Cranfield Airfield

Simply Planes Image

SEPECAT Jaguar. Photo by Bob Franklin

Cranfield Airfield situated in the heart of Bedfordshire, which was originally a World War II Aerodrome, RAF Cranfield. Cranfield is used extensively by fixed-wing and helicopter flight training organisations and used to be home to Kennet Aviation's collection of vintage aircraft.

Cranfield itself is unique as it is the home of the only English Electric Lightning T.5 (XS458) in the country, which is kept in fully taxiable condition and is owned by Russell Carpenter.

Cranfield Classic Jets Air Show 1998 - 16th August 1998

Four Hawker Hunters, Mikoyan-Gurevich PZL-Mielec SBLim-2A (MiG-15UTI) and Folland Gnat pair at Cranfield Classic Jets Air Show 1998

Midway through the air show season Cranfield opened its doors for a large variety of classic aircraft. Even though the majority of these were classic jets, there was a presence from the RAF with the Jaguar and Tornado, and also a sprinkling of vintage piston aircraft including a Spitfire, Mustang and Corsair.

With a nonstop flying programme throughout the day the jets were much in evidence. With displays from the larger jets such as the MiG, Canberra and Sea Vixen, and smaller aircraft including The Gnat Pair, Venom and Jaguar. With an added bonus of a fast taxi run from Tony Hulls's Lightning T.5.

Images courtesy of Bob Franklin

Cranfield Lightnings

English Electric Lightning

When the Lightning finished flying with the RAF, businessman Arnold Glass purchased several aircraft with a view to keeping some of them airworthy. They were subsequently flown down to Cranfield and sat around on the airfield for some time, before the decision was made to scrap all but two of them.

One of these aircraft (T.5 XS452) was bought by Tony Hulls which he restored back to taxiable condition. Which subsequently was bought by Mike Beachyhead and dismantled and shipped out to South Africa, where it was rebuilt to flying condition. Tony then purchased the remaining T.5 (XS458) and brought the aircraft back into taxiable condition. The aircraft makes regular fast taxi runs down Cranfield's runway.

Images courtesy of Jon Mynard