Allied Wings #20: Lightning F.1


Phil Listemann




Scott Van Aken

Notes: ISBN: 9791096490141, Available at 70 Pages

I know the term 'iconic' is probably overused, but the English Electric Lightning can easily fill that term, especially the British aviation enthusiasts. A rather innovative design with its two engines atop each other, the plane had to be a nightmare for maintenance personnel with everything crammed into the airframe.

Designed as an interceptor, that is how the plane went through its entire life. No bombs for this one as really, there wasn't anywhere to put the bomb racks and the rather limited endurance of the aircraft made any sort of long range missions improbable.

The first version of the Lightning was, of course, the F.1. It was the variant that introduced RAF pilots to the aircraft. I can imagine that going from something rather staid like the Hunter into the Lightning was quite an event, even for an experienced pilot. Its acceleration was exhilarating and it was not a plane that was very forgiving. The accident rate was fairly high at the beginning and it was realized that a trainer was needed, but that is for a later edition perhaps.

In line with other books in this series, the author covers the development of the aircraft as well as its introduction into squadron service. This includes those aircraft used by a rather wide variety of secondary units, notably operational conversion units and target facilities flights to name a few. However, the real goodie in this book is that, with so few aircraft built, it is possible to devote most of the book to photos of each and every serial number. Well, almost, as some crashed so soon after being built that no images are available. The photos are good size and include both color and black & white images.

It is a superb addition to the series and a must have for fans of the type.

November 2017

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