By Peter Caygill
The English electrical Lightning entered RAF squadron carrier in 1960 and endured flying within the interceptor position until eventually 1988. It had a gorgeous world-beating functionality with a most sensible pace in way over Mach 2 and a climb fee that will take it to 40,000 toes in a bit over three mins. The aircrafts security list, despite the fact that, left a lot to be wanted. in the course of a interval within the early Nineteen Seventies the attrition expense used to be the lack of a Lightning each month. there has been a six in step with cent probability of a pilot experiencing an engine hearth and a one in 4 probability that he wouldn't live on.
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Extra info for Lightning Eject The Dubious Safety Record of Britain's Only Supersonic Fighter by Peter
After completing a practice night interception, the pilot (Flight Lieutenant M. R. Smith) returned to Wattisham and made a radar approach. The wind was virtually straight down the runway at 20 knots (with occasional gusts to 30 knots) and the main cloud base was 3,500 feet with 4/8 cloud at 1,400 feet. Visibility was 6 miles with light rain. Although the aircraft touched down at the correct GCA position, it landed heavily and bounced. About 460 feet from the initial touch-down point, the aircraft left the runway again, rising to a height of 15-20 feet.
The Board of Inquiry found that the accident had been caused by the aircraft sustaining an aerodynamic load that was of sufficient magnitude to cause structural failure of the fin and rudder. This was most likely to have been the result of interaction between aircraft flying at high subsonic Mach number in close formation at low level. This accident led to the imposition of various flight restrictions relating to speed, spacing and ‘g’ loading when aircraft were flying in close formation. 87, loading was not to exceed 3g.
This system also provided power to lower the undercarriage in an emergency. Bond manoeuvred his aircraft to set up positive ‘g’ and also worked the rudder to apply yaw in an attempt to lower the leg, but it was all to no avail and a visual check confirmed that the starboard leg had not moved. As his fuel was beginning to run low he climbed to 10,000 feet before ejecting over the coast and was picked up by a rescue helicopter, his aircraft crashing in the sea 30 miles east of Happisburgh. As the wreckage was never recovered the precise cause of the accident remained a mystery.