Thunder & Lightnings

English Electric Lightning - Survivor ZF584 (ex 53-682)

F.53 ZF584 - Dumfries & Galloway Aviation Museum, Dumfries, Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland

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Lightning F.53 ZF584 at Dumfries and Galloway Aviation Museum, 26th August 2021; Damien Burke

ZF584 was an F.53 built for the Saudis and first flown on 2nd May 1968. Delivered to Riyadh on 8th July 1968, she was flown only briefly before going into storage in February 1969, only coming out to play again in April 1972 (having had much modification work in the interim period). She served with 6 Squadron RSAF, coded 211, and then moved to the LCU in March 1975 and then 2 Squadron in January 1976. She was retired on 23rd December 1985 at Tabuk. One of several airframes bought back by BAe in early 1986 as part of the Tornado deal.

She was stored at Warton until 1990 when BAe presented her to Ferranti in Edinburgh in recognition of their pioneering work on the AI.23 AIRPASS radar of the Lightning. She was mounted on a plinth at the GEC-Ferranti plant in the South Gyle area of Edinburgh and a plaque on the base of the plinth recorded the donation. With mergers and company closures, the old Ferranti site became surplus to requirements and was closed and demolished in 2005. The aircraft's future was under serious threat.

However, happily the aircraft was saved from scrapping and was donated to the Dumfries and Galloway Aviation Museum. They took her down from her plinth, unfortunately cut the wings and tail off (a great shame as she had been transported in one piece when she arrived there), and transported her to the Museum. Since arrival her tail fin has been refurbished and reattached along with her outer wings, and she's been repainted in RAF 111 Sqn colours, which on my visit in August 2021 were suffering somewhat from the weather. The airframe itself is in OK condition, with a few bits missing including part of a cable duct and the pitot probe.

Information on this page current as of 31/08/2021, last updated by Jake

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