Lockheed P-38 Lightning "Thoughts Of Midnight" Maintenance

General maintenance and inspection on the Lockheed P-38 Lightning "Thoughts Of Midnight" in southern Texas.

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History of the Lockheed P-38 Lightning

The Lockheed P-38 Lightning was a World War II American fighter aircraft built by Lockheed. Developed to a United States Army Air Corps requirement, the P-38 had distinctive twin booms and a single, central nacelle containing the cockpit and armament. Named "fork-tailed devil" by the Luftwaffe and "two planes, one pilot" by the Japanese, the P-38 was used in a number of roles, including dive bombing, level bombing, ground-attack, night fighting, photoreconnaissance missions, and extensively as a long-range escort fighter when equipped with drop tanks under its wings.

The P-38 was used most successfully in the Pacific Theater of Operations and the China-Burma-India Theater of Operations as the mount of America's top aces, Richard Bong (40 victories) and Thomas McGuire (38 victories). In the South West Pacific theater, the P-38 was the primary long-range fighter of United States Army Air Forces until the appearance of large numbers of P-51D Mustangs toward the end of the war.

The P-38 was unusually quiet for a fighter, the exhaust muffled by the turbo-superchargers. It was extremely forgiving, and could be mishandled in many ways, but the rate of roll in the early versions was too slow for it to excel as a dogfighter. The P-38 was the only American fighter aircraft in production throughout American involvement in the war.

P-38 Lightning Specifications
Crew...................
Wingspan...........
Length................
Height.................
Max Gross Wt....
Empty Wt............
1
52 ft 0 in
37 ft 10 in
12 ft 10 in
21,600 lb
12,800 lb
Powerplant.........
Horsepower.......
Max Speed.........
Range.................
Service Ceiling..
Rate Of Climb.....
2 ├Ś Allison V-1710 V12
1,425 hp
414 mph
1,300 miles
44,000 ft
4,750 ft/min

Armament

1 X Hispano M2 20 mm cannon with 150 rounds.
4 X M2 Browning 0.50 in machine guns with 500 rpg.
4 X M10 three-tube 4.5 in rocket launchers.

(Historical Information from Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 22 July 2004)