Thunder & Lightnings

English Electric Lightning

Survivor XR724

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XR724 - Lightning Association, Binbrook airfield, Lincolnshire

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Lightning F.6 XR724 at Binbrook, 28th June 2002; author

Built as an F.3 and first flown on 10th February 1965, XR724 was retained by BAC and converted to an F.6 before being issued to 11 Squadron in 1967. She also served with 5 Squadron (and in 1979 wore both 11 and 5 Squadron markings as that year's display aircraft) and also the LTF. She finished her career with 5 Squadron at the end of 1987 and was then flown back to Warton to put into use by BAe for Tornado F.3 radar target duties. She was withdrawn from use in mid 1990 and then put up for sale in 1991. The Lightning Association successfuly bid for her, had her registered as G-BTSY and flown back to her spiritual home of Binbrook on 23rd July 1992. Unfortunately they've had problems with access to their own aircraft there, including months of being unable to work on her, and soon lost their use of one of the hangars. So while they tried to keep her in taxiable condition, taxi runs have been few and far between. With the airfield now being sold in chunks, and very little left of the concrete areas on which runs were performed, XR724's prospects have looked bleak for some time. On my visit in 2002 she was stored round the back of one of the hangars, but is now within a secure compound elsewhere on the remains of the airfield. Briefly allowed into one of the hangars, she soon became hemmed in by stored farm machinery and then had to be moved outside again. Her condition visibly deteriorated with significant corrosion (including holed and delaminating skin panels), flat tyres, and a general air of neglect. Thankfully 2010/11 saw a renewal of engineering work on the aircraft and there is once again a glimmer of hope that XR724 may run once more - and a hope that she will be put undercover once more at some point. Watch for news on the Lightning Association web site.

Information on this page current as of 19/01/2012

Find other photos of XR724 on the following sites:

Air-Britain - Airliners.net - Airplane-Pictures.net - flickr.com - WorldAirPics.com - JetPhotos.net - PlanePictures.net - Vertical Reality