Thunder & Lightnings

English Electric Lightning - Survivor XR713 ('XR718')

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F.3 XR713 - Lightning Preservation Group, Bruntingthorpe Aerodrome, Leicestershire

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Lightning F.3 XR713 at Bruntingthorpe, 23rd October 2021; Jake Wallace

XR713 first flew in October 1964, entering service in early 1965 with 111 Squadron. She went on to serve with 5 Squadron and the LTF at various times before retirement to BDRT duties at RAF Leuchars, which was a cover for her being a squadron mascot and gate guard. With Leuchars' closure, she was put up for disposal and a fundraising effort by the Lightning Preservation Group was successful in raising enough money to buy her and transport her to Bruntingthorpe in 2015.

As she had not been previously cut for transport, she was dismantled correctly and rebuilt at Bruntingthorpe - making her the only remaining F.3 airframe that hasn't had the wings cut for transport. XR713 joined the two running F.6s at Bruntingthorpe, XR728 and XS904 which illustrates nicely the differences between the marks. The airframe is pretty much complete except for engines so will only ever be a static exhibit.
In July 2017 she had her new split paint scheme unveiled and now wears striking 56 Squadron markings on her starboard side, masquerading as XR718. On her port side, she retains her 111 Squadron XR713 markings.

In 2020, Buntingthorpe was leased to Cox Automotive who wanted the aircraft removed from the site. Thankfully the QRA shed was safe from day one with it being off the main airfield, however, Cox was planning to put a fence across the LPG apron just 15 feet away from the doors, meaning there would be no room for XR713. Thankfully the plans were discussed and changed for the fence to be moved much further away, but, for some odd reason, Cox still wanted 7 feet of the apron to themselves which makes no difference to them considering the size of the site!

Not much has been done with XR713 over the last few months but is seen here all covered up and still looking shiny outside the QRA shed.

Information on this page current as of 24/10/2021, last updated by Jake

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