English Electric Lightning, 1949-1959.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Models (both scale 1:24). Representational and wind tunnel models of the first fighter of the Royal Air Force capable of supersonic speed in level flight. The upper model was tested in a wind tunnel before the prototype made its maiden flight and is shown mounted on a support as used in wind tunnel tests. Wind tunnel testing of the Lightning began in 1949, and the first prototype was flown in 1954, when it became the first British aircraft to break the sound barrier in level flight. The Lightning entered service with the RAF in 1960.