English Electric Lightning - Links, References & Credits
- The Anglo-American Lightning Organisation are restoring T.5 XS422 to airworthiness and are going to fly her - in the US!
- The Lightning Preservation Group look after XR728, XS904 and XR713 at Bruntingthorpe and have resurrected the RAF Wattisham QRA hangar complex to house the pair of runners - they need your support to keep the old girls running!
- The Lightning Association site was for a long time the best set of Lightning pages on the net, including all sorts of Lightning preservation stuff, tales from groundcrew, squadron information, picture gallery, individual aircraft histories. Thankfully after a period of stagnation the site has come back to life again. The picture gallery is nice and big, with some great shots of Lightnings both static and flying.
- Lightning XN728 has her own website with history and restoration updates.
- Lightning XS456 also has a site with history and restoration updates.
- English Electric Lightning Information is a site with a database of airframes, photo albums, map of survivors and also a map of losses. Well worth a visit.
References - Books
Lightning - The Manual by Ian Black
Published by Firestreak Books
This is a lovely, lavishly illustrated book, loosely in the style of the popular and much-missed Haynes Manuals of recent years. Basically self-published by one of the last frontline Lightning pilots, Ian Black, after his intended project for Haynes was left in limbo by their decision to cease publishing manuals, there have been clear pros and cons associated with this ‘go it alone’ project. On the plus side, it’s a larger format with rather nicer quality paper than Haynes ever sprung for, and the retro style cover with a dramatic silver silhouette of a Lightning is gorgeous. On the negative side, it won’t fit on the shelf nicely with your other Manuals!
It kicks off with a potted history of Lightning development and its introduction into service, and sadly it soon becomes clear that another thing missing in the go it alone decision was the attention of a sub editor. Irritating typos rear their head quite often, there is some repetition, and the dreaded errant apostrophes pop up a lot. It doesn’t particularly detract from the actual content, but it’s such a shame that such an otherwise lovely volume has these little flaws. More important is the occasionally swapped caption, and in the last few pages of the book, captioning seems to have been almost entirely given up on.
Anyway, flaws aside, the photographic and diagram reproduction is top notch and many of the photos are given loads of space instead of being shoehorned in, which help with the coffee table vibe! Many of them are also Ian’s own work - he’s a fine photographer. There’s a great mix of diagrams from manuals, marketing brochure illustrations and in-service photos, which really help to give a feel for the aircraft and the time it came from. Descriptions of servicing and operation of the aircraft are vivid, but strangely, there’s not much given over to what it was actually like to fly and fight the aircraft. Are the intercept tactics of the 1980s still a secret? It feels like the book is missing a final chapter, because we get brief rundowns on in-flight refuelling and gunnery and missile practice, but no real details on what was really involved in a live intercept.
In summary - beautiful, reassuringly expensive, but a little flawed… just like the real thing! No self-respecting fan of the type will pass this one up, but here’s hoping for a 2nd edition with that extra chapter and some tidying up.
Lightning Strikes by Martin W. Bowman
Published by Airlife
Packed with full page colour photographs, most of them in flight with some others no less interesting (ever seen a Lightning pilot pretending to be a Firestreak?). While this is mostly a photo album there are some highly interesting narratives by Lighting pilots of some of their memorable occasions in their service. But the very best thing about this book is that it completely covers the Lighting in service with the RAF from the Tiger Squadron F.1s to farewell pictures of F.6s in formation with the Tornado. Foreign deployments from Gutersloh to Tengah are also extensively covered. Haven't seen it myself but I'm told it's a must-have!
Warpaint no. 14 - Lightning by Alan Hall
Published by Hall Park Books Ltd.
A profile publication with excellent development and service history, lots of colour profiles (but watch out for the one on page 20 showing the overwing tanks - they're far too small and too far forward), pictures, scale plans (though they need to be unstapled from the book) and a small selection of detail pictures. A few niggling errors such as the profile drawing mentioned previously and XA847 being described as being at the RAF Museum (it had moved on far before this volume was published) mar this one, but it's still recommended, especially for modellers.
Lightning - The Operational History by Kev Darling
ISBN 1 85310 521 X
Published by Airlife
Despite the title, this book covers the development history too, but it does concentrate on the operational use by the RAF, RSAF and RKAF. Well researched information, and plenty of it, make this a must-buy title. Includes plenty of pictures, including a selection of very good quality colour ones in the middle, production breakdown, losses, squadron use, etc. etc. Highly recommended.
Wings of Fame volume 7
Published by Aerospace Publishing Ltd.
The ever-excellent series of volumes includes this one which is worth buying for the Lightning article alone, never mind all the other excellent articles (did you know Russia had a Valkyrie bomber equivalent?!). Lavishly illustrated with photos, a colour gate-fold, 3-views, 3D cutaway, detail pictures, has an excellent development and service history plus individual aircraft histories and details of Lightning users. Highly recommended!
