Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center: Lockheed P-38J-10-LO Lightning
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Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center: Lockheed P-38J-10-LO Lightning

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    Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center: Lockheed P-38J-10-LO Lightning Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center: Lockheed P-38J-10-LO Lightning Document Transcript

    • Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center: Lockheed P-38J-10-LOLightning See more photos of this, and the Wikipediaarticle.Details, quoting from Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum | Lockheed P-38J-10-LOLightningIn the P-38 Lockheed engineer Clarence "Kelly" Johnson and his team of designers created oneof the most successful twin-engine fighters ever flown by any nation. From 1942 to 1945, U. S.Army Air Forces pilots flew P-38s over Europe, the Mediterranean, and the Pacific, and from thefrozen Aleutian Islands to the sun-baked deserts of North Africa. Lightning pilots in the Pacifictheater downed more Japanese aircraft than pilots flying any other Allied warplane.Maj. Richard I. Bong, America’s leading fighter ace, flew this P-38J-10-LO on April 16, 1945, atWright Field, Ohio, to evaluate an experimental method of interconnecting the movement of thethrottle and propeller control levers. However, his right engine exploded in flight before he couldconduct the experiment.Transferred from the United States Air Force.Manufacturer:Lockheed Aircraft CompanyDate:1943Country of Origin:United States of AmericaDimensions:Overall: 390 x 1170cm, 6345kg, 1580cm (12ft 9 9/16in. x 38ft 4 5/8in., 13988.2lb., 51ft 10 1 / 10
    • 1/16in.)Materials:All-metalPhysical Description:Twin-tail boom and twin-engine fighter; tricycle landing gear.Long Description:From 1942 to 1945, the thunder of P-38 Lightnings was heard around the world. U. S. Armypilots flew the P-38 over Europe, the Mediterranean, and the Pacific; from the frozen AleutianIslands to the sun-baked deserts of North Africa. Measured by success in combat, Lockheedengineer Clarence "Kelly" Johnson and a team of designers created the most successfultwin-engine fighter ever flown by any nation. In the Pacific Theater, Lightning pilots downedmore Japanese aircraft than pilots flying any other Army Air Forces warplane.Johnson and his team conceived this twin-engine, single-pilot fighter airplane in 1936 and theArmy Air Corps authorized the firm to build it in June 1937. Lockheed finished constructing theprototype XP-38 and delivered it to the Air Corps on New Year’s Day, 1939. Air Corps test pilotand P-38 project officer, Lt. Benjamin S. Kelsey, first flew the aircraft on January 27. Losing thisprototype in a crash at Mitchel Field, New York, with Kelsey at the controls, did not deter the AirCorps from ordering 13 YP-38s for service testing on April 27. Kelsey survived the crash andremained an important part of the Lightning program. Before the airplane could be declaredready for combat, Lockheed had to block the effects of high-speed aerodynamic compressibilityand tail buffeting, and solve other problems discovered during the service tests.The most vexing difficulty was the loss of control in a dive caused by aerodynamiccompressibility. During late spring 1941, Air Corps Major Signa A. Gilke encountered serioustrouble while diving his Lightning at high-speed from an altitude of 9,120 m (30,000 ft). When hereached an indicated airspeed of about 515 kph (320 mph), the airplane’s tail began to shakeviolently and the nose dropped until the dive was almost vertical. Signa recovered and landedsafely and the tail buffet problem was soon resolved after Lockheed installed new fillets toimprove airflow where the cockpit gondola joined the wing center section. Seventeen monthspassed before engineers began to determine what caused the Lightning’s nose to drop. Theytested a scale model P-38 in the Ames Laboratory wind tunnel operated by the NACA (NationalAdvisory Committee for Aeronautics) and found that shock waves formed when airflow over thewing leading edges reached transonic speeds. The nose drop and loss of control was neverfully remedied but Lockheed installed dive recovery flaps under each wing in 1944. Thesedevices slowed the P-38 enough to allow the pilot to maintain control when diving athigh-speed.Just as the development of the North American P-51 Mustang, Republic P-47 Thunderbolt, andthe Vought F4U Corsair (see NASM collection for these aircraft) pushed the limits of aircraftperformance into unexplored territory, so too did P-38 development. The type of aircraftenvisioned by the Lockheed design team and Air Corps strategists in 1937 did not appear untilJune 1944. This protracted shakedown period mirrors the tribulations suffered by Vought in 2 / 10
