (AGL) the navigator noticed that the aircraft was diverging from the ILS localiser course and advised the pilot accordingly.
At first, the pilot attempted corrective measures, but then decided to overshoot the runway. He applied power to both engines. However, the port engine appeared to surge, resulting in a loss of power. The pilot attempted to throttle back and re-apply power, but this failed to clear the engine surge and consequent loss of power. At this point, the aircraft-- which was still in cloud - yawed and rolled rapidly to the left before striking the ground, almost inverted and nose down. The aircraft caught fire on impact with the ground.
Very soon after the aircraft started rolling rapidly, the navigator ejected. Although he survived, he suffered major injuries.
The pilot ejected shortly after the navigator; but by this time the aircraft was too close to the ground. Tragically, the pilot died on impact with the ground.
The accident occurred in a field about 1nm mile E of RAF Kinloss.
[Above information extracted from MoD Official Aircraft Accident Summary -- Canberra WH972]
Aircraft Crew Casualties
The pilot who died was:
The name of the seriously injured navigator is unknown.
Crash Date / Site
Accident Date: 27 Jun 1990
1nm E of
Nearest towns or villages:
Kinloss or Forres
Nearest large towns:
Elgin (E), Forres (SW) or Nairn (W)
OS Grid Refs: N/A
GPS Ref: N/A
Present Condition: As the accident occurred in a field close to RAF Kinloss, all wreckage was removed.
Registration or Serial: WH972
Operating Station (at time of accident): RAF Kinloss
Current Station Status (RAF Kinloss): Operational Military Air Station
Current Station Name (RAF Kinloss): RAF Kinloss
Parent Station: RAF Wyton
Parent Station Location: Wyton, Cambridgeshire, England.
Current Parent Station Status (RAF Wyton): Operational Military Air Station (merged)
Current Parent Station Name (RAF Wyton): RAF Bampton Wyton Henlow
Principal airport data courtesy of John Woodside, A Catalogue of UK Airfields
Accident Specific Links
English Electric Canberra
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E.E. Canberra WH972
RAF Kinloss, Forres, Moray