P-38 Lightning

Manufacturer: Lockheed
Designation: P-38
Version: L
Nickname: Lightning
Type: Fighter (Pursuit)
Crew: Pilot
First flight: 1939 ?
Length: 37'10" 11.5 M
Height: 9'10" 3.0 M
Wingspan: 52'0" 15.8 M
Wingarea: 327.5 Sq Ft 30.4 Sq M
Empty Weight: 12,800 lbs 5804 Kg
Gross Weight: 20,700 lbs 9387 Kg
Max Weight: 21,600 lbs 9795 Kg
Armament: Four .50-cal. machine guns and one 20mm cannon  
No. of Engines: 2
Powerplant: Allison V-1710-111/113
Horsepower (each): 1475 hp  
Range: 450 miles 724 Km
Cruise Speed: 290 mph 466 Km/H 251 Kt
Max Speed: 414 Mph 666 Km/H 360 Kt
Climb: 2857 Ft/min 870 M/min
Ceiling: 44,000 Ft 13,411 M


The Lightning was designed in 1937 as a high-altitude interceptor. The first
one built, the XP-38, made its public debut on February 11, 1939 by flying from
California to New York in seven hours. Because of its unorthodox design, the
airplane experienced "growing pains" and it required several years to perfect it
for combat. Late in 1942, it went into large-scale operations during the North
African campaign where the German Luftwaffe named it "Der Gabelschwanz
Teufel"--"The Forked-Tail Devil."

Equipped with droppable fuel tanks under its wings, the P-38 was used
extensively as a long-range escort fighter and saw action in practically every
major combat area of the world. A very versatile aircraft, the Lightning was
also used for dive bombing, level bombing, ground strafing and photo
reconnaissance missions.  By the end of production in 1945, 9,923 P-38s had been

The P-38L on display is a fiberglass replica of S/N 44-27231.  

Click here to visit either the P-38 National Association, or the 475th Fighter Group Museum