Sunday, 26 April 2009

English Electric Lightnings Flying In South Africa



Awesome.

The Penguin

17 comments:

IanPJ said...

Awesome doesn't describe it. Along with the TSR2 proof that Britain always out-engineered the US.

Perhaps Britain will one day be in such a position again, when such design ingenuity and engineering skill will be given free reign.

Lexander said...

One of the few aircraft to make the hairs stand up. Absolutely gorgeous.

Rab C. Nesbitt said...

My favourite 'plane. Fantastic.

Paul Pinfield said...

Epic.

The Penguin said...

Where I grew up in Norfolk you could see Lightnings from RAF Coltishall as they climbed into the sky on an almost daily basis to prove to Ivan that he had been spotted and was not welcome. The annual airshow at RAF Coltishall was a much looked forward to treat, and the highlight of that was of course, the Lightning.

I have never seen any other aircraft take off so steeply - they are barely off the tarmac when the wheels disappear and then - wow!!! - practically vertical like a rocket, with a seriously loud noise, truly stupendous.

And the low pass at speed followed by the climb with the afterburners full on, never ever forgotten, majestic.

Rightwinggit said...

I had a corgi model of one of them when I was a kid.

Call me Infidel said...

Glorious. When I was a boy they would occasionally turn up at Manston. The roar from the afterburners when they took off was astonishing.

The Penguin said...

Yeah, the noise....difficult to believe ANYTHING could be so loud. I suspect there are things that are actually louder, Concorde on take off was pretty noisy as well as pretty, but the embedded memory of me aged 8 is that it was so loud it was almost painful. But you didn't mind.

There's a clip somewhere on youtube which has a ghastly sound track, it's a RAF promotional production I think, but it has a few seconds towards the end of the boys from 74 Squadron (based at Coltishall) showing off at Farnborough Air Show (I think!) - 10 or so Lightnings taking of in very quick succession, absolutely incredible sight.

Anonymous said...

Ah the golden days of aviation. Still in the RAF (me, not it!) but never lose the love of the Lightning.

Anonymous said...

I would just add that the Typhoon outperforms it in every way, but the Lightning was a God of the era

John Pickworth said...

The Lightening was my all-time favourite aircraft as a kid, I adored it and was mesmerised every time I saw it fly (which was often).

Thought the F-4 Phantom was a nice looking machine too... but it just had something a bit 'French' about it, know what I mean? ;-)

microdave said...

"I would just add that the Typhoon outperforms it in every way"

Considering that over 50 years have passed since the Lightning first flew it's hardly surprising!

What's really annoying is that this magnificent aircraft isn't flying in the country of its birth....

Anonymous said...

When are you going to show a clip of the Sopwith camel now theres a proper aircraft designed by Tommy and made with the best quality English string.

Dick the Prick said...

The end bit of that clip is great - formation, formation 1 second later - miles apart.

Actually, it's just gone and made me maudling. Ho hum.

The Penguin said...

@19.02

Does the Typhoon do Mach 2.2? Fly at 83,000 feet?

Does it sound like a very angry god?

The Penguin said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oWGGDfM32UQ

OK, the Typhoon is quite impressive - but it wasn't around when I was a kid!

microdave said...

"Does the Typhoon do Mach 2.2? Fly at 83,000 feet?"

I wondered about that yesterday, so had a look at the respective Wikipedia pages. (Yes I know it could be a complete pack of lies, but...) The Lightning could only get to 80,000+ft in a zoom climb, and its maximum level ceiling is a mere 60,000. The Typhoon can sustain 65,000ft. Both manage Mach 2.2 Actually in 1984 a Lightning F3 got to 88,000ft and intercepted an American U2 - something previously thought impossible!

But this is comparing the latest state of the art, computer assisted, Fly By Wire technology, with something designed when most passenger aircraft were ambling along behind big radial piston engines.

Now that the Vulcan is back in the air, I suppose there is a slight glimmer of hope that a Lightning could one day grace our skies again. The CAA can hardly trot out the "Too Complex" argument now....