Lightning-T5 Ground Crew
Bio: Russell Carpenter
Right from the age of 14 I dreamt about owning a Lightning.
My first opportunity came in October 1994 when I bought an F2 Cockpit (XN769) which I had in my garden in South East London for 7 years until I donated to the Malta Aviation museum in April 2001.
In October 2001 I bought XS458 from Tony Hulls which made my dream come true and that I owned an iconic piece of British Aviation Heritage. I realised then that I must preserve this wonderful aircraft for the next person because one day she will fly again!
Bio: Terry Richards
As a member of the ground crew it is a privilege to be working as part of the crew on XS 458 at Cranfield.
Ever since I was at school I had dreamt of joining the RAF, and was lucky enough to have my first postings with 111 Sqd and 56 Sqd on Lightnings at Wattisham.
Having now worked on 458 for nearly 3 years and been part of the Team involved in the conversion of XS458 to Electric Start, it has been a real experience and a piece of aviation history.
Bio: Colin Ranson
I entered the RAF as a national serviceman in 1960.
I was lucky to spend my second year with 83 Sqn which was the first squadron to operate the Avro Vulcan B2's. I graduated as an electrician (AIR) but as the Vulcan's were new, I, along with the whole squadron, spent most of the time polishing out oil stains from the beautiful all White anti-flash paint scheme.
My first recollection of the Lightning was 1963, the Farnborough Airshow. Seeing 56 Squadron launch their Lightning's one after another, watching them rotate into the verticle, hearing and feeling the vibrating noise and witnessing the awesome climbing power is still one of my happiest memories.
Following national service I enjoyed a career with commercial vehicles. My main job as a member of the T5 team is to service over 30 pieces of ground equipment used for access, mobility and ground power, all of which deserves as much attention as XS458 herself.
Bio: Andrew Pearce
I can't believe my luck being a member of the T5 team'. A point declared by Andrew when he joined in February 1996.
In the intervening years Andrew's First Class artistry has graced the 7 colour schemes worn by XS458 since her arrival to Cranfield in 1988. Two unique colour schemes, the 50th Anniversary scheme celebrating the P1, WG760's first flight and XS458's own 40th Birthday colours, both pale into insignificance compared to the magnificent hand painted 92 Squadron crest cobra that now adorns XS458.
From team artist to packing the brake parachutes and undertaking all manner of tasks, large and small - in Andrews words "You really can't get any better than working on an English Electric Lightning' and after 14 years 'I still can't believe my luck'.
Bio: Tony Hulls
‘Lightnings! I was only ever going to own Lightnings’.