Corgi AA32311 RAF English Electric F.6 Lightning Fighter - XR770, Andy Williams, 5 Squadron, RAF Binbrook, 1987 (1:72 Scale)
"Obsolete weapons do not deter."
- British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
The English Electric Lightning is a supersonic jet fighter aircraft of the Cold War era, remembered for its great speed and unpainted natural metal exterior finish. It is the only all-British Mach 2 fighter aircraft. Renowned for its capabilities as an interceptor, RAF pilots described it as "being saddled to a skyrocket". English Electric was later incorporated into the British Aircraft Corporation, later marks being developed and produced as the BAC Lightning.
The Lightning was used throughout much of its service life by the Royal Air Force and the Royal Saudi Air Force. The aircraft was a regular performer at airshows and was the first aircraft capable of supercruise. The Lightning was also one of the highest performance planes ever used in formation aerobatics. The Lightning aircraft is now largely retired to museums, but three examples still fly at "Thunder City" in Cape Town, South Africa.
This particular 1:72 scale replica of a RAF English Electric F.6 Lightning jet fighter was piloted by Andy Williams, who was attached to 5 Squadron, then quartered at RAF Binbrook, in 1987. Sold Out!
Length: 9.25 inches
Release Date: July 2009
Historical Account: "Flash of Lightning" - In June 1988 the last Lightning in RAF service took off for the final time, destined for a private buyer. Service with the RAF had lasted from 1960 until 1988; not bad for an aircraft that had been planned to have a service life of no more than ten years! Had it not been for the lack of fatigue life on the remaining fleet, a few more years of service could have been had; the hasty scrapping of many early marks in the 1970s was certainly a mistake! A small number of F.6s continued to fly with BAe, used for development work on the Tornado ADV program, but these too were retired in December 1992. A long silence then fell upon the Lightning world, broken only by occasional taxi runs of a few kept in ground-running condition.
Thanks to the efforts of Tony Hulls at Cranfield and Barry Pover at Exeter, a handful of Lightnings were kept in such good condition that they now fly again, this time in South Africa. The Lightning's complexity and poor safety record in service has counted against it in the eyes of the UK's Civil Aviation Authority and now there are no longer the spares or indeed any truly viable airframes left in the UK for a return to flight. Three airframes are kept in taxiable condition; The Lightning Preservation Group at Bruntingthorpe have a pair of F.6s and Russell Carpenter has a T.5 at Cranfield. (Courtesy http://www.thunder-and-lightnings.co.uk)