B.6 - XH567
XH567 - Kemble
XH567 seen ready for departure from Kemble to the US (Photo : Glen Moreman)

Built at Preston as one of a four-plane contract in 1955, this B.6 went directly to the charge of the Ministry of Aircraft. After acceptance checks WH567 was moved to the Royal Aircraft Establishment's charge and flew in trials with the Air Torpedo Development Unit (ATDU) at Gosport during 1956/57.

WH567 arrived next at the Radar Research Establishment, Pershore in 1961 for further trials flying. Among other trials it was used in the development of the Sidways Looking Airborne Radar (SLAR) intended for the TSR.2. It continued in the tests and trials game for a number of years, as did many other Canberras, before being flown to Bedford (Thurleigh) in December 1976.

After a long career on tests and trials, WH567 was preserved and is a survivor - in the USA.

The aircraft was prepared for its Atlantic crossing by Delta Jets at Kemble. Delta Jets had recently carried out the preparation for another Canberra that was destined for the US, WT327. As they had some experience in the exporting of Classic Jets, it was decided by the client that due to a few problems encountered with the CAA he would put XH567 on the American register for the ferry flight and the registration N40UP was issued.

It duly left Kemble on Saturday 8th April 1998 (see photo) and after a brief overnight stop at Llanbedr due to a minor unservicability, it continued on its way to California. The pilot for the USA flight was Sepp Pauli who flies with DERA at Llanbedr. The aircraft was flown to Kemble by Dave Piper who now displays the Scorpion Canberra WK163 around the country.

Currently, XH567 is owned by Air Platforms Inc in Lakeport in California. This company hires out this, and their other Canberra WT327, for upper atmosphere work above 50,000 feet.

AirPlatforms Canberras
AirPlatform's two Canberras at the NASA Ames Research Centre
XH567 on the left, WT327 on the right (Photo : Ross Falconer, Program Manager)

I find it heartening to know that this 46 year old Canberra is still in commercial service and, by all accounts, still capable of doing the job efficiently.