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Fighter / Attack:
   Bell P-39 Airacobra
   Bell P-63 Kingcobra
   Brewster Buffalo
   Chance-Vought F-4U Corsair
   Curtiss P-40 Warhawk
   Curtiss SB2C Helldiver
   Douglas A-1 Skyraider
   Douglas A-26 Invader
   Douglas SBD Dauntless
   Fairey Firefly
   Focke-Wulf Fw 190
   Grumman F4F Wildcat
   Grumman F6F Hellcat
   Grumman F7F Tigercat
   Grumman F8F Bearcat
   Grumman TBF Avenger
   Hawker Hurricane
   Hawker Sea Fury
   Lockheed P-38 Lightning
   Messerschmitt Bf-109
   Mitsubishi A6M Zero-Sen
   North American P-51 Mustang

   Polikarpov I-16
   Republic P-47 Thunderbolt
   Supermarine Spitfire
   Yakovlev Yak-3
   Yakovlev Yak-9


Trainers:
  
Beechcraft AT-11 Kansan (C-45)
   Beechcraft T-34 Mentor
   Boeing / Stearman PT-17

   Commonwealth CA-25 Winjeel
   Commonwealth CA-1 Wirraway
   DeHavilland DHC-1 Chipmunk
   DeHavilland DH-82 Tiger Moth
   Fairchild PT-19 Cornell
   Hunting / Percival Provost
   Meyers OTW
   Nanchang CJ-6
   Naval Aircraft Factory N3N
   N. Am. BT-9 / BT-14 / Yale
   N. Am. T-6 Texan / SNJ / Harvard
   N. American T-28 Trojan

   Piaggio P149
   Ryan PT-22 Recruit

   Scottish Aviation T1 Bulldog
   Vultee BT-13 Valiant
   Yakovlev Yak-11
   Yakovlev Yak-18
   Yakovlev Yak-52


Bombers:
   Avro Lancaster
   Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress
   Boeing B-29 Superfortress
   Bristol Blenheim / Bolingbroke
   Consolidated B-24 Liberator
   Consolidated PB4Y-2 Privateer

   Douglas A-3 Skywarrior
   DeHavilland Mosquito
   Fairey Swordfish
   Heinkel He-111 / Casa 2.111

   Lockheed PV-2 Harpoon / Ventura
   Martin B-26 Marauder
   North American B-25 Mitchell


Transports:
   Beechcraft C-45 (AT-11)

   Boeing C-97 Stratofreighter (KC-97)
   Curtiss C-46 Commando
   Douglas C-47 Skytrain / Dakota
   Douglas C-54 Skymaster

   Fairchild C-119 Flying Boxcar
   Fairchild C-123 Provider
   Grumman C-1 Trader (S-2)
   Lockheed C-60 Lodestar
   Lockheed C-69 Constellation


Utility / Observation / Special Duty:
   Aeronca L-3 Grasshopper
   Aeronca L-16 Grasshopper
   Antonov AN-2 Colt
   Auster AOP 6/9
   Avro 652 Anson
   Avro Shackleton
   British Taylorcraft I-V
   Cessna L-19 / O-1 Bird Dog
   Cessna O-2 Super Skymaster
   Cessna T-50 / UC-78 Bobcat
   Consolidated PBY Catalina

   DeHavilland U-6A / L-20 Beaver
   Fairey Gannet
   Fairey Swordfish
   Fieseler Fi156 Storch
   Grumman S-2 Tracker (C-1)
   Grumman HU-16 Albatross
   Grumman OV-1 Mohawk
   Junkers Ju 52/3m

   Lockheed P2V Neptune
   Max Holste M.H.1521 Broussard
   Messerschmitt Bf 108 Taifun

   Noorduyn UC-64 Norseman
   North American L-17 Navion
   N. Am./ Rockwell OV-10 Bronco
   Piper L-4 Grasshopper
   Stinson L-5 Sentinel
   Taylorcraft L-2 Grasshopper
   Westland Lysander


Jets:
   Aero L-29 Delfin
   Aero L-39 Albatros
   Aermacchi MB-326
   Avro Vulcan
   BAC Strikemaster
   Blackburn (BAC) Buccaneer
   Canadair Tutor
   Cessna A-37 Dragonfly
   DeHavilland Vampire
   DeHavilland Venom
   English Electric Canberra
   English Electric Lightning
   Folland Gnat
   Fouga CM-170 Magister
   Gloster Meteor
   Grumman F9F Panther
   Hawker Hunter
   Hispano HA-200 Saeta
   Hunting Jet Provost
   Lockheed F-104 Starfighter
   Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star
   McDonnell-Douglas A-4 Skyhawk
   McDonnell-Douglas F-4 Phantom
   Messerschmitt Me-262
   Mikoyan MiG-15
   Mikoyan MiG-17
   Mikoyan MiG-21
   N. Am. F-86 Sabre / FJ-4 Fury
   N. Am. F-100 Super Sabre
   N. Am. / Rockwell T-2 Buckeye
   Northrop T-38 Talon / F-5
   PZL / WSK TS-11 Iskra
   Saab J35 Draken
   Soko G-2A Galeb
   Temco Pinto & Super Pinto


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English Electric (BAC) Lightning

(Variants/Other Names: See History below)


English Electric (BAC) Lightning
An English Electric/BAC Lightning stands proud on the ramp.
Photo by D. Miller, used courtesy Creative Commons.

