Saturday, April 30, 2011

Rochester's Lightning on the Move

The English Electric Lightning which has stood at the gates to British Aerospace site at Rochester Airport for many years is currently being dismantled prior to a move to an new home at Bentwaters Cold War Museum.

The aircraft ZF581 was originally built in December 1967 as a Lightning F53 for the Royal Saudi Air Force.

It returned to the UK in 1986 and was eventually rescued from the scrap heap by British Aerospace in 2000. They spend a number of years restoring the aircraft before placing it on the gate at Rochester. The aircraft currently sports the livery of 56 Squadron Royal Air Force.

British Aerospace claim they can no longer afford the cost of maintenance which is apparently the reason for the move to Bentwaters.

The Lightning is widely acknowledged to be one of, if not the best fighter interceptors ever built. It had a top speed of over mach 2 and could climb to possibly as high as 80000 feet (the maximum ceiling was classified). It was the only aircraft fast enough to intercept Concorde.

Here is a video I found about the aircraft when it was still in operational service with the Royal Air Force for you to enjoy....

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1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing! Very interesting. Will you be able to photograph the progress of the move?