A team of engineers are currently working to restore English Electric Lightning T.5 XS456 at Skegness Airfield. The restoration began in June 2015 with the removal of access panels, and repairs to the aircraft’s bodywork. Since then the team has been busy repainting the T.5, and all the external markings will be applied soon.
The next stage will be to restore the cockpit, the aim being to make the aircraft both electrically and hydraulically ‘live’ – though this will depend on the outcome of further inspections.
Having flown for the first time in October 1965, XS456 served with 56 Squadron at Wattisham, and later with 11 Squadron at Binbrook. In 1977 it was assigned to the Lightning Training Flight, also at Binbrook, flying for the last time on June 18, 1987. The following year it was put on display at Elms Golf Club, Wainfleet, before being acquired by Skegness Airfield in 2010.
The XS456 restoration team has recently acquired two ejection seats for the project, but is still looking for a new canopy and pitot tube. Contact from anyone who might have information on these or other items is welcomed. www.xs456.co.uk WITH THANKS TO CRAIG WISE