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That Lightning photo

Old 11th Aug 2006, 21:26
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Question That Lightning photo

Hi there, dose anyone have that famous lightning photo?
The one with the guy looking over his shoulder on the tracktor as the jet is about one second away from digging a big hole for itself.

Thanks
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Old 11th Aug 2006, 21:44
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I cannot think where I have seen the photo, some details to help you.

XG332 Lightning F.1 de Havilland Guided Weapon Co. Hatfield Mr.G.P.Aird AFC (Production Test Pilot). 13th September 1962.

Double re-heat fire warning, the pilot assessed this as probably spurious. At 150ft on approach the fire weakened the tailplane actuator mounting and tailplane control was lost.

The pilot successfully ejected horizontally but impacted a greenhouse 200yds short of the runway.
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Old 11th Aug 2006, 23:18
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Thank you very much! I first saw that picture in a readers digest book that i pulled randomly from a shelf in a pub some years ago.
Couldnt find it for myself, thanks again.
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Old 11th Aug 2006, 23:43
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Also believe George Aird broke his leg as well as the roof of the greenhouse. Think the Lightning was a little broken as well.

Conan
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Old 12th Aug 2006, 01:08
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George, poor chap, broke both his legs as he plummeted through the greenhouse.

A former member of the 'Black Arrows' - he flew in the 22 ship Hunter formation that looped at Farnborough in 1958. Many years later, when based at Hawarden, he flew the Mosquito (RR299).
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Old 12th Aug 2006, 01:49
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JDK
 
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Originally Posted by Kieron Kirk
The pilot successfully ejected horizontally but impacted a greenhouse 200yds short of the runway.
tiny nit-pick, and a pet peeve. In 1962 he probably 'hit' it, rather than 'impacted', that being for teeth, then, in an age of greater literacy.
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Old 12th Aug 2006, 02:40
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That photo was used many, many times by Martin Baker in its Flight advertisments. Nowadays the photographer would have made a packet from it so I hope be got a bit more than a ploughman's lunch and a pint for it.
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Old 12th Aug 2006, 09:00
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Originally Posted by JDK
tiny nit-pick, and a pet peeve. In 1962 he probably 'hit' it, rather than 'impacted', that being for teeth, then, in an age of greater literacy.
Words of wisdom!
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Old 12th Aug 2006, 14:27
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I filmed an excellent VHS video of George Aird taken in 1983 when he passed through Mount Hope, Hamilton piloting Mosquito TT35 RS712 E-GF, with co-pilot George Stewart of Canadian Warplane Heritage. The Mosquito was on a delivery flight to Kermit Weeks in Florida, who was present to greet the aircraft and crew. George did a fantastic 'beat-up' at Mount Hope that included a high speed pass along the runway at less than 100ft. The Merlin engine noise was amazing and caused a man next to me to explain, "God, this is better than sex".
The video runs for about 20 minutes and includes 3 flypasts and many ground closeups of the Mosquito and CAHS aircraft. I am in the process of converting the tape from NTSC VHS to DVD with the intention of posting on the 'net'
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Old 12th Aug 2006, 14:50
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You would be hard pushed to produce a photograph more dramatic than this - a pilot ejecting from a Lightning a few milliseconds before its final meeting with the earth.

But what makes it an absolute classic is the tractor, with the driver obviously looking aghast at the unfolding event. If he had been looking over his left shoulder, which would seem to be reasonable, it would probably have been less dramatic. Why does the tractor and driver make all the difference?

I reckon it was a set-up job.
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Old 12th Aug 2006, 15:29
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Originally Posted by udat
Hi there, dose anyone have that famous lightning photo?
The one with the guy looking over his shoulder on the tracktor as the jet is about one second away from digging a big hole for itself.

Thanks
hi all,
i have a photo of this incident on my hdd. ill see if i can upload it here.
(or if anyone wants a copy via email, let me know).
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Old 12th Aug 2006, 15:44
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the driver obviously looking aghast at the unfolding event
So would you, if you'd spent all the previous day cleaning the greenhouse windows...
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Old 12th Aug 2006, 16:02
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http://ormus55.fotopic.net/p32728986.html

the lightning photo.
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Old 12th Aug 2006, 16:27
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I had the pleasure of working with george at Emerald when he was piloting 748s great bloke and some great stories. :-)
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Old 13th Aug 2006, 15:09
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The first time I saw that photo was in the company magazine where it was captioned with;

"............A lot of our pilots are ex-military-test pilots.
Here is a photo of one of them engaged in Short Landing Technique trials on an English Electric Lightning.
No further tests were accomplished."
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Old 13th Aug 2006, 15:44
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More to the point, who was the sad muppet taking a picture of a tractor!!
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Old 14th Aug 2006, 00:40
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For what it's worth, from the Daily Mirror 9 October 1962 (via the reproduction of the article in Martin Bowman's book on the Lightning).

" Jim Meads is a Mirror reader who was trying to amuse his two children, Paul, 4, and Barry, 3, by taking a picture of them as the Lightning was coming in to land at the De Havilland airfield near their home at Hatefiled, Herts.

The idea was to picture the children against the airfield background.

But at 300 feet, the jet was roaring nose-first to its destruction at 200 miles an hour.

Pilot George Aird, 34, pressed the button of his ejector seat [sic] ... [in orginal for dramatic effect, not an edit!] an explosive capsule [sic] shot him out and up. The cockpit canopy flew away to his right.

The he began the headlong dive for earth, the seat trailing behind him with its half-opened parachute.

One Hundred and Fifity Feet to go...

And reader Meads pressed his button releasing the shutter of his camera at 1,000th of a second at an exposure of f.8 [ ]

He captured the astonishing moment of life of death for George Aird as a farmworker on a tractor jerked his head round to watch.

<snip>.

Reader Meads took his pictures to the Ministry of Aviation for use in an inquiry into the accident.

Yesterday they released them, thanked him for the "excellent photographs" and for his eye witness story of the accident. It was on September 13."
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Old 15th Aug 2006, 09:08
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Its an amazing photograph and still captivates me everytime i see it. Thankfully that 'muppet' was johnny on the spot!
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