The winter is usually quite a gap for many aviation enthusiasts with very few events to go to. This year, a new idea of twilight and night time photocalls has emerged. The first of these was the Lightning Preservation Group's Twilight Afterburner Extravaganza at Bruntingthorpe. Paul Johnson/Flightline UK reports. All photography copyright of the Author.
The Lightning Preservation Group started it's operation in 1988 with the arrival of it's first English Electric Lightning F6 - XR728 'JS' from RAF Binbrook. Since then the LPG has grown to include a further Lightning XS904 and the former RAF Wattisham Quick Reaction Alert Shed now in the process of restoration. The "QRA" shed restoration is a massive restoration task which has taken several years to become reality. It not only provides some much need cover for the two Lightnings but is also a historical
important structure in it's own right.
Bruntingthorpe in November is a cold and wet place, but the LPG put on an interesting evening. Visitors could first look around the QRA sheds and get a close look at the groups two aircraft in the daylight. With the light starting to fade at 4pm, Lightning F6 XS904 was towed out to some hard standing on front of the old control tower in the middle of the airfield with a convoy of enthusiasts cars in pursuit. Once in place each engine was started and run separately into full afterburner. It was quite a spectacle to be standing so close to such a powerful aircraft and certainly one for ear defenders!
Once complete the aircraft then returned to the QRA shed for a photocall under floodlights which again was a unique opportunity for photographers. Congratulations to the LPG on staging a very different and interesting event so successfully. Hopefully such events will be staged again at Bruntingthorpe and it will possibly encourage others to the same over the winter months!