I visited Cranfield in September 2013 full of in-trepidation. It had been some 26 years since I last got close to one of these magnificent beasts. It’s a day that will live with me for many years.
XS458 is one of the last T5 English Electric Lightnings left. She’s kept in pristine condition by Russell Carpenter and a band of loyal volunteers at the Bedfordshire Airfield. Unfortunately like all Lightnings in the UK she is grounded. CAA rules prevent her ever returning to flight. However for a few weekends every year she roars down the runway, quaking the local area literally. A garden centre some miles from the airfield reported their greenhouses clatter when 458 explodes into life.
Can’t wait to go back again and see her in full action.
(Update 3rd Jan 2017 – Dave – Due to ongoing problems with her engines following a serious fire caused by FOD Damage, XS458 has been inactive for some time, though Russell reported on his Facebook site that he hopes to have her running later this year)
(Update 13 June 2020 – Still some issues persist but Russell is hoping to start runs again soon)