LPG: INDIVIDUAL LIGHTNING HISTORIES

 

This information has been compiled from a variety of sources which are acknowledged below.
Some of the information is of a minor nature, e.g. dates of engine/air tests, APC’s etc. but it is hoped that this may help enthusiasts, for example to date or identify an unknown photograph.

ABBREVIATIONS:

ADA = Unknown abbreviation on aircraft movement cards
ASF = Aircraft Servicing Flight
ASSF = Aircraft Storage & Support Flight, which (approx. 1983) became LESF
CWP = Contractor’s Working Party
FEAF = Far East Air Force
LESF = Lightning Engineering Support Flight
MEAS = Mechanical Engineering Air Squadron (incorporated ASSF/LESF and ASF)
MOD(PE) = Ministry of Defence (Procurement Executive)
MU (Maintenance Units):
60 MU at RAF Leconfield
71 MU at RAF Bicester (“crash & smash” repairs, detachments visited Binbrook)
103 MU at Akrotiri

LIGHTNING HISTORIES

XR728 (English Electric Co.
cockpit no. 95211)

17.03.65 f/f as F.3: Desmond ‘Dizzy’ de Villiers, Samlesbury to Warton for conversion to F.6
01.11.67 To: D 23 Sqn, Leuchars, delivered by Sqn Ldr Blackburn
05.09.68 D 23 Sqn, No. 1 engine compressor failure (see Brian Carroll’s article)
17-23.05.69 D with 23 Sqn detachment via Gutersloh to Fassberg for Berlin corridor exercise Quicksand VIII
16.10.69 D with 23 Sqn to Akrotiri (see Brian Carroll’s article)
31.03.70 D 23 Sqn at Akrotiri (used by XI Sqn detachment)
01.05.70 XI Sqn
08.06.70 D 23 Sqn
13.05.71 60 MU Leconfield, major servicing
24.11.71 To: D 56 Sqn, NEAF, Akrotiri; ferried out from Binbrook by 5 Sqn
22.08.73 103 MU Akrotiri
18.09.73 D 56 Sqn
31.01.75 D 56 Sqn transferred to 11 Group, Wattisham, UK
22.10.75 J 56 Sqn
18.11.75 J 56 Sqn – birdstrike on radar bullet
28.06.76 56 Sqn disbandment
01.07.76 Storage Flight, Binbrook
28.07.77 unmarked [first camouflaged around this time?]
14.10.77 Storage ASSF
27.06.78 5 Sqn
29.06.78 Birdstrike, port u/c
03.07.78 ASSF
12.07.78 J, no unit markings, air-test
01.08.78 D LTF – first F.6 for LTF and named ‘Tiverton Trainer Target’
26.08.78 D LTF static at Binbrook Open Day
02.07.79 ASSF
06.10.81–05.11.81 Air-tests
12.11.81 Abingdon for repaint of grey/green camouflage
27.11.81 Binbrook MEAS
01.02.82 BA XI Sqn
03.06.82 5 Sqn
07.07.82 BA XI Sqn
28.08.82 BA XI Sqn in 9-ship at Open Day
07.03-13.04.83 BA XI Sqn to Akrotiri APC
03.08.83 MEAS
08.08.83 St Athan for repainting in dark sea grey
25.08.83 Returned Binbrook; MEAS
by 07.09.83 XI Sqn markings, uncoded
by 24.05.85 5 Sqn markings, uncoded
11.06.85 BF XI Sqn
29.07–04.09.85 BF XI Sqn APC, Akrotiri
By 19.12.85 BF XI Sqn stbd. nose roundel zapped XXX by 29 Sqn
22.4.86 MEAS
23.06.86–19.09.86 BF ASF Hangar for wing strengthening mods.
11.06.87 BS XI Sqn markings
16.06.87 BS XI Sqn markings, to engine test
? 06.87 BS XI Sqn markings, air-test
07.07.87 JS LTF markings, ASF hangar
16.07.87 JS engine test
21.07.87 JS air-test
04.08.87 JS allocated to 5 Sqn
22.08.87 JS led 9-ship at Last Last Lightning Show
7/8.09.87 JS at Valley MPC
29.09.87 JS in 5 Sqn 3-ship with XS932 AG and XR771 AN to mark final official Lightning F.3 flight
02.11.87 MEAS
03.11.87 JS to 5 Sqn
07.11.87 JS flew as #6 in 9-ship at 5 Sqn Reunion, replacing XR771 AN
09.11.87 JS to MEAS, ASF hangar for servicing
16.11.87 JS to LESF to complete servicing
01.12.87 JS air-test
03.12.87 JS flying with 5 Sqn
21.12.87 JS last to touch down after 5 Sqn final 4-ship
04.01.88 JS to XI Sqn

27.01.88 JS flown over Binbrook church at Neil MacLachlan’s funeral by Furz Lloyd (last ever Lightning flight by a 5 Sqn pilot)
29.04.88 JS #4 in XI Sqn final 9-ship
28.05.88 JS in static at Beauvechain Air Show, Belgium
22.06.88 JS allocated to Lightning Preservation Group
24.06.88 JS delivered to Bruntingthorpe by Flt Lt Chris Berners-Price

Total Hours: 3708.40

XR728—Incidents

18.11.75 J 56 Sqn: Bird-strike on radar bullet at night. Bird and metallic debris ingested by both engines. 130 man-hours to repair.
12.01.76 J 56 Sqn: Flash-fire in flight during fuel transfer, Fire 1caption illuminated. Caused by leaking pipe-seal in Fueldraulic system. Fire drill on No.1 engine actioned, only one fire- bottle worked.
29.06.78 5 Sqn: Bird-strike in port undercarriage area during landing, slight damage.
03.12.81 MEAS Air test?: FCS Computer tripped out causing aircraft to barrel-roll and dive in ‘attitude’ mode.
15.12.81 MEAS Air test?: Air Turbine Gearbox seized, main bearing failed due to out-of-balance condition.
19.08.82 BA XI Sqn: Undemanded rolling and pitching. Pilot switched off autopilot and autostabiliser and regained stable flight. 4-channel actuator amplifier subsequently replaced.
26.01.83 BA XI Sqn: Probe tip broke off during air-air refuelling. There had been several probe engagements the previous day in turbulent conditions. (Ref. Mike Hale’s ‘Scramble!’ article!)
26.05.83 BA XI Sqn: At 400 kts, 500 ft a bird glanced off the fuselage below the canopy. No damage.
11.02.86 BF XI Sqn: During undercarriage retraction, starboard red light stayed on. Thought to be due to
damp in wiring after aircraft had stood for 8 days in unheated QRA hangar.

Note: At some point, possibly when coded BF of XI Sqn (or just before), it is thought the canopy was lost and struck the fin. A large repair to the port side of the fin is still visible today.

 

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