Aircraft Wiki
Short Stirlings 1651 HCU in flight 1942

Stirling bombers after take-off

The Short S.29 Stirling was a British bomber aircraft, that was used during World War II mainly by the Royal Air Force (RAF) of Great Britain and the Royal Canadian Air Force. The prototype was first flown on 14th May 1939.


The Stirling was the result of a Royal Air Force requirement for a new British bomber that should be able to carry a maximum bomb load of up to 6,350 kg, with a range of 4,800 km; the required cruise speed at an altitude of 4,600 m was to be higher than 320 km/h. To defend itself against enemy fighters it was to be equipped with three gun turrets, which had to be mounted on the nose, the amidships and on the rear

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During its development, the Stirling had one huge problem, which was that it was so large, that it wouldn’t fit in the hangars of the Royal Air Force. To solve the problem, the engineers decided that the wingspan of the Stirling had to be shortened. Unfortunately, the result was an aircraft with a wingspan, being unusual short, making it was unable to reach high operational altitudes.

The Stirling had its first mission on 10th February 1941. All in all five variations have been built, which included a transport- and a civilian airline aircraft as well.