In an international study, the Lightning was voted the fifth most popular military aircraft of all time. It has many thousands of devotees who are a ready market for this entertaining book which relates the highs and lows, the dramas and the demands of those who operated this iconic aircraft from the sharp end.
Tales include the recollections of an aerobatic display pilot, an implausible yet true account of telepathic communication, and an extraordinary episode when a Lightning pilot on an exchange programme with the French air force became embroiled in a mid-air collision. An unverified yet probably genuine world record is also revealed in one of the chapters.
In addition to the 16-page photo section, the book features a unique sketch from renowned aviation artist Chris Stone - who is a former Lightning pilot. The style, scope and pace of the writing will appeal to the general reader as well as to the enthusiast.
Richard Pike became a flight cadet in 1961 at the RAF College, Cranwell, where on graduation, he was awarded the Dickson Trophy and Michael Hill memorial prize for flying. In the early stages of his forty-year flying career he flew the English Electric Lightning before converting to the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom. On leaving the Royal Air Force he became a civilian helicopter pilot. His duties took him to a wide variety of destinations at home and overseas including the Falkland Islands not long after the end of the Falklands War. His last assignment was in Kosovo helping to distribute emergency humanitarian aid on behalf of the United Nations World Food Programme. He and his wife live in Aberdeenshire. He is the author of several Grub Street titles including: Lightning Boys, Lightning Boys 2, Hunter Boys and Phantom Boys Volume 1 and 2.