Lightning versus Spitfire: Clash of the Generations

When the possibility of RAF fighters coming up against Indonesian P-51 Mustangs during the 1960s confrontation reared its head, one pilot had an idea: pit Lightning against Spitfire


A very low pass by Lightning F3 XP696 and Spitfire PRXIX PS853 along the Binbrook flightline at the conclusion of a trial sortie, with a Javelin looking on.

The retirement of the last three Spitfire PRXIXs by the Temperature and Humidity Monitoring (THUM) Flight at Woodvale on 11 July 1957 is generally considered to have been the Supermarine fighter’s last hurrah as far as active RAF service was concerned. Incorporation of those Griffon-engined photoreconnaissance versions into what was then the Historic Aircraft Flight, now the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, heralded the type’s transition to the historic world. But, just a few years later, one of that trio found itself thrust temporarily back into a role with much modern-day relevance.

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