This new addition to the hugely popular “Images of War” series tells the story of the outstanding English Electric Lightning. This is a story of sadness and success. The Lightning was the last all-British fighter but it performed amazingly. – Highly Recommended
NAME: Images of War, The English Electric Lightning, Rare Photographs From Wartime Archives FILE: R2827 AUTHOR: Martin W Bowman PUBLISHER: Pen and Sword BINDING: soft back PAGES: 114 PRICE: £14.99 GENRE: Non Fiction SUBJECT: point defence interceptor, supersonic fighter, Mach 2 fighter, RAF, RSAF, last all British fighter, RAF Coltishall, RAF Wattisham
IMAGE: B2827.jpg BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/y5thguqm LINKS: DESCRIPTION: This new addition to the hugely popular “Images of War” series tells the story of the outstanding English Electric Lightning. This is a story of sadness and success. The Lightning was the last all-British fighter but it performed amazingly. - Highly Recommended The English Electric Company was bought up by the General Electric Company during its rapid expansion under Arnold (later Lord) Weinstock. It is interesting that the first British jet bomber and the first British supersonic fighter both came from the aviation division of an electrical manufacturer that became part of GEC near the peak of its expansion when it designed and built everything from washing machines and television sets to advanced mine hunters, to very successful advanced military jets. The design of what became the first military jets in their classes incredibly began during WWII, leading to specifications for purchase from the RAF in 1947. These aircraft were outstanding in their classes and the Canberra bomber was built in large numbers for the RAF and for export, including a licence build agreement with Martin for the USAF. The Canberra also enjoyed a very long service life and became an outstanding reconnaissance aircraft equipped for 'spy' missions. The Lightning was equally successful in many respects at a particularly challenging time for fighters. The Lightning was not without its flaws. It was always short of fuel, being designed originally as a point defence interceptor that could achieve an unbelievable rate of climb from take-off. Adding in-flight refuelling and a conformal belly tank were the only options to help it meet the new challenges facing fighters during the height of the Cold War, where interceptions of Soviet bombers approaching from their polar bases way out over the North Sea were required. Generally, the Lightning was a maintenance heavy aircraft, spending far more time in the hanger workshops than in the air. It was a brutal looking aircraft, particularly with the swollen belly that was intended to improve its sparse fuel reserves. It was also vulnerable to fire. The over and under configuration of the two jet engines left little space around them and fuel leaks, over heating and electrical sparking resulted in a number of aircraft crashing as a result of engine bay fires. The defects aside, the Lightning was loved by pilots being incredibly fast for the time and very responsive to the pilot. Rate of climb was amazing and looked like a rocket in flight. The aircraft was a stable gun platform to the point that it could serve in the ground attack role and its Firestreak missiles made it a potent bomber killer. East Anglia was covered with airfields during WWII to accommodate RAF and USAAF aircraft and many were on the same runway headings. This provided an example of how the Lightning could deal with the unexpected. The old fighter base at St Faiths became Norwich Airport and its runway was on the same heading as nearby RAF Coltishall. In error a pair of Lightnings heading for RAF Coltishall landed on the then disused airfield that was being turned into Norwich Airport. The aircraft landed without mishap and later took off for their intended destination. The author is a leading aviation historian, living close to the site of one of the two main Lightning bases in the UK. He presents an excellent selection of photographs in support of clear and carefully researched text, the photographic illustration being extensive as is to be expected of books in this very successful series.