B(I)8 (mod) - WV787
WV787 - side
(Photo : Les Bywaters)

Built at Preston in 1952 as a B.2 this Canberra was employed as a trials aircraft for all 33 years of its working life until being saved by the Newark Air Museum in 1985.

In 1952 at Bitteswell, Armstong Siddley Sapphire Sa7 engines were installed to allow re-heat trials. The Sapphire's development was for use in the Mk 8 and Mk 9 Javelins. WV787 then was transferred to Ferranti for radar trials with the NA39 radar and re-built as a B(I)8 at Turnhouse and a "Buccaneer" type nose was installed.

WV787 was next with the Aircraft & Armament Experimental Establishment at Boscombe Down where it was fitted out as a tanker to carry out de-icing trials on other aircraft, notable amongst these being the Jaguar de-icing tests series. Water was sprayed from a long spray-bar that ran along under the rear fuselage (no longer in evidence) and also from spray nozzles fitted close under both jet exhausts. A rearward facing closed circuit televison camera was fitted, just behind the bomb bay, so that test aircraft flying in the spray could be filmed.

WV787 was also used as an aerodynamic test bed for the Canberra T.22, the Buccaneer nose that it was fitted with was similar to that proposed for the new Canberra variant.

During the mid 70s, WV787 was employed in an air-to-air photography role and remained at Boscombe Down until 1984. It was then disposed of by being transferred to the Battle Damage Repair Flight at RAF Abingdon but before it could be totally destroyed, it was saved by the Newark Air Museum in 1985.

WV787 is a Canberra with a very varied trials career. It is well worth visiting this interesting aircraft at its final resting place in ex-RAF Winthorpe, Newark.

WT787 in flight
A fine picture of this B(I)8 departing Greenham Common in 1981. Note the water spray equipment under the tail. (Photo : Don Gilham )