A Bucket of Sunshine : Life on a Cold War Canberra Squadron
A Bucket of Sunshine - a term used for the use of a nuclear bomb - is a firsthand insight into life in the mid-1960s on a RAF Canberra nuclear-armed squadron in West Germany on the frontline in the Cold War. Mike Brookes describes not only the technical aspect of the aircraft and its nuclear and conventional roles and weapons, but also majors on the low-level flying that went with the job of being ready to go to war at less than three minutes notice. Brooke tells his story warts and all, with many amusing overtones, in what was an extremely serious business when the world was standing on the brink of nuclear conflict. The English-Electric Canberra was a first-generation jet-powered light bomber manufactured in large numbers in the 1950s. The Canberra could fly at a higher altitude than any other bomber through the 1950s and set a world altitude record of 70,310 feet. Due to its ability to evade early interceptors and providing a significant performance advancement over piston-engine bombers, the Canberra was a popular export product and served with many nations. Although jet powered, the Canberra design philosophy was very much in the Mosquito mould, providing room for a substantial bomb load, fitting two of the most powerful engines available, and wrapping it in the most compant and aerodynamic package possible. Rather than devote space and weight to defensive armament, the Canberra was designed to fly fast and high enough to avoid air-to-air combat entirely.
- Electronic book text
- 01 May 2012
- The History Press Ltd
- United Kingdom
About Wing Commander Mike Brooke
Wing Commander Mike Brooke AFC RAF joined the RAF in 1962 after a normal state education to 'O' Level standard. After serving on the low-level strike/attack squadron described in this book, Brooke became a flying instructor. In 1975, he attended the Empire Test Pilot School and then went to the Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough to serve as an experimental test pilot. Further test flying tours followed, but in 1984, after 22 years in flying appointments, was sent to the RAF Advanced Staff College. After a year, Brooke spent a brief time in HQ RAF Strike Command before being promoted to Wing Commander and taking command of flying at RAF Farnborough. Continuing the tradition of only doing flying tours, in 1989, he returned for the third time to Boscombe Down as Wing Commander Flying. After a further short tour, he left the RAF in 1994. Brooke then became a test-flying consultant and worked for several companies, finally retiring in 2004. Brooke has flown around 7,300 hours on 140 types of aircraft of all classes except seaplanes. In 1984, he was awarded the Air Force Cross by HM Queen Elizabeth and is a Fellow of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots.