Royal Air Force Station Binbrook for future generations
XS457 at Binbrook in 1978 - image copyright - John Hurdle.
Ray is sixty years old and being a veteran of the 1958 Grimsby polio outbreak is disabled and suffers from Post Polio Syndrome.
He served for seven years in the Royal Observer Corps and became the Chief Observer for Lincoln 17 Post with Royal Air Force Station Binbrook being his 'home' station.
He has worked in the computer and telecommunications industry since 1968 and until 2001 worked for companies such as Plessey, GEC and Marconi.
Ray is a well known and respected engineer and was a member of the Nottingham Society of Engineers.
When time allows he is studying an Open Tech course in Aeronautical Engineering with the Aviation Training Association and is a member of the Lightning Association's groundcrew for English Electric Lightning F6 XR724.
During September 2001 after a long and intensive search for the correct project material, the nearly fully fitted out cockpit section of the former RAF Binbrook English Electric Lightning T5 XS457 (95017) was obtained.
This cockpit section will form the basis of the complete aircraft rebuild to as near flight condition as current conditions allow.
The main structures being the T55 rear fuselage from ZF595 (95027) and the F53 wings from ZF577 (95273).
The majority of it was in store with Richard Hukins in Kent apart from the wings which had already been moved back north to Colin's home near Kings Lynn.
Also during June 2002, Ray found and fetched the ailerons needed for the reverse engineering of the F53 wings and some more rear fuselage doors.
Ray also found and recovered six more Plessey AVPIN starters for the project from a scrapyard near Huddersfield.
They have all now been cleaned externally, re-packed and placed in deep storage.
All are ex:- RAF Binbrook and have 11 Squadron paperwork which makes them a nice addition to our rapidly expanding spares holding.
An additional item found was an ex:- Binbrook ASSF tyre inflation kit.
Although the casing is bent and battered, it is intact and functional and another piece of Binbrook history returns to our safe keeping.
One of our spare T5 canopies has gone to the USA to enable XS422 to fly earlier.
We have acquired two zero hour Rolls-Royce Avon MK302 engines and a third zero hour part engine for use as primary spares.
In addition, we have acquired a long interpipe, another short interpipe, two re-heat pipes, a further five nose legs and two stillages of engine dressings and ancillaries.
Ray has been appointed curator of the Anglo-American Lightning Organisation's English Electric Lightning engineering blueprints. There is at least six tons of them!
Deep storage has been established and all of the engines, pipes, spares, etc moved.
All of the airframe spares acquired from Anglo-American have been fetched and placed into deep storage pending a full inventory.
Another pair of F53 wings and a tailfin have been obtained.
A brand new portable Firewire test set has been found and purchased.
All of the major modules are now at Binbrook.
The principal aim of the project is to bring XS457 back to life once we have everything under cover.
Anyone who has been at Binbrook knows that it has it's own weather system.
Straight from Siberia!
The entire project will be subject to the appropriate full documentation control and each major structure will be tackled as an individual module.
The overhaul and re-assembly of the modules will take place at Binbrook.
Along with the Lightning Association's aircraft XR724, we now have the only two English Electric Lightning aircraft in the world still on their original operational station.
It has been a long, hard struggle, often against impossible odds to get this far but a sheer pleasure to save and preserve such a great part of our aviation heritage.
The future of these historic aircraft must be preserved at all costs.
A Lightning T5 two seater training aircraft.
It's Rolls Royce Avon MK302 engines produce thirty two thousand six hundred pounds of thrust and are capable of propelling the aircraft vertically to forty thousand feet faster than anything the Royal Air Force currently flies.
English Electric Lightning XS457 (T5) will be rebuilt and maintained under our dedicated care.
All rights reserved. Last updated 2 March 2011 by Ray Whiteley.