A FORMER Cold War jet fighter has been added to Old Sarum Airfield’s Boscombe Down Aviation Collection (BDAC).

And the English Electronic Lightning supersonic jet fighter has been reunited with the pilot who last flew the aircraft 36 years ago.

“I never expected to see her again,” said Squadron Leader Jim Wild, who travelled from Norfolk to see the aircraft at Old Sarum.

“I last saw my supersonic English Electric Lightning fighter when I landed her at Farnborough on April 4, 1977 after flying her back from our base at RAF Gütersloh in Germany.”

“My squadron, number 92, had just finished flying Lightnings and my aeroplane, XN726, was to end her days being used as a target for weapons testing.

The aircraft was sent by road to Shoeburyness in Essex to have different types of shrapnel fired at her, to find what type would cause the most damage to enemy aircraft.

“I’m delighted the cockpit section survived and is being restored by BDAC inside their hangar, after spending over 30 years outside in all weathers.”

Museum volunteer Hugh Trevor, who is working on the cockpit, said: “It’s wonderful to have the Lightning reunited with her former pilot. Jim’s name is still painted on the side and he’s kindly donated the joystick and other parts to the project.

“Despite her ordeal, the Lightning cockpit is in reasonable condition and hopefully the restoration will be completed by the late summer. Jim has already promised to come back for a few days to lend a hand, even though he lives in Norfolk.”