Thunder & Lightnings

English Electric Lightning - Survivor ZF583 (ex 53-681)

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F.53 ZF583 - Solway Aviation Museum, Carlisle Airport, Cumbria

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Lightning F.53 ZF583 at Solway Aviation Museum, 29th August 2021; Damien Burke

ZF583 was first flown in March of 1968 as G-27-51 and delivered in July of that year to the Royal Saudi Air Force at RSAF Jeddah. She served as 53-681 with 6 Squadron and 2 Squadron and with the type's withdrawal from Saudi service, BAe bought her back off the Saudis as part of the deal to sell Tornados to the Saudis and she was flown back to the UK serialled ZF583, arriving on 14th January 1986.

After unsuccessful attempts to sell the ex-Saudi airframes, BAe eventually sold them to museums and other interested parties. ZF583 was acquired by the Solway Aviation Museum and after several years out in the weather her natural metal finish was looking very shabby so she was painted in a dark grey scheme similar to that worn by some later RAF Lightnings. Beginning in 2007 she was repainted in a lighter grey scheme with a black tail and red radome - which wouldn't be very authentic even if she were an ex-RAF bird and not a Saudi one. However it did at least protect the metal!

As of August 2021 she's now part way through another repaint into 56 Squadron's most famous chequered tail colours - she should look spectacular when finished.

Information on this page current as of 14/11/2021, last updated by Jake

Find other photos of ZF583 on the following sites:

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