Thunder And Lightnings by Jan Mark
Published by Penguin Books
A novel for teenagers, but well worth the read, and number one step in brainwashing your kids into liking Lightnings :-)
The Last of The Lightnings by Ian Black
Published by PSL
A marvellous pictorial record of the last few years of Lightnings in service by the last pilot to qualify on Lightnings. Not just pictures; a good bit of text too. Highly recommended.
Lightning by Ian Black
Published by Airlife
Similar in concept to the above book, but smaller and less lavish. Still worth getting hold of though.
Lightnings Live On! by Hugh Trevor
Published by pub
Excellent and well worth 17 quid, this book is largely a collection of stories from ex-Lightning personnel. It's a thumping good read and also includes lots of stuff on Lightning development and preservation. A must-buy, and it helps fund the Lightning Preservation Group so they can look after their two Lightnings.
English Electric P1 Lightning by Roland Beamont
Published by Ian Allan
An authoritative account of Lightning development by the chief test pilot of the P1 programme. Lots of rare pictures, 3-views, etc. and thoroughly recommended.
English Electric Lightning by Martin W. Bowman
I had a look through this one at a bookshop and felt that £30 was a bit steep for this - it's quite similar to many previous Lightning books (in particular some similar material to that in Lightnings Live On!), and hasn't got much in the way of colour pictures - at that price that's being a bit cheeky I think.
English Electric Aircraft and Their Predecessors by Stephen Ransom and Robert Fairclough
Published by Putnam
Design, development and histories of every English Electric aircraft, including a very good section on the Lightning. Recommended.
Phoenix Into Ashes by Roland Beamont
ISBN 7183 0121 8
Published by William Kimber, 1968
Long out of print, this is the Lightning chief test pilot's account of his flying career, with a section on the Lightning. If you can find a copy, worth a read.
Aeroguide 8 - BAC Lightning F Mk 3/Mk 6
Published by Linewrights
Short history, lots of detail pictures (all black and white), colour plans and some colour profiles. Recommended for modellers but watch out for the plans, they're not accurate.
Modern Combat Aircraft 5 - Lightning by Arthur Reed
ISBN 0 7110 0988 0
Published by Ian Allan, 1980
A good book with development and service history, plenty of anecdotes, pictures (mostly monochrome but some gorgeous full-page colour ones too) and so on.
RAF Aircraft Today 2 - Lightning by Arthur Reed
ISBN 0 7110 1407 8
Published by Ian Allan, 1984
Very similar to the above title, with much repetition of pictures. However this book has more pictures and less text - in fact probably only a few pages of text in all; this is very much a pictorial look at the Lightning.
References - Magazines
- The Aeroplane, 13th July 1961: Lightning - full article including cutaway drawing.
- Aeroplane Monthly, August 1988: A Flash of Silver - part 1 of an article on the Lightning by Roland Beamont (and therefore required reading of course!). This part covers flying the SB.5, P.1 protoypes and development aircraft.
- Aircraft Illustrated, April 1970: Target Practice Lightnings by Roger Levy. Very short article on Lightning Target Facilities Flights with some monochrome pictures of the F.1s then used by the various TFFs.
- Aircraft Illustrated, August 1974: Lightnings at Gütersloh - photo report on 19 and 92 Sqn's F.2As, some in colour.
- Aircraft Illustrated, June 1975: A Look at the Lightning by Philip J. R. Moyes. A rundown of the variants with lots of, unfortunately small, monochrome pictures, but one nice full-page colour shot of a T.5, T.4 and F.1A in formation.
- Aircraft Illustrated, July 1988: Lightning Flashes - centrespread colour picture of F.6 XS923 plus a Squadron Print of F.6 XS903.
- Aircraft Illustrated, March 1996: Harnessing Lightning - article on Tony Hull's restoration of T.5 XS452 to running condition with some good pictures (not just of XS452). XS452 is now in South Africa... to fly!
- AIR Enthusiast, June 1972 - Arabian Fledgling - article on the Royal Saudi Air Force including a fair bit on their Lightnings and some pictures of 53-693, 53-674 and 53-669.
- Air Extra number 14 by Ian Allen - The BAC Lightning - not seen it myself.
- Air Forces Monthly, September 1988: Last, Last Lightning Show - tribute, with some great pictures.
- AIR Pictorial and Air Reserve Gazette, December 1954: FD.2 and P.1 Technical Analysis by James Hay Stevens - 'deductions of a competent engineer from careful study of official photographs' - plus some scale plans of the P.1 drawn based on photos - security was tight in those days!
- AIR Pictorial and Air Reserve Gazette, August 1957: P.1B by Roy Cross - centre spread with a few monochrome pictures and a beautifully drawn 3-view.
