P-38L Lightning “Allied Green” 1600mm (63″) Wingspan RC Airplane 6CH with LED Retracts PNP

 What would become one of the best fighters in World War II was created more by happenstance than by design. The Lockheed P-38 Lightning was originally designed as a bomber-interceptor and was never intended to be a fighter. Weight was kept to a minimum and it was far more advanced and faster than its U.S. counterparts, the Bell P-39 Airacobraand Curtiss P-40 Warhawk. It caught the attention of the US Army Air Corps (USAAC) very quickly and it would be in great demand. It was faster than the Zero—even on one engine. It shot down more Japanese airplanes than any other fighter during World War II—seven of the top scoring USAAF aces in the Pacific flew the P-38. It was as versatile as thede Havilland Mosquito, but it was the only truly successful twin-engine fighter of World War II.                                                                                                                                                                                             The XP-38 Lightning prototype was about as graceful looking as a 1930s airplane could get, but its clean lines were deceiving and disguised some major faults.


                                     What would become one of the best fighters in World War II was created more by happenstance than by design. The Lockheed P-38 Lightning was originally designed as a bomber-interceptor and was never intended to be a fighter. Weight was kept to a minimum and it was far more advanced and faster than its U.S. counterparts, the Bell P-39 Airacobraand Curtiss P-40 Warhawk. It caught the attention of the US Army Air Corps (USAAC) very quickly and it would be in great demand. It was faster than the Zero—even on one engine. It shot down more Japanese airplanes than any other fighter during World War II—seven of the top scoring USAAF aces in the Pacific flew the P-38. It was as versatile as thede Havilland Mosquito, but it was the only truly successful twin-engine fighter of World War II.                                                                  It was basically a hand-built airplane and was never meant to be mass produced. All skin sections were butt-joined using flush riveting, and all flight controls were metal covered. The total order was expected to be only fifty aircraft, so when orders started coming in by the hundreds, Lockheed had to scramble to find room to increase production. Over lunch, Lockheed’s president, Bob Gross, made a deal to buy the old 3-G whiskey distillery for $20,000 to make room for an additional production line. However, initial production was slow and by the time Pearl Harbor was attacked, on December 7, 1941, only 69 Lightnings were completed.                                                                        When first introduced in 1939, the Lightning was able to fly a steady course at 413 mph (665 km/h) making it the fastest production airplane in the world and it remained one of the fastest climbers right up to the end of the WW II. It wasn’t as fast as theMesserschmitt Me 209 which was able to attain a record 469 mph (755 km/h), but this record setting machine was built for the purposes of promoting theMesserschmitt Bf 109 and only four aircraft were built.                                                                                                      In 1937, the USAAC sent out specification X-608 to the leading aircraft manufacturers for a new pursuit aircraft. It would be a radical departure for existing fighters and required the following specifications:                                                                                                         • 360 mph (580 km/h) airspeed at 20,000 ft. (6,095 m).
• 290 mph (467 km/h) airspeed at sea level.
• Sustain full power for 1 hour at 20,000 ft. (6,095 m).
• Reach 20,000 ft. (6,095 m) in 6 minutes.
• Takeoff and land within 2,200 ft. (670 m) while clearing a 50 ft. (15 m) obstacle.                                                                    

 Lockheed had previously competed in 1936, but lost against Bell’s XFM-1 Airacuda. Lockheed was new in the military aircraft market and by competing against Boeing and Douglas, many felt they it was overstepping its boundaries. However, this view wasn’t shared by Lockheed’s president Robert E. Gross and he gave the go ahead for his design team to proceed with a plan.

    Lockheed’s chief engineer, Hall Hibbard and the then young Clarence “Kelly” Johnson, and their design team would come up with one of the boldest departures from traditional American fighter development. Hibbard realized that there wasn’t an engine in the world that would meet all of the specifications for speed, range, climb, firepower and other specifications. What they needed was two engines. Hibbard looked at the new Allison V-1710 engine which had just been tested to deliver 1,000 hp (745 kW) for 150 hours. Their airplane would require two of these engines and the aircraft design was narrowed down to six selections. With the final choice decided, the Lightning was a complete break from conventional airframe design, power and armament. It had twice the power and was almost twice the size of its predecessors. It had four .50 caliber machine guns plus a 20 mm cannon—enough firepower to sink a ship—and sometimes did. By locating the guns in the central fuselage pod, this eliminated a need for propeller synchronization and the twin booms provided extra space for the engines, landing gear and turbochargers.                 

Specifications:
Lockheed P-38 Lightning
Dimensions:
P-38J P-38L
Number Built: 2,970 3,810
Wing span: 52 ft 0 in (15.84 m) 52 ft 0 in (15.84 m)
Length: 37 ft 10 in (11.53 m) 37 ft 10 in (11.53 m)
Height: 12 ft 10 in (3.91 m) 12 ft 10 in (3.91 m)
Weights:
Empty: 12,780 lb. (5,797 kg) 12,800 lb. (5,806 kg)
Gross: 17,500 lb. (7,938 kg) 17,500 lb. (7,938 kg)
Performance:
Maximum Speed: 414 mph (666 km/h)
at 25,000 ft. (7,620 m)
414 mph (666 km/h)
at 25,000 ft. (7,620 m)
Service Ceiling: 44,000 ft. (13,410 m) 44,000 ft. (13,410 m)
Range: 450 miles (725 km) 450 miles (725 km)
Max Range: 2,600 miles (4,185 km) 2,600 miles (4,185 km)
Powerplant: Two 1,425 hp (1,062 kW)
Allison V-1710-89/91
Two 1,425 hp (1,062 kW)
Allison V-1710-111/113
Armament: 1 x 20 mm cannon, 4 x 0.50 caliber 
3,200 lbs (1,450 kg) bombs.
1 x 20 mm cannon, 4 x 0.50 caliber 
2,000 lbs (907 kg) bombs,
or ten 5 in. rockets,

                                                                     Tom McGuire scored 38 aerial victories in a P-38, making him our nation’s second highest scoring ace. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for shooting down seven enemy aircraft on December 25/26, 1944. He crashed to his death January 7, 1945, on Los Negros Island, Philippines, while performing a risky maneuver to save the life of a comrade.                                                                                                                                                               Credits: http://www.aviation-history.com/lockheed/p38.html                                                         

 

 

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