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Was the Lightning really THAT good ?

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Was the Lightning really THAT good ?

Old 14th Oct 2015, 12:01
  #161 (permalink)  
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Didnt the Saab Draken achieve roughly similar performance (difficult to compare different variants at different stages of development) using just one Avon?

I am surprised by the criticism of the Firestreak & Red Top. My memory from my training is that the seaker head on these was far more sophisticated and sensitive than the equivalent Sidewinder and it wasnt until later marks of the AIM-9 that the seaker performance caught up?
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Old 14th Oct 2015, 12:23
  #162 (permalink)  
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Andyy, IIRC the Draken was powered by a Volvo Flygmotor engine, built under licence and identical to the Avon in the Lightning.
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Old 14th Oct 2015, 13:26
  #163 (permalink)  
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I recall Gunston's comments on the first flights of the P.1 and the first Saab 35, to the effect that the Saab pilot may have been more relaxed, since he had 70 per cent as much internal fuel and half the engines...
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Old 14th Oct 2015, 14:22
  #164 (permalink)  
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For those interested in the safety record of this brilliant aeroplane, have a look at 'Ligbtning Eject' by Peter Caygill.

It includes the story of bow Flt Lt Eric Steenson failed to get airborne in XR 711 and slid along Wattisham' s runway on his belly tank. Great bloke who signed me off as a 737 Skipper. Sadly passed away last month.

I can still feel my internal organs vibrating to the sound of a Lightning formation team at Farnborough '64.
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Old 15th Oct 2015, 10:22
  #165 (permalink)  
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Old 15th Oct 2015, 11:37
  #166 (permalink)  
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Hello newt. Still haven't found your old TVR I'm afraid (or my first one for that matter).

P.S. Sorry for thread drift
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Old 15th Oct 2015, 21:39
  #167 (permalink)  
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Thought I had found it a couple of months ago but it was the same year but two numbers different!
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Old 18th Oct 2015, 03:58
  #168 (permalink)  
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More years ago than I care to recount, I saw a photo of a Lightning that had taken station on the port side of a Russian 'Bear', somewhere over the North Sea. In the Bear's bomb aimer's 'bubble' was a crew member who was waving and smiling. Rumour had it that the Lightning pilot was displaying an open Playboy centrefold to said Russian crewman. Does anyone have a copy of this?
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Old 18th Oct 2015, 09:24
  #169 (permalink)  
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Willi B - I have sent you a PM.

From my experience, opening up a centrefold of Playboy within the confines of a Lightning's cockpit would have been a feat of extraordinary origami. I assume that it is a copy of the photo that you want - not the Playboy centrefold
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Old 18th Oct 2015, 10:22
  #170 (permalink)  
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Willib, I thought it was the other way around with the Bear showing the centre fold.
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Old 18th Oct 2015, 22:45
  #171 (permalink)  
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Please see your PMs
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Old 18th Oct 2015, 22:51
  #172 (permalink)  
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PN, I think your recollection is correct.
I remember seeing this pic in B&W (was it in "Air Clues" ?) with the rear crewman holding up the centrefold in the Bear aft (port?) bubble. Yes, the other way around, it would have been origami gymnastics by the WIWOL.
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Old 18th Oct 2015, 22:57
  #173 (permalink)  
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As Shakespeare's Henry V said, 'Old men forget'.

Hopefully I'll be reminded shortly.
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Old 19th Oct 2015, 16:44
  #174 (permalink)  
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Well, Newt, considering that within 6 months of leaving Germany I was checked out on the F4 with Pulse Doppler radar, 4 genuine head-on missiles that did not need a target going fast enough for skin heat, 4 reliable IR missiles with better performance than Firestreak or Red Flop, a gun and enough fuel to loiter for more than a couple of hours - and it performed adequately for not only the AD role but Recce and GA too. Add nuclear strike to it's repertoire as well!
Yes, the Lightning was a superb sports machine and very impressive but not as good as people who did not operate a real war machine think.

I rest my case.
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Old 19th Oct 2015, 17:08
  #175 (permalink)  
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" soddim" it took you so long to answer I thought you may have departed the fix! Yes the F4 had all those things! You forgot to mention it also had a navigator to operate the weapons system. Not required in a Lighning! And we still used to score plenty of kills against them!
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Old 19th Oct 2015, 17:18
  #176 (permalink)  
Ecce Homo! Loquitur...
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Swanning around at 15K looking low with PD for the bad guys - because that's what it was best at. However....

Post-USSR inspections of the Backfire/Blackjack revealed no low-level kit. Why not? It seems they tactics were to have been to ingress supersonic at about 50K and loft AS-4/AS-6 under heavy ECM, with the Mx penetrating at 80K+.

So, a "real war machine" in Vietnam, but in Cold War WWIII?

Tomb drivers had a sense of superiority..... Lightning drivers had fun......
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Old 19th Oct 2015, 20:43
  #177 (permalink)  
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I am not one to post generally, but read with interest this and other threads.

My thoughts after tours on Lightning, F15, F4 and Tornado F3.

F15 overall best of the lot for weapons and handling, Lightning best for handling and raw performance, F4 good for weapons. F3 best for information.

However; F4 worst for handling, only behaved like a real fighter when almost empty of fuel.

Lightning best 'feel'. Shame about the lack of fuel and weapons, but hey you can't, have everything. We certainly had fun!
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Old 19th Oct 2015, 20:48
  #178 (permalink)  
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Newt, every pilot has his memories of 'lots of kills' but those are personal victories and not often representative of true comparison or evaluation.
For example, within a few months of leaving the Lightning I went to Binbrook to pick up a diverted F4 with an exchange Marine Corps RIO with two Vietnam tours to his credit. He embarrassed me in the crewroom by shouting 'Any of you Lightning pilots want a fight?' We took off as a 1 v 2 and claimed kills on both repeatedly until they ran out of fuel. However, the cloudbase was around 400ft with tops over 30k and we were never VMC for any of the engagements so what would one expect?
I enjoyed the pleasure of flying the Lightning and the operational satisfaction of the F4.
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Old 19th Oct 2015, 21:04
  #179 (permalink)  
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@ MACH2NUMBER ... some might defer to your background, but I wouldn't hold your breath on this Thread!!

Interesting insight, though
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Old 19th Oct 2015, 21:16
  #180 (permalink)  
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Thanks for the photographs.

PN and BBadanov,

Your respective recollections of the photograph in question are correct.
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