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ZF579 is an F.53, export version of the English Electric Lightning. Serial 53-671, exported in 1968 to RSAF Jeddah as no 203 with 2SQ. At the end of her career in Saudi, she was ferried back to British Aerospace Warton in January 1986. ZF579 was retired, dismantled, and moved to Portsmouth for deep storage, languishing in a water sodden container for 7 years. ZF579 is one of the few ex Saudi examples to be in sound overall condition. Most suffered very badly during their storage in wet containers.

 

In 2000, the aircraft was a shell, 579 looked in a very sorry state. After inspection, it was decided feasible to completely re-build ZF579, with an overall schedule of 8-9 years to fully restore as close to original condition as possible, as a preserved and only ‘live’ F53 machine in the world. The program started in August 2001. The end goal is a fully functioning aircraft. Returning the airframe to a fully live condition will ensure its protection and future preservation, and with its low FI also allowing it (where financially viable) to be an option in the future for a return to flight re-build

For further enquiry's about lightning's or ZF579 email Project53 team (project53@gatwick-aviation-museum.co.uk)