NASA's WB-57F To Make Rare Appearance at Airventure
Rarely seen in public, NASA's WB-57F high-altitude research aircraft, will be making an appearance at EAA's annual Airventure Fly-in. The WB-57F is a derivative of the B-57B - a license-built version of the English Electric Canberra – that were operated by the Air Force and Air National Guard from the early 1950s-1970s.
“The WB-57 shows the brilliance and longevity of the innovation that came from the early jet era,” said Jack Pelton, EAA chairman of the board. “The addition of this aircraft on our main plaza again shows that you’ll discover a collection of aircraft each year at Oshkosh that you’ll see together nowhere else in the world.”
The Air Force bought 21 WB-57F aircraft, which were built by General Dynamics from existing B-57Bs and RB-57Ds. The airplanes’ ability to reach altitudes over 65,000 feet, carry payloads in excess of 4,000 lbs, and its triple spar wings made it a very capable high-altitude platform. Missions included everything from weather reconnaissance for Apollo space launches to sampling radiation in nuclear weapon test plumes.
The aircraft had been in storage for over 40 years and made its first flight in 41 years in the summer of 2013, setting a record for the longest an aircraft had sat in the Bone Yard before returning to flying status.
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