The Canberra Experience – Air and Ground crews from around the world tell their stories


Title – The Canberra Experience – Air and Ground crews from around the world tell their stories

Author – Steven Beeney

Steven has added a new level of insights on the already well-researched history of the Canberra by other authors, by collating personal stories from former military personnel who either flew or maintained Canberras across the globe over the past 60+years.

The Canberra has seen service with 17 countries.It first flew in 1949 and it ended military service in 2008 when the Indian Air Force retired their examples. It still is in service in 2016 with civil operators like NASA and private owners who use them for warbird operations.


Steven has managed to obtain stories from many different personnel from all ranks. They have recorded their many experiences with examples from the initial English Electric test flying, early RAF experiences and combat missions over Egypt, RAF and USAF nuclear cloud sampling missions, Vietnam War combat missions of the USAF and RAAF, various African air force training and combat recollections along with coverage of some of the remaining NASA and preserved Canberras.

The detailed stories shared by air and ground crews in Steven’s excellent book highlight the challenges, enjoyment, horrors and mundane experiences that took place during the military years. The in-depth recollections of pilots help to put the operating and handling characteristics of the Canberra into a context that enable to reader to understand just what the aircraft was like to fly and the risks that were present every time it flew. The reader comes away with a very clear understanding that the Canberra was a very big challenge to operate when in asymmetric condition with only one engine operating when either trying to take off or land.The ground crews recall the challenges they faced in servicing and maintaining the aircraft in hot and cold environments along with peace time and war time conditions.

One enduring aspect of flying operations was that the Canberra aircrews noted the aircraft could take a severe beating with large sections of the wings, stabilisers or airframe missing and still keep on flying. This well-designed aircraft saved many lives over the years, flying on despite what was in some cases was almost near catastrophic damage.

Stories retelling how hot deserts and confined cockpits, where the temperatures soared to soak crews in sweat…. to freezing cold chilly interiors at high altitude where aircrew struggled to keep warm, the reader gains the impressions of how despite the attractive looks, the Canberra had human limitations.


Mixed in with the gripping and interesting personal insights, are many unseen colour and black white photo. With these photos, the book brings to life the personal side of the Canberra operations in a way that will enable readers to have much a greater respect for the aircrew and ground crew who operated and maintained the Canberra bombers.

If you are a Canberra enthusiast, this is a highly recommended book to go and buy. A sample of some of the pages can be seen at

Book detail

ISBN13: 9780764332340

Size: 8.5″ x 11″ |

Pages: Over 294 pages with color/bw images

Binding:Soft cover

Available direct from Steven at . Book prices will vary for different locations around the world.