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As its combat career waned, this is the role that essentially kept the Canberra flying long past its projected life — and made it suitable for the kind of work it now carries out for Nasa. The RAF phased out its bomber version of the Canberra in , but the aircraft was to soldier on as a reconnaissance plane for another three decades. The Canberras flew high-altitude observation missions in Northern Ireland, Bosnia and Kosovo, and also were also used in Afghanistan the early s, some 50 years after the first Canberras entered service.
Its … handling had to be very closely watched and demanded a lot of concentration and so that might add to a sense of achievement. The wings of the blue-and-white painted Nasa examples are almost twice as long as those on the original aircraft, which help keep the aircraft aloft in the thin air at high altitudes.
The Canberras are so good at their job that there is no plan to retire them. The plane, known as , had been retired since ; it spent some 20 years in the famous Arizona Boneyard on the outskirts of Tucson before Nasa decided there was enough work to warrant a third aircraft.
When the plane — now known as Nasa — carried out its first test flight in August , it was the first time it had flown in 41 years. Keeping this fleet of old aircraft in the air, however, is not easy. When parts are no longer available our engineering team has to design or procure a functionally similar replacement part or back engineer the part.
Two decades later, the B-2 Spirit of Missouri touched down at Whiteman, the first stealth bomber of 22 to be delivered. Today, the fleet has served in four wars: Kosovo , Afghanistan , Iraq , and Libya After 20 years of service—the Air Force is planning a celebration at Whiteman in late September—the B-2 is a different bomber than the ones pilots flew on their first training missions.
And before every flight, the commander personally briefed the wing commander. There were two takeoffs a week total. Now the crew chief walks them out and we do six to seven flights a day. The system has matured.click
Why Nasa still flies an old British bomber design
The B-2 still appears to be a shape-shifter, an optical illusion. Fervently religious, the Vancouver Sikh pays 15 percent of his income in tithes, as opposed to the 10 percent required by Sikh tenets. A resident of the city of Kamloops in British Columbia, Bagri was a devoted follower and second-in-command of the Babbar Khalsa group.
Bagri has supported Sikh separatism since , when a small band of separatists opened a consulate of the Republic of Khalistan in Vancouver. He has been a suspect in the bombing since and was arrested by RCMP at that time, but released. In , a youth who shot a Punjabi-language newspaper editor, leaving him paralyzed, allegedly told police that Bagri put him up to it. Twelve years later, Bagri has been charged with the attempted murder of the editor as well as eight counts related to the bombing of Air India and attempted bombing of Air India Flight Gill was the founder of the so-called Khalistan consulate in Vancouver in , and one of the first supporters of the Babbar Khalsa group.
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Gill was among several arrested, and his home searched, in November, , as a suspect in the Air India bombings. Parmar was allegedly on his was way to see a bomb demonstration. In September, Gill left Vancouver for England and is now believed to be in hiding. A search for him is under way in England, Pakistan, India and Malaysia, where he was born. Gill is a former travel agent and is familiar with aircraft routing and ticketing practices.
Johal participated in civil disobedience campaigns, where Sikhs were voluntarily arrested. He says he went to jail nine times in Punjab during these campaigns. After moving to Canada, Johal worked as a school engineer in the Vancouver school system.
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He is a Sikh tradionalist and a long-time ally of Malik and Parmar. He is also a key member of the Akhand Kirtani Jatha, to which his father also belonged in India. Johal is suspected of involvement in several aspects of the Air India bombing. His former home number turned up on tickets purchased for the two terrorists who allegedly carried out the attack. Police also say they have wiretap evidence of conversations between him and Parmar. In addition, Johal was spotted by fellow Sikhs whose families perished in the air disaster at Vancouver International Airport.
Police believe the bags used to carry the bombs were placed on the plane there.
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He was arrested in a November police raid on suspects, but not charged. Here are some of the names police have been focusing on, and why: Inderjit Singh Reyat b. He is a suspect in the sabotage in the case of Air India Flight Ripudaman Singh Malik b. Ajaib Singh Bagri b. Surjan Singh Gill b.
Hardial Singh Johal b. Suspects in the Air India Bombing.