Aircraft Type Photos
BELOW: English Electric Lightning F3 XR720.
Photo of the Lightning Training Flight, RAF Binbrook, seen arriving for IAT 83. This aircraft was scrapped during 1988.
Photo: 1983 Mike Freer - Touchdown-aviation.
BELOW: Looking every inch the fighter she is!! Marked as 'BQ' of 11 Sqn. msn 95250. Taxiing back after a high speed taxi run. 2012 Cold War Jets Day. Bruntingthorpe. 06-5-2012.
Photo: 2012 Alan Wilson
This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.
Aircraft Type and Background
RAF English Electric Lightning F6 / XS900/M
Aircraft Type Designation: (Single-seat all-weather interceptor fighter)
The prototype English Electric (Later BAC) Lightning was first flown in December 1952. Two years later, in 1954, the second prototype fitted with twin Armstrong Siddeley Sapphire engines took to the air for exhaustive testing.
The first full production Lightning F.1 became airborne in October 1959. In the same year, Lightnings first entered service with the RAF.
The English Electric Lightning was the first single-seat fighter designed for the RAF that exceeded the speed of sound in level flight. The production version was equipped with two Rolls-Royce Avon 210 series engines; although other types had also been used. It could reach a speed of Mach 2.3 (2,400km/h / 1,500mph) at 11,000m / 36,000ft. It's service ceiling was 18,290m / 60,000ft.
Lightnings were gradually phased out of RAF service between 1974 and 1988.
BELOW: English Electric Lightning T4 two-seat side-by-side training version (based on the F1A) at Farnborough Air Show.
Note the Firestreak missile below the wing.
Photo: 1964 Adrian Pingstone ('Arpingstone')
This work has been released into the public domain by its author, Arpingstone.
Aircraft Accident Details
English Electric Lightning XS900/M from RAF Leuchars had refuelled at RAF Lossiemouth and had just become airborne again when it developed an in-flight fire. The fire burned through the flight control links, making it impossible for the pilot to maintain control of the aircraft.
Following previous in-flight fires, pilots had been briefed that they might have as little as 30 seconds after seeing the Fire Warning Lights before the controls burnt through. Under these circumstances, the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) was to eject—which the pilot did.
Meanwhile, the aircraft came down from a great height vertically and buried itself in very soft ground just north of Milltown Airfield. The resulting crater filled up with water and the fire crews could not keep up with the flow.
When the Rescue Crew from RAF Lossiemouth arrived at the crash scene in their Land Rover, they believed initially that the pilot was still in the aircraft. However, they were told shortly afterward that the pilot had ejected and had been picked up by a Search and Rescue (SAR) chopper.
Following the crash, the RAF attempted to recover the airframe. However, their pumps proved inadequate for the flow of water at that location. (Milltown lies below sea level.)
Some time later, a REME Unit was assigned to recover the wreckage of the Lightning aircraft. However, they too experienced great difficulty recovering the engines as they kept sinking into the mud. The water table is about 15cm (6 inches) at that location.
Parts of the airframe are still there to this day.
[Initial information above kindly provided by Brian McCudden. Subsequent details kindly provided by Alan Leishman via Alan Thomson.]
Aircraft Pilot Survivor
The pilot of this aircraft ejected safely. He was:
Flt Lt S. "Dusty" Miller.
Crash Date / Site
Accident Date: 24 Jan 1968
Inchbroom Farm [map], Milltown
(north-west of Milltown Airfield)
NOTE: The arrow on the map relates to the location of Inchbroom Farm — not the crash site. The crash site lies to the east of the farm, and close to the tree line.
Nearest road: B9103
Nearest town or village: Elgin
Nearest large town: Elgin
OS Grid Ref. N/A
GPS Ref: N/A
Present Condition: Engines recovered but other parts remain buried at crash site.
Registration or Serial: XS900/M
Operator: RAF (5 Squadron)
Station Location (Leuchars): Leuchars, Fife.
Current Station Status: Was due for closure in 2013.
RAF and Related LinksRAF Lossiemouth (Station History)
RAF Lossiemouth (Viewing Guide)
RAF Milltown at Secret Scotland Wiki (includes map of airfield)
Thunder and Lightnings (English Electric Lightning History)
English Electric Lightning (Lightning Association)
Hill Walking Links
(Hillwalking and Mountaineering)
Hillwalking (The Scottish Mountaineering Club)
Hillwalking.org.uk (Equipment, etc.)
Mountain Guides (Routes, maps, advice and guidance compiled by Steven Fallon)
OutdoorScotland.co.uk (Directory of Clubs, Associations, and Mountain Rescue Teams)
WalkingScotland (The official Walking site of Scotland's national tourism organisation)
Emergency Services Link
If you cannot make voice calls, you can now contact the 999 emergency services by SMS text from your mobile phone.
Medical Information and Advice
E. E. Lightning XS900/M
Inchbroom Farm, Milltown, Moray