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If one engine couldn’t do the job, why not two? This was a radical departure from the fighter construction of the time.
Twin booms, twin engines and twin tails gave the P-38 twice the size and power of its predecessors. With improvements to the dive brakes, turbo, windshield and maneuvering flaps, the Lightning achieved design perfection.
The guns located in the center pod needed no prop synchronizers and the P-38 could carry up to 4,000 lbs. of external bombs and rockets, the same payload as a B-25.
The P-38 shot down the bomber carrying Admiral Yamamoto in1943.
It is affectionately remembered by veterans serving in the Pacific, North African desert, the Mediterranean and Germany.
The photo version seen here is the lightest and fastest of the P-38s, having no armor or guns. Originally built as a P-38L it was converted to F-5G before entering service.
After WWII this P-38 flew for an aerial survey company until acquired by Yanks in 1990 and restored to it’s authentic photo recon configuration.
Service History of 41-36483
Delivered: June 7, 1945
June 1945 - Dallas Modification Center, TX
July 1945 - San Antonio Air Material Center, Kelly AAF, TX
Feb 1946 - To Kingman, AZ and disposed as surplus
Served with Republic of Honduras 1962-63
Flew with five different survey companies.
|MFG: Lockheed Aircraft
First Produced: 1940
Powerplant: (2) Allison V1710-11
Prop: Curtiss Electric C/S
Service Ceiling: 44,000 ft.
Cruise: 290 mph
Top Speed: 420 mph
Range: 450 miles
Empty Weight: 12,800 lbs
Gross Weight: 17,500 lbs
|Wing Span: 52’
Wing Area: 327.5 sq. ft.
Armament: Cameras only.
Number Built: 10,037 total
150 F-5 Models
CHASED BY A P-38
Visitors often ask how we acquire our aircraft: Here is a little history behind our P-38 and how it found us.
The first civilian owner, Kargl Aerial Survey Co. purchased this P-38 in 1946 from the “War Assets Administrator” for $1,200. In 1947, it sold to Aero Exploration Co. and 1953 to Mark Hurd Aerial Survey Inc. of Goleta, CA. In 1965 the aircraft sold once again to Pacific Aerial Survey and in 1964 to Byers Airways Inc. for $12,000. Lockheed had converted the aircraft to a two-seater for mapping and for nearly two decades this P-38 Lightning, officially known as the F-5 photo reconnaissance version was used for aerial mapping of regions ranging from the United States to the North Pole.
I.N. Burchinal Jr. purchased the plane in 1971. Known as “Junior,” Burchinal was an accomplished pilot and founder of the Flying Tiger Air Museum. He collected, restored and taught flying lessons in vintage World War II aircraft. Junior was a stunt pilot for Universal Studios, and his planes were featured in several movies including “The Great Waldo Pepper,” “Baa, Baa Black Sheep,” and “Midway.” A bit of a “preacher” Junior said he could pray better if he flew “upside down off the ground”.
David M. Boyd purchased the P-38 aircraft in 1973 and spent about $350,000 restoring it. Yanks Air Museum’s founder “Nichols” flew to Tulsa, OK to meet with Boyd about the sale of this P-38 and they settled on a price. Due to the passing of Boyd’s mother, the sale was never completed.
Soon after, while the P-38 was still in Tulsa, Red Stevenson called Nichols to see if he was still interested in purchasing the P-38. When asked how he acquired the aircraft Red stated that he traded an apartment complex for it. Red said it was in perfect shape and flyable. Nichols was to pay for all expenses to have the aircraft flown to Chino. As this was not acceptable to Red, the P-38 was thought not to be airworthy, and the sale was never completed.
Another year had passed when the Wein Brothers contacted Nichols to see if he was still interested in purchasing the P-38. Their late father was the owner of the successful Wein Alaska Airlines founded in 1927. The brothers were quite well off and the P-38 was a famous and revered aircraft they were determined to fly, but it was not to be.
The aircraft had been under restoration for a year and a half. On its test flight, while nursing some problems with engine one, engine two quit and the aircraft was forced to land. Finally she flew again, but after about 100 miles more problems had developed. That’s when the brothers decided to offer the P-38 for purchase. The price was agreed upon and when asked “where is the P-38?” the brothers replied “do you know where Chino is?” Nichols said “I can handle it from here.” Before the aircraft could slip away again, the Yanks crew piled on the tug, all eager to see the famous P-38 Lightning and drove across the ramp to pick her up and bring her home to Yanks.