THE DATE FOR THIS SPECIAL EVENT HAS BEEN CONFIRMED FOR MAY 18TH
The 18th of May marks almost exactly the 70th Anniversary of the innovative and daring WWII RAF mission called “Operation Chastise,” more commonly known as the “Dambuster Raid” which took place over the 16th and 17th of May 1943. The raid marked the combat debut of several technological advances which in addition to making the mission a success, served as proof-of-concept for the technology and techniques that would play a major role in the outcome of the war.
Marking the 60th birthday of former RAF 8th Squadron Avro Shackleton AEW.3 WL790 Mr. McHenry, the Pima Air and Space Museum has recently restored the plane and it will be a featured attraction, fresh out of the paint shop. The museum will also be allowing visitors to climb into the cockpit of an RAF English Electric Lightning. British cars and motorcycles from local enthusiast groups will be on hand as well to round out the “British Invasion” theme of this one-day special event.
With over 300 planes on display, the Pima Air and Space Museum in Tucson, Arizona, is among the largest aviation attractions in the world. Add to that the bus tours of the world-famous “Boneyard,” the largest aircraft storage and preservation facility in the world (M-F only), and it makes a trip to Pima a “MUST” regardless of where you’re coming from.
It’s probably just a slip of the electronic pen, but that Lightning looks like a Mk3, never heard of a MK53, perhaps the Saudi version. It is painted in 5 Squadron colours, RAF Binbrook, North Lincolnshire, England. I was a young Avionics technician there for over 5 years in the late 70’s, early 80’s (this included missiles).
You can tell the difference in marks. A Mk3 had one dorsal fine; a Mk6 had two, and two guns in the forward belly; and a Mk5 was the trainer or T-bird, and had two seats, side-by-side. I am too young to remember the earlier marks.
Just to bore you totally I did a large amout of my aircraft training in the Mk2 Shack at RAF Cosford.
I appreciate your attention to detail Bill. I had to double-check to be sure I hadn’t made a typo. According to the the Pima Air Museum’s site:
“This Mk.53 variant is the export version of the F.6 version of the Lightning. It was used by both Saudi Arabia from 1967 to 1986 and by Kuwait from 1968 to 1977. The Mk.53 added two under wing hardpoints that gave the ability to carry two one thousand pound bombs thus adding an air-to-ground capability to the aircraft.”
So at least in this case, I haven’t made an error.
I hope you’re enjoying the site!
Thanks for taking the time to answer. I do enjoy the site very much, and only wish I could get involved in something as interesting as the Mosquito rebuild. I live in Bomber County (Lincolnshire) and nothing happens up here (I’m assuming you’re not from the UK), it all happens in the south where all the money lies.So I have to live my dreams through the lucky people on your web site.
After I had written my last email I had a vague memory of us getting some ex-Saudi aircraft (I was second line servicing), and that might be why it wears our roundel. I thought it was a Mk3 as there’s no sign of the gun barrels, but again I guess the Mk53 lost them to allow for the weight of the bombs, or they may have been near the canopy as in the earlier versions. I’m starting to sound like my father-in-law with all his war time stories!
Bill thanks for the kind words!
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