November 07, 2023

Finding an English Electric Canberra, with less than 1,400 built, was a challenge for the MotoArt PlaneTags team, something Dave Hall wasn't sure he'd ever see. Read about WH712, a Canberra that flew for the RAF and Venezuela Air Force before landing in the PlaneTags hangar.


What is the English Electric Canberra?

  English Electric Canberra

 Photo by Richard Flagg, used with permission


The English Electric Canberra is a renowned British jet-powered bomber and reconnaissance aircraft, recognized for its groundbreaking design and exceptional performance. Developed in the early 1950s, it represented a pioneering leap in aviation technology, becoming the first aircraft capable of reaching high altitudes and conducting strategic bombing missions. Its sleek, twin-engine design and impressive range facilitated its deployment in various military operations, solidifying its reputation as an enduring symbol of British engineering excellence and innovation in the field of aviation.

The English Electric Canberra stands as an iconic and pioneering aircraft in the realm of aviation history. Introduced in the early 1950s, this British-made jet played a crucial role in the development of high-altitude flight and strategic bombing during the early Cold War era. Designed by a team led by W.E.W. Petter, the Canberra emerged as the first jet-powered bomber capable of reaching high altitudes, outpacing many contemporary aircraft in terms of performance and versatility. Its sleek, aerodynamic design and remarkable range allowed it to undertake various missions, ranging from tactical bombing and reconnaissance to electronic warfare and even aerial refueling.

The Canberra's enduring legacy lies in its exceptional adaptability and longevity. It not only served in the Royal Air Force (RAF) but also in numerous other air forces around the world, earning a reputation for reliability and endurance. Its remarkable performance during the Suez Crisis in 1956 and the Falklands War in 1982 solidified its place in military history. Beyond its military applications, the Canberra found itself repurposed for civilian tasks, including research and development projects and even meteorological reconnaissance.

  English Electric Canberra

 Photo by Richard Flagg, used with permission


With its distinctive twin-engine design, the English Electric Canberra embodied a shift towards more sophisticated and efficient jet-powered aircraft, heralding a new era of modern aviation. Its success paved the way for subsequent generations of bombers and reconnaissance planes, influencing the design of many future aircraft. Despite its retirement from active military service in many countries, the Canberra remains an enduring symbol of British engineering prowess and innovation in the field of aviation.

Development of the English Electric Canberra


The English Electric Canberra, a pivotal creation in the annals of aviation history, emerged as a defining masterpiece of British engineering during the early 1950s. Developed by a visionary team led by W.E.W. Petter, this groundbreaking aircraft represented a leap forward in jet-powered aviation technology. Its development marked a significant milestone in the progression of aerial warfare capabilities, ushering in a new era of strategic bombing and reconnaissance missions.

  English Electric Canberra

 Photo by Richard Flagg, used with permission


The story of the English Electric Canberra's development is one of relentless innovation and design excellence. Conceived during a period of intense technological advancement, the aircraft's development journey was marked by a series of breakthroughs in aerodynamics and propulsion systems. The team's relentless pursuit of high-altitude flight capabilities led to the creation of a sleek and aerodynamically optimized design, setting the benchmark for future jet-powered bombers.


As the first jet-powered bomber capable of reaching unprecedented altitudes, the Canberra redefined the possibilities of strategic aerial warfare. Its remarkable performance during critical military operations, including the Suez Crisis and the Falklands War, cemented its reputation as a versatile and reliable asset in the arsenal of various air forces worldwide. The aircraft's adaptability and longevity made it a cornerstone of military aviation for decades, influencing the design and development of subsequent generations of aircraft.

  English Electric Canberra

 Photo by Richard Flagg, used with permission


The English Electric Canberra's legacy extends far beyond its military achievements. Its transformative impact on modern aviation and engineering remains palpable in the design principles of contemporary aircraft. The aircraft's pioneering spirit and enduring influence continue to inspire advancements in aeronautical engineering, solidifying its place in the pantheon of groundbreaking aviation innovations.

British Electric Canberra Uses


English Electric Canberra

Photo by Richard Flagg, used with permission


The English Electric Canberra, revered for its pioneering design and remarkable performance, emerged as a versatile aircraft with a wide array of applications across different domains. From its inception in the early 1950s, this iconic British jet played a pivotal role in shaping the landscape of military and civilian operations, showcasing its adaptability and enduring significance in the realm of aviation.


The English Electric Canberra's initial deployment in the Royal Air Force (RAF) highlighted its prowess in strategic bombing and long-range reconnaissance missions. Its exceptional speed, range, and payload capacity positioned it as a key asset during critical military operations, including the Suez Crisis and the Falklands War. The aircraft's ability to operate at high altitudes and deliver precise and effective strikes solidified its reputation as a formidable force in the global military landscape.


Beyond its military applications, the Canberra found itself repurposed for various civilian endeavors. Its robust structure and adaptable design made it an ideal platform for research and development projects, contributing to advancements in meteorological reconnaissance and atmospheric studies. The aircraft's enduring reliability and stability facilitated crucial data collection efforts, enabling scientists and researchers to gain valuable insights into meteorological phenomena and environmental patterns.


The multifaceted uses of the English Electric Canberra have left an indelible mark on the evolution of modern aviation. Its enduring legacy continues to inspire the development of versatile aircraft tailored for diverse military and civilian applications. The aircraft's historic contributions to the fields of strategic warfare, scientific research, and reconnaissance remain a testament to its timeless significance in shaping the trajectory of aviation innovation and progress.

English Electric Canberra At A Glance


  • Manufacturer: English Electric
  • Model: Canberra B.82
  • Serial #: 1425
  • Crew: 3 (1x Pilot, 1x Navigator, 1x Bombardier)
  • Wing Span: 63 Ft 11 In
  • Length: 65 Ft 6 In
  • Height: 15 Ft 7 In
  • Armament: 6x 1,000 Lb Bombs Within The Bomb Bay


  • Combat Range: 2,310 Nm
  • Max Cruise Speed: 379 Kts
  • Ceiling: 48,000 Ft W/Capability Of 70,000+ Ft
  • Empty Weight: 22,200 Lb
  • Max Takeoff Weight: 46,000 Lb
  • Rate Of Climb: 3,400 Ft/Min
  • Engine: 2x Rolls Royce Avon Ra.3 Mk. 101 Turbojets

WH712: An Electric Canberra


Our Canberra was built as a B.2 and delivered to the RAF as WH712 in 1953. While with the RAF, WH712 supported WH726 as it engaged in Project Robin, a co-operation between the UK and US during the Cold War. In 1966, WH712 was transferred to the Venezuelan Air Force and registered as S/N 1425. In 1977, 1425 was converted into a B.82. In 1990, Venezuela retired all of its Canberras from service, and in 2023, PlaneTags was able to preserve this notable Canberra as PlaneTags.

MotoArt Gets a Canberra 


“We have been searching for a Martin B-57 Canberra in the States for years to document but never found the right aircraft to work with,” says MotoArt PlaneTags owner Dave Hall.  “When we received an invitation from South America to look at some aircraft before they were torn down, and one of them was an English Electric Canberra, I couldn’t believe our luck.  Unfortunate for this almost timeless beauty of this high altitude jet airplane, but an incredible chance for PlaneTags to preserve sections of it before they destroyed her.”









English Electric Canberra PlaneTags

English Electric Canberra PlaneTags will be available on Thursday, November 9, 2023 at 12pm PT on