Thunder & Lightnings

English Electric Lightning - Survivor XG329

F.1 XG329 - Ian Hancock, Norfolk & Suffolk Aviation Museum, Flixton, Norfolk

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Lightning F.1 XG329 at Flixton, 7th October 2007; Richard E Flagg

XG329 was one of the development batches of F.1s and was first flown on 30th April 1959. Her primary trial use was on cannon firing trials but she also trialled the flat-topped F.3 fin from August 1964 onwards. Transferred to the A&AEE at Boscombe Down, she became a chase plane on the TSR.2 project, and then went on to be used by de Havilland from April to December of 1966 before returning to Boscombe Down.

Retired to ground instructional duties at RAF Cranwell in 1970, but by 1986 more modern airframes had become available and so she carried out one last flight - slung underneath a Chinook! She was flown to RAF Swinderby for display duties, although with "Options for Change" soon earmarking Swinderby for closure in 1994, she was put up for disposal and was purchased by a more than an averagely determined buyer, Ian Hancock.

Instead of cutting the wings off as is often the case, he dismantled the aircraft correctly (a huge task to say the least) and transported it carefully to the museum at Flixton, where she has since been reassembled and placed on display. She still remains in excellent condition to this day and is a credit to the efforts made to keep her intact. Thankfully, she even managed to find her way inside, no longer fighting the British weather, even if it does means she was surrounded by other things.

Information on this page current as of 08/06/2023, last updated by Jake

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