Thunder & Lightnings

English Electric Lightning - Survivor XR713 ('XR718')

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

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Lightning F.3 XR713 at Bruntingthorpe, 28th May 2022; 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, the airfield site was leased to Cox Automotive, but thankfully the QRA shed and apron where XR713 is kept was safe. Today, the airframe is kept outside the front of the QRA shed on the apron and is in a rather good condition, and the paintwork still shining! It seems as though the canopy cover has not been removed in quite some time, but with the museum being closed to visitors for the time being, there is probably no need to remove it.

Information on this page current as of 02/06/2022, last updated by Jake

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