Flash from the Past - Lightning XM 173

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Flash from the Past - Lightning XM 173

Postby rattler » Mon Feb 11, 2008 7:06 am

DATE: FEB 06, 2008

Flash from the Past - Lightning XM 173

The English Electric Lightning aircraft, which has been a loyal Gate Guardian at RAF Bentley Priory for the last 30 years, is on the move to the home of an aircraft enthusiast in Lancashire.

This week has seen the aircraft, which was built in 1960, have its wings and tail fin cut off to allow it to be transported, by road, to a private collection, in Preston. The new owner bid against several other aircraft museums and is now the proud owner of this historic piece of British engineering.

The Lightning was one of the main aircraft in the Royal Air Forces Cold War fleet and could regularly be seen escorting Soviet aircraft back towards the east as they ventured across the North Sea throughout the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s. It was replaced in the early 1980’s by the Tornado and the last of the Lightning Squadrons was disbanded in 1986.

This particular example served at RAF Coltishall, RAF Leuchars and last flew in 1973 at RAF Binbrook before it was transported to its current position at the historic RAF Fighter Command Headquarters in 1976. The aircraft served on several RAF squadrons, during its life and currently bears the colours of Number 56 Squadron, which is still an operational squadron at RAF Leuchars and is currently flying Tornado F3 aircraft.

The impending closure of RAF Bentley Priory has led to the disposal of this fine example of British aircraft engineering to make way for the re-development of the site, which is scheduled to begin in 2009. Pending planning permission being granted by Harrow Council, the historic Priory building is planned to be redeveloped to house a Battle of Britain heritage centre commemorating Air Chief Marshal Dowding, who lead the Battle of Britain from his office in the building, and those who served with him in the Battle and a development of residential apartments. The Station’s two other iconic Gate Guardians, a Hurricane and Spitfire aircraft are planned to be retained as part of the Priory’s redevelopment.
light1.JPG (119.68 KiB) Viewed 488 times
light2.JPG (114.07 KiB) Viewed 487 times
Sincere condolences to all Norwegians! I guess you will need some aquevit to get over this.

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Robert Hilton
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Re: Flash from the Past - Lightning XM 173

Postby Robert Hilton » Mon Feb 11, 2008 5:21 pm

I remeber it being in the ASF hanger at Binbrook prior to being shipped to Benson.
We managed to salvage some spares first.

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