- AIR Pictorial, January 1972: part 1 of Lightning in RAF Service (covering F.1, F.2, F.3 and T.4). With several black and white pictures and camouflage scheme 3-view.
- AIR Pictorial, February 1972: part 2 of Lightning in RAF Service (covering T.5, F.6 and F.2A) and Lightning Ride - an account from Roger Levy of his flight in T.5 XS422.
- AIR Pictorial, February 1976: Lightning Pilot by Dagmar Heller - well-rounded article about a typical Lightning sortie.
- AIR Pictorial, January 1987: Lightning Flight - Malcolm English gets a go in a T.5. Lucky man!
- AIR Pictorial, July 1988: Last Lightning Sortie - article on a flight with 111 Sqn shortly before retirement, some good monochrome pictures and a single colour one (inside the back cover).
- AIR Pictorial, June 1998: Lightning and the Unbuilt Projects; an article from Tony Buttler on the various proposals for advanced Lightning variants. Makes interesting reading! Several diagrams and a few pictures too.
- Flight International, September 1968: Multi-mission Lightning - not seen it myself.
- Jets, Summer 2000: Flight Test: Lightning F.6 vs Tornado F.3 by Ian Black. Good article on flying both beasts - no guesses as to which wins when it comes to flying for fun!
- Modelaid International number 4: The Lightning - article on the Lightning with three colour profiles (F.3, F.2A and F.6), development and service history, several monochrome pictures, a cardboard fold-together cockpit for use in a 1/72 model and scale plans with coverage of the P.1A, P.1B, F.1A, F.2A, F.3, T.4, T.5 and F.6 (side views only for all but F.6) plus a few monochrome detail pictures. Worth getting hold of if you're a modeller and if you can find it!
- Osprey Magazine 1972: EE/BAC Lightning in RAF & foreign service - not seen it myself.
- Scale Aircraft Modelling, volume 22 number 3, May 2000: Aircraft in Detail: EE (BAC) Lightning part 1: Development and Type Differences by Fred Martin. Lots of colour photos and profile drawings, well worth getting.
- Scale Aircraft Modelling, volume 22 number 4, June 2000: Aircraft in Detail: EE (BAC) Lightning part 2: Operating Units by Fred Martin. More colour photos and a rundown of the squadrons that flew Lightnings with notes on colour schemes etc.
- Scale Aviation Modeller, volume 1 issue 9, September 1995: English Electric Lightning; service history, many good photos (though most without any description or credit), number of camouflage scheme side views, plus a good roundup of available Lightning model kits, accessories and decal sheets.
- Scale Aviation Modeller, volume 4 issue 2, February 1998: Very Heavy Metal - the Lightning F.2A/F.6; history, some nice black and white photos of Lightnings at Malta, scale plans of the F.6 and ten gorgeous colour profiles.
- Scale Modelling International, January 1992: part 1 of Echelon's Lightnings - article on building the Echelon vacform kit.
- Scale Modelling International, April 1992: part 2 of Echelon's Lightnings, with colour detail pictures.
- Scale Modelling International, May 1992: part 3 of Echelon's Lightnings.
- Scale Modelling International, July 1993: Triple Lightning Strike - article on building the Aeroclub 1/48 mixed media kits.
- Take Off numbers 18 and 19: Lightnings of the Royal Air Force - run down of colour schemes and squadrons with lots of pictures.
- Warplane part 20: Lightning - bolt from the blue - good article with history, pictures, specs, variants, superb foldout poster and cutaway drawing. Recommended.
This section would have been greatly the poorer without contributions from the following - so many thanks to (in
Allan Barley, Hugh Burt, Les Bywaters, Howard Cargill, Brian Carroll (RIP), Nick Challoner, Dick Clements (RIP), Tony Collins, Kev Darling, Burkhard Domke, Bob Dunn, John Burtenshaw, Matt Durrant, Nicolas Godfurnon, Michael Hall, Paul Hartley, Roy Hauer, Tony Hulls, Tony Inkster, Mick Jennings, Rick Kent, Kevin Kenz, Saso Knez, Garry Lakin, Bob Lawson, Tom Leonard, Dave Littlefield LRPS, Kieran Maher, Trevor Matthews, Sandy Mullen, Paul Nann, Gary Parsons, Neil Pearson, Barry Pover, Mark Ray, Mick Reeves, Charles Ross, Keith Smith, Hugh Trevor, Graham Tiller, Ian Turner, Les Turner, Louis Vosloo, Shaun Waite, Alex Walton, Christoph Westhaus and Euan Withersby.
Thanks also to the following organisations:
Anglo-American Lightning Association, BAE Systems North West Heritage Group, Big Bird Aviation, East Midlands Aero Park, Lashenden Air Warfare Museum, Lightning Preservation Group, Marine Salvage, MoD Boscombe Down, Phoenix Aviation, RAF Coltishall, RAF Museum Cosford and Wonderland Pleasure Park.