The Lockheed P-38 Lightning flew for the first time seventy-five years ago today. The twin-boomed P-38 was fast, heavily armed and extremely versatile. The P-38 was the first American fighter capable of flying faster than 400 miles per hour. Turbo-supercharged engines with boom-mounted radiators gave the Lightning superb high-altitude performance and the tricycle landing gear made engine maintenance easier for maintainers and helped to reduce accidents during take-off and landing. P-38 pilots executed the long-range intercept mission that killed Japan’s Admiral Yamamoto, who planned the Pearl Harbor attack. The P-38M variant was one of the fastest night fighters of World War II and the F-4 and F-5 photo-gathering Lightnings were among the best reconnaissance aircraft of the war. The P-38 was flown by Majors Richard I. Bong and Thomas B. McGuire, America’s top-scoring aces of all time with 40 and 38 victories, respectively.
IN this article you can see a photo of the P-38L Lightning “Ruff Stuff” at the 2012 Thunder Over Michigan Air Show. The P-38L was the most numerous model produced with 3,923 built. Visit www.aviation-enthusiasts.com for more aviation and air show memories!