vintage, nostalgia and memories


August 4, 2017

Escape From the XG332 English Electric Lightning Crash – The Story Behind An Unbelievable Photograph

The aircraft is an English Electric Lightning F1. It was designed and created by the English Electric Aviation Company, who'd been contracted to develop a jet bomber at the end of World War II.

XG332 English Electric Lightning crash 

“This famous picture was taken by Jim Meads and is of English Electric P1B Lightning XG332 (used for test flying by BAC and DeHavilland) being departed by test pilot George Aird on September 13th 1962.

The aircraft suffered an engine fire which burned through the tailplane actuator rods causing XG332 to go into a violent pitch-up about 10 seconds before landing at the DeHavilland aerodrome at Hatfield (not Wattisham). The pilot ejected and landed in a greenhouse. He broke both legs, but was flying Lightnings again a year or so later.

The image became photo of the year 1962 after being cleared by the MOD. Jim recieved £1000 in prize money and this allowed him to become the photographer he is today,

Jim meads is my Grandfather,” said Oliver Meads



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