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5.0 out of 5 starsEnglish Electric Lightning - Hotrod to the Clouds, and Beyond
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 10, 2016
A well constructed DVD showing not only the development of the Lightning, but also the challenges posed by the sound barrier and the experimental aircraft designs aimed at allowing control to be maintained up to and beyond the barrier, vital to the development of supersonic aircraft.
Many shots of various Lightning Marks on exercise, and at airshows, showing off its power and manoeuvrability, especially its incredibly tight turning ability. A bonus short five minute film gives the viewer a glimpse of what the Lightning was like to fly. Incredibly fast and powerful but beautifully responsive seems to be the verdict. I enjoyed the description of the pilot who, unfamiliar with the almost brutal power of the aircraft, reached 28,000 feet on full reheat before getting the undercarriage up.
Roland Beamont, the great test pilot, gives many insights on his Lightning test flying experiences, including his part in persuading the manufacturer to redesign and install an in-flight refuelling probe that the pilot could actually see and use. He, and other distinguished pilots, also give views on the decisions to install, then not install, and finally re-install cannon which virtually all pilots agreed was a necessity for a fighter aircraft and a trend which all current fighter aircraft have followed.
A very interesting DVD with lots of what appears to be quite rare footage, including early test flights of the P1 from which the Lightning was developed. The DVD also contains some footage of the North American Sabre, MiG 15, Gloster Meteor, and Hawker Hunter to give the viewer an idea of the excellent sub-sonic aircraft then flying in, and why the Lightning was a huge leap ahead in terms of performance.
Anyone interested in this immensely powerful and complex machine and its part in the Cold War years would enjoy this DVD which gives the background on the reasons for its birth, its various teething problems, limitations, and its eventual development into a much loved interceptor and multi-role aircraft by those lucky enough to have chosen to fly it. or to have seen it perform at airshows._
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 16, 2019
Bought as a gift for my brother in law to remind him of our annual visit to RAF Leuchars air display over many years, until it was closed as a base and changed to an Army Base a couple of years ago. When in service, the Lightning was a favourite of ours and the dvd is a great reminder and was appreciated by him.
Other than it was a top notch performer used to intercept Soviet aircraft coming into NATO airspace i new very little about this iconic British aircraft,this dvd has changed that,one hour and five minutes long followed by a short lasting six minutes the history of the aircraft is well covered,lots of well shot footage and people like Eric Brown giving their accounts all good stuff,the one drawback is the use of none copyright jazz type music-horrible,the short is heavy with this noise and also a flat narration use the mute and take in the images of this magnificent aircraft,more engine noise and less music would have made a better film.A very good production that pays tribute to the people who designed,built,serviced,and flew one of historys greatest flying machines.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 15, 2010
Excellent documentary of the amazing Lighting. Covers right from concept to retirement but the only thing this DVD lacks is just some amazing footage of the lighting itself, don't get me wrong, there's plenty of footage but none that just blow your mind or of the noise this stunning bird makes. I lived at Binbrook when 5 and 11 squadrons were based there and the one thng I miss is the noise of those 2 Avon engines as it takes off. On the whole this is a great DVD but just lacks a bit of wow factor which this plane had amples of.
If you're looking for the history and development of British jet fighters, from the early days just after the war, then this DVD provides a very good account and for this I'd rate 5 stars. If you're looking for more of a 'road test' type account, which I was, then this DVD doesn't quite hit that mark. I was hoping for more footage covering the noise that these things made at full throttle during the Farnborough shows of the early seventies and its ability to breach the sound barrier with ease and although these points are mentioned actual footage showing this was not. Still a good DVD though and the addition of a short promotional film from the late sixties is a nice touch. There's not many DVDs around covering the Lightning and this one does offer a reasonable account of the aircraft but just lacks a bit of the wow factor that I remember was always associated with these planes during its heyday.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 8, 2013
There are not many dvd's out there that focus on Lightnings so I was pleased to find this one, as has been said before its a shame more focus could not be directed to the sound of the planes rather than the background jazz!