Thunder & Lightnings

English Electric Lightning - Survivor 'XS933' (really ZF594, ex 53-696)

F.53 XS933 - North East Land Sea & Air Museum, Sunderland Airport, Tyne & Wear

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Lightning F.53 XS933 at North East Land Sea & Air Museum, 26th June 2022; Adam Poultney

Another ex-Saudi bird, ZF594 was 53-696 in Saudi hands, and saw service at Jeddah, Riyadh, Abdul Aziz, Khamis Mushayt, Tabuk, Dhahran (13 Squadron) and Tabuk once more, ending her days with 2 Squadron. Sold back to BAe and given the UK military serial of ZF594, she was flown back to the UK by an RAF pilot and languished at Warton for three and a half years before being sold to the North East Land Sea & Air Museum.

ZF594 suffered for many years from being tucked into a hangar that simply wasn't big enough to hold the aircraft and the rest of the hangar's contents. The end result is that she was missing much of her tail in order to fit into the confined space.

Many preserved ex-Saudi airframes here in the UK are repainted to represent RAF airframes, and ZF594 is no exception. She was repainted in 2010 into 11 Sqn with the serial XS933, and once this was completed she looked rather smart and shiny. However, a couple of years later the museum pushed her outside, and so her paintwork didn't last all that well as a result. Thankfully, she is now back inside and has received another repaint.

Information on this page current as of 27/06/2022, last updated by Jake

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