Historic Plane Being Restored in Hancock County

By David Elliott - bio | email

HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - The English Electric Lightning Supersonic fighter is one of the most impressive military jets built in the 20th century. The Lightning was first built in the 1950's and served in the British Royal Air Force through the mid 1980s.

"It's a unique part of British aviation history and world aviation history," says Nic Holman with Anglo-American Lightning Association.

The group has brought one Lightning to a hanger at Stennis International Airport to restore it and make it air worthy. Holman says the jet is a rare breed.

"There are only four flying in the world today out of 340 that were built."

The Lightning T5 XS422 being restored protected Great Britain from the Soviet Union during the cold war. In it's hey day, the Lightning reached an altitude in excess of 80,000 feet traveling at 1600 miles an hour.

The crew of volunteers rebuilding the Lightning are from both America and the U.K. The restoration is 80% complete and the crew is looking forward to the moment this Lightning strikes again.

"I think you might see a few tears from grown men on that day when it takes off," says Holman.

For more information on the plane and the mission, click HERE.

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