When Lighming struck
I enjoyed reading the British Grand Prix edition of Motor Sport (August), and was pleased you mentioned the Red Arrows and other air displays that kept the crowds entertained. My father used to take my brothers and I to the GP at Brands Hatch in the late 1960s and early ’70s. I remember on one occasion being treated to a flying display by a BAG Lightning. When I saw the programme listing the Lightning I wasn’t terribly impressed. Surely a lone aircraft was not going to be very interesting?
As the Lightning flew over the dip between the main straight and the South Bank at a ridiculously low altitude I clasped my hands over my 13-year-old ears but was aware of the unpleasant sensation of all my internal organs vibrating. All thoughts of self-respect disappeared and I flung myself to the ground, curled up in the foetal position, hands still clasped over my ears to prevent my viscera from turning to jelly and to preserve my eardrums. Finally, the pilot performed a ‘tail stand’. This involved flying over the main straight and pulling up into a near-vertical climb. The aircraft disappeared from view, its afterburners glowing orange and being swallowed up by the clouds. It is fair to say we were all left breathless and shattered by the experience. My brothers and I still talk in hushed tones about the Lightning! I have never seen a flying display since that has compared. The race was tame in comparison! Nigel Foot, Maidenhead, Berkshire