Saturday, 17 March 2012

The Short Stirling bomber


Short Stirling

Type:            Heavy bomber
Engines:        4 x 1600hp Bristol Hercules XI
Wingspan:        99ft 1in
Length:        87ft 3in
Height:        22ft 9in
Weight:        Empty     44,000lb
            Loaded    70,000lb
Armament        8 x 0.303in machine guns in nose, dorsal and tail turrets
Bombload;        14,000lb of bombs
Max speed:        270mph
Ceiling:        17,000ft
Range:        2010 miles
Production:        2,371

The Stirling got off to a bad start in May 1939 when the first prototype crashed on its maiden flight. Redesign followed, producing the final shape of this the first four engined bomber to enter service with the RAF. It started service amid high hopes that it would prove to be a decisive aircraft for Bomber Command. It could carry a heavier bombload than any other aircraft in service and had a useful range, enabling it to reach many targets. Later in the war the low ceiling began to cause problems, as did the layout of the bomb bay which meant the Stirling could carry only smaller bombs. In 1943 the aircraft began to be replaced as a bomber. The existing Stirlings were converted to be glider tugs or long-distance transport aircraft.

from HEROES OF RAF BOMBER COMMAND IN LINCOLNSHIRE by Rupert Matthews

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