A Toast to the 'WB-57'
The Martin B-57 Canberra was a United States-built, twin jet engine light bomber and reconnaissance aircraft, which entered service with the United States Air Force in 1953. The B-57 was initially a version of the English Electric Canberra built under license. However, the Glenn L. Martin Company significantly modified the design and produced several unique variants - the most notable of which being the WB-57F weather reconnaissance version.
NASA's Johnson Space Center operates two WB-57 aircraft out of Ellington Field in Houston, Texas - the only two WB-57s in the world. The WB-57 is a mid-wing, long-range aircraft capable of operation for extended periods of time from sea level to altitudes well in excess of 60,000 feet. Two crewmembers are positioned at separate tandem stations in the forward section of the fuselage. The pilot station contains all the essential equipment for flying the aircraft while the sensor operator station contains both navigational equipment and controls for the operation of the payloads that are located throughout the aircraft. The WB-57 can fly for approximately 6.5 hours,has a range of approximately 2500 miles, and a service ceiling of over 82,000 feet.