YouTube – P-38 Lightning
2- V 1,425 hp ea.
1- 20 mm
4- .50 cal.
37 ft. 10 in.
52 ft. 0 in.
P-38 Lightning aircraft were the only U.S. fighter planes produced throughout World War II and the first U.S. fighter planes to have a top speed of over 400 mph.
The P-38 Lightning gained fame in the hands of Major Richard Bong. Major Bong became the highest scoring American ace of all time with 40 victories.
In 1939, during an attempt to set a transcontinental speed record from California to New York, Lt. Ben Kelsey made an emergency landing in his P-38 Lightning, just short of its final destination. The engines had quit on final approach to the airport due to carburetor icing. The aircraft was destroyed; however Kelsey escaped with minor injuries. Despite the accident, the Army contracted with Lockheed to begin production of the aircraft.
To try to cure high speed elevator flutter, Lockheed affixed mass balances to the middle of the elevator of the P-38. This dampened, but did not cure the flutter. Although it was later found out that the flutter was due to the disturbance of air coming from the joint of the root of the wing and the center fuselage section, the balances continued to be installed on all the aircraft.
During high speed dives, the controls of the P-38 Lightning would become unmovable at higher altitudes. This was known as “compressibility stall”. If a pilot had the nerve to stay with the aircraft, without bailing out, until it reached the denser air of lower altitudes, the problem would usually right itself. Eventually a number of aerodynamic changes made to the aircraft would cure the problem, primarily putting dive flaps on the bottom center line of the wings.
If the P-38 Lightning lost an engine on takeoff, the torque of the working propeller would roll the aircraft towards it. This is just the opposite of aircraft with both propellers rotating in the same direction. To compensate for losing an engine during takeoff, the pilot had to feather the propeller of the non-running engine, cut the power of the working one, and then gradually apply power until the plane was flying straight.
Machine guns in the nose of early Lockheed P-38 Lightnings tended to jam due to crooked belt feeds. Newer models had their machine gun muzzles sticking out of the nose in a staggered manner, thus having straight belt feeds and curing the problem.
A total of 9,942 P-38 Lightning aircraft of all types were manufactured, with the final aircraft delivered in September of 1945.
RC P-38 Lightning
The RC P-38 Lightning from Motion RC has a wingspan of 63 inches and length of 46 inches. It includes two 3748-600 kV motors, controllers, servos, and retractable landing gear.
The RC P-38 Lightning from GWS wingspan is 47 inches. Its length is 33 1/2 inches and weight, ready to fly, is 25 oz. Included are a pair of BL 2208 brushless motors.