11 Sqn Lightning pilot – Binbrook memories

Ian Black described in the January 2016 issue of Aviation News his time flying the English Electric Lightning on 11 (Fighter) Squadron at RAF Binbrook

With just 47 hours of Lightning flying under my belt I arrived on 11 (Fighter) Squadron on February 20, 1986.  Many had passed before me and by a circuitous route I was now the last ab initio pilot to join these hallowed ranks.  My flying to date had been mixed – 750 hours on the RAF's F-4M Phantom, a mix of Jet Provost T.3 and T.5, as well as over 100 hours on the nimble Hawk.  To say I felt underprepared as to what lay ahead would be a gross understatement, the 47 hours of flying on the Lightning Training Flight (LTF) included some 'sandbagged flights' – a term from the First World War that referred to ballast being placed in the cockpit when pilots flew solo – and the odd sortie I had to re-fly on the training course.  I could fly a Lightning at night, do basic air combat, fly on instruments and operate the radar on simple attack profiles. 


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