History: The Lightning was the result of a supersonic research aircraft called the English Electric P.1A, which first flew in August 1954. The P.1A was the brainchild of W.E. "Teddy" Petter, who also was responsible for the EE Canberra bomber. The P.1A was extensively tested during the mid- to late fifties, and contributed significantly to the Royal Air Force's knowledge about supersonic flight.

In 1954, the design was modified so it could be a practical all-weather interceptor. Three prototypes, designated P.1B, were built, the first of which made its maiden flight on 4 April 1957. In November 1958, the aircraft was re-named "Lightning" and exceeded Mach 2 for the first time. Since the Lightning was such a radically different aircraft from anything that had come before, the RAF ordered 20 additional pre-production aircraft, and tested them thoroughly, before authorizing it to enter active service. Even so, the Lightning was to have enormous teething problems in its first few years and the RAF's "learning curve" was steep.

Throughout its life, the Lightning evolved beyond its initial interceptor role into a very capable strike fighter and reconnaissance platform. The first production Lightning, the F.1, flew in October 1959, and deliveries began in the summer of 1960. It had a powerful radar and heat-seeking Firestreak missiles. A follow-on variant, the F.1A, had air-refueling capability and a UHF radio. The F.2 variant appeared in 1961, and had better range, speed and ceiling, a liquid-oxygen breathing system for the pilot, a steerable nosewheel, fully-variable afterburners, and improved electronics. The F.3, featuring two 16,360-pound thrust Avon engines, a larger square-tip fin, Red-Top missiles, and the capability of carrying two large over-wing fuel pods, entered service in 1964. The F.3A, later re-designated the F.6, was the result of a BAC recommendation to nearly double the Lightning's fuel capacity and to fit it with a redesigned wing. This modification allowed the airplane to carry more, be more efficient, and go faster.

Major export customers of the Lightning were Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, which purchased at least three of the variants, the most notable being the F.53 (F.6). Four two-seat trainer models, the T.4, T.5 and Saudi Arabia's T.54 and T.55, were also produced.

Although the aircraft was very maintenance-intensive in active duty, the first civilian-owned Lightning, ZU-BBD (XS452) took to the air in 1999 in Cape Town, South Africa, with a second, ZU-BEX (XS451) making its first post-restoration flight in the summer of 2000. Two more Lightnings were completed by 2006 in Cape Town, and several more Lightning projects are underway around the globe, so it appears possible that the warbird community will be able to see and appreciate this magnificent aircraft with slightly increasing regularity as time goes on.

Nicknames: Frightning (Referring to the aircraft's challenging crosswind landing characteristics).

Specifications (F.6):
        Engines: Two 13,200-pound thrust Rolls-Royce RA34R afterburning Avon 310 turbojets
        Weight: Empty 28,000 lbs., Max Takeoff 50,000 lbs.
        Wing Span: 34ft. 10in.
        Length: 55ft. 3in.
        Height: 19ft. 7in.
        Performance:
            Maximum Speed at 40,000 ft: 1,500 mph (Mach 2.3)
            Ceiling: 60,000 ft.
            Range: 800 miles
        Armament:
            * Two 30-mm Aden guns in ventral pack
            * Two Firestreak or Red Top air-to-air missiles, or
              44 50.4-mm (2-inch) rockets, or
              Five Vinteen 360 70-mm cameras and linescan equipment and underwing flares
            * Up to 144 rockets or six 1,000-pound bombs on underwing/overwing hardpoints

Number Built: 339

Number Still Airworthy: 3

Photos [Lightning Photographs]

Links:
Anglo-American Lightning Organization -- A Lightning under restoration in the USA.
BAC Lightning Site
Classic Supersonic Jet Flights, South Africa
"Rolling Thunder" Classic Jets Page
"Thunder and Lightnings" Lightning Page

ZF579 -- A Lightning under restoration in the UK.

Fly a Lightning!
Incredible-Adventures

 

Lightning From the Cockpit: Flying the Supersonic Legend

Lightning From The Cockpit:
Flying the Supersonic Legend

By Peter Caygill
Paperback, 192 pages
Published Jan. 2006 by
Pen And Sword

This fascinating book is a collection of 16 personal accounts of what it was like to fly the extraordinary English Electric Lightning interceptor-fighter. These are thrilling, first-hand accounts from some of the people who flew them to Mach 2 and beyond.

Price: $16.49

 

 

 


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All text and photos Copyright 2011 The Doublestar Group, unless otherwise noted.
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