(All images courtesy of Chris Summers of www.kits-kits.co.uk, reproduced with permission)
It’s been an interesting few months for lost aviation artifacts turning up on eBay! In December 2011 we reported that this still classified A-12 Avenger II canopy had mysteriously come to light. Now the tail fin of an English Electric Lightning that once occupied pride of place as the “gate guard” at RAF Binbrook in Lincolnshire has been sold via the online auction site.
When RAF Binbrook closed as a military base in 1988, the Lightning F.3 (serial number XP748, pictured above) was sent to the Pendine bombing ranges as a target before its battered remains were finally scrapped. This happened despite the fact that the jet – which was mounted on a plinth inside Binbrook’s gate – was in good condition at the time of its disposal, and the availability of several gutted “decoy” Lightnings parked out on the airfield. Ironically, several of these hulks have since been restored.
Lightning enthusiasts in particular will be encouraged by the tail fin’s survival. It may not be the entire aircraft, but it does underscore that some remains continue to escape the scrap man and that more artifacts may come back from the dead in the future. Pendine was an undignified end for this awesome machine, but two decades after it was supposedly scrapped, the tail fin fetched £308 on eBay!