    • sorting out the many technical problems that kept F4U Corsairs off U. S. Navy carrier decks untilthe end of 1944.Lockheed’s efforts to trouble-shoot various problems with the design also delayed high-rate,mass production. When Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, the company had delivered only 69Lightnings to the Army. Production steadily increased and at its peak in 1944, 22sub-contractors built various Lightning components and shipped them to Burbank, California, forfinal assembly. Consolidated-Vultee (Convair) subcontracted to build the wing center sectionand the firm later became prime manufacturer for 2,000 P-38Ls but that company’s Nashvilleplant completed only 113 examples of this Lightning model before war’s end. Lockheed andConvair finished 10,038 P-38 aircraft including 500 photo-reconnaissance models. They builtmore L models, 3,923, than any other version.To ease control and improve stability, particularly at low speeds, Lockheed equipped allLightnings, except a batch ordered by Britain, with propellers that counter-rotated. The propellerto the pilot’s left turned counter-clockwise and the propeller to his right turned clockwise, so thatone propeller countered the torque and airflow effects generated by the other. The airplane alsoperformed well at high speeds and the definitive P-38L model could make better than 676 kph(420 mph) between 7,600 and 9,120 m (25,000 and 30,000 ft). The design was versatileenough to carry various combinations of bombs, air-to-ground rockets, and external fuel tanks.The multi-engine configuration reduced the Lightning loss-rate to anti-aircraft gunfire duringground attack missions. Single-engine airplanes equipped with power plants cooled bypressurized liquid, such as the North American P-51 Mustang (see NASM collection), wereparticularly vulnerable. Even a small nick in one coolant line could cause the engine to seize ina matter of minutes.The first P-38s to reach the Pacific combat theater arrived on April 4, 1942, when a version ofthe Lightning that carried reconnaissance cameras (designated the F-4), joined the 8thPhotographic Squadron based in Australia. This unit launched the first P-38 combat missionsover New Guinea and New Britain during April. By May 29, the first 25 P-38s had arrived inAnchorage, Alaska. On August 9, pilots of the 343rd Fighter Group, Eleventh Air Force, flyingthe P-38E, shot down a pair of Japanese flying boats.Back in the United States, Army Air Forces leaders tried to control a rumor that Lightnings killedtheir own pilots. On August 10, 1942, Col. Arthur I. Ennis, Chief of U. S. Army Air Forces PublicRelations in Washington, told a fellow officer "… Here’s what the 4th Fighter [training] Commandis up against… common rumor out there that the whole West Coast was filled with headlessbodies of men who jumped out of P-38s and had their heads cut off by the propellers." NoviceLightning pilots unfamiliar with the correct bailout procedures actually had more to fear from thetwin-boom tail, if an emergency dictated taking to the parachute but properly executed,Lightning bailouts were as safe as parachuting from any other high-performance fighter of theday. Misinformation and wild speculation about many new aircraft was rampant during the earlyWar period.Along with U. S. Navy Grumman F4F Wildcats (see NASM collection) and Curtiss P-40Warhawks (see NASM collection), Lightnings were the first American fighter airplanes capable 3 / 10
    • of consistently defeating Japanese fighter aircraft. On November 18, men of the 339th FighterSquadron became the first Lightning pilots to attack Japanese fighters. Flying from HendersonField on Guadalcanal, they claimed three during a mission to escort Boeing B-17 Flying Fortressbombers (see NASM collection).On April 18, 1943, fourteen P-38 pilots from the 70th and the 339th Fighter Squadrons, 347thFighter Group, accomplished one of the most important Lightning missions of the war. AmericanULTRA cryptanalysts had decoded Japanese messages that revealed the timetable for a visit tothe front by the commander of the Imperial Japanese Navy, Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto. Thischarismatic leader had crafted the plan to attack Pearl Harbor and Allied strategists believed hisloss would severely cripple Japanese morale. The P-38 pilots flew 700 km (435 miles) atheights from 3-15 m (10-50 feet) above the ocean to avoid detection. Over the coast ofBougainville, they intercepted a formation of two Mitsubishi G4M BETTY bombers (see NASMcollection) carrying the Admiral and his staff, and six Mitsubishi A6M Zero fighters (see NASMcollection) providing escort. The Lightning pilots downed both bombers but lost Lt. Ray Hine to aZero.In Europe, the first Americans to down a Luftwaffe aircraft were Lt. Elza E. Shahan flying a 27thFighter Squadron P-38E, and Lt. J. K. Shaffer flying a Curtiss P-40 (see NASM collection) in the33rd Fighter Squadron. The two flyers shared the destruction of a Focke-Wulf Fw 200C-3Condor maritime strike aircraft over Iceland on August 14, 1942. Later that month, the 1stfighter group accepted Lightnings and began combat operations from bases in England but thisunit soon moved to fight in North Africa. More than a year passed before the P-38 reappearedover Western Europe. While the Lightning was absent, U. S. Army Air Forces strategists hadrelearned a painful lesson: unescorted bombers cannot operate successfully in the face ofdetermined opposition from enemy fighters. When P-38s returned to England, the primarymission had become long-range bomber escort at ranges of about 805 kms (500 miles) and ataltitudes above 6,080 m (20,000 ft).On October 15, 1943, P-38H pilots in the 55th Fighter Group flew their first combat mission overEurope at a time when the need for long-range escorts was acute. Just the day before, Germanfighter pilots had destroyed 60 of 291 Eighth Air Force B-17 Flying Fortresses (see NASMcollection) during a mission to bomb five ball-bearing plants at Schweinfurt, Germany. No airforce could sustain a loss-rate of nearly 20 percent for more than a few missions but thesetargets lay well beyond the range of available escort fighters (Republic P-47 Thunderbolt, seeNASM collection). American war planners hoped the long-range capabilities of the P-38Lightning could halt this deadly trend, but the very high and very cold environment peculiar tothe European air war caused severe power plant and cockpit heating difficulties for theLightning pilots. The long-range escort problem was not completely solved until the NorthAmerican P-51 Mustang (see NASM collection) began to arrive in large numbers early in 1944.Poor cockpit heating in the H and J model Lightnings made flying and fighting at altitudes thatfrequently approached 12,320 m (40,000 ft) nearly impossible. This was a fundamental designflaw that Kelly Johnson and his team never anticipated when they designed the airplane sixyears earlier. In his seminal work on the Allison V-1710 engine, Daniel Whitney analyzed indetail other factors that made the P-38 a disappointing airplane in combat over Western Europe. 4 / 10
    • • Many new and inexperienced pilots arrived in England during December 1943, along with thenew J model P-38 Lightning.• J model rated at 1,600 horsepower vs. 1,425 for earlier H model Lightnings. This powersetting required better maintenance between flights. It appears this work was not done in manycases.• During stateside training, Lightning pilots were taught to fly at high rpm settings and lowengine manifold pressure during cruise flight. This was very hard on the engines, and not inkeeping with technical directives issued by Allison and Lockheed.• The quality of fuel in England may have been poor, TEL (tetraethyl lead) fuel additiveappeared to condense inside engine induction manifolds, causing detonation (destructiveexplosion of fuel mixture rather than controlled burning).• Improved turbo supercharger intercoolers appeared on the J model P-38. These devicesgreatly reduced manifold temperatures but this encouraged TEL condensation in manifoldsduring cruise flight and increased spark plug fouling.Using water injection to minimize detonation might have reduced these engine problems. Boththe Republic P-47 Thunderbolt and the North American P-51 Mustang (see NASM collection)were fitted with water injection systems but not the P-38. Lightning pilots continued to fly,despite these handicaps.During November 1942, two all-Lightning fighter groups, the 1st and the 14th, began operatingin North Africa. In the Mediterranean Theater, P-38 pilots flew more sorties than Allied pilotsflying any other type of fighter. They claimed 608 enemy a/c destroyed in the air, 123 probablydestroyed and 343 damaged, against the loss of 131 Lightnings.In the war against Japan, the P-38 truly excelled. Combat rarely occurred above 6,080 m(20,000 ft) and the engine and cockpit comfort problems common in Europe never plaguedpilots in the Pacific Theater. The Lightning’s excellent range was used to full advantage abovethe vast expanses of water. In early 1945, Lightning pilots of the 12th Fighter Squadron, 18thFighter Group, flew a mission that lasted 10 ½ hours and covered more than 3,220 km (2,000miles). In August, P-38 pilots established the world’s long-distance record for a World War IIcombat fighter when they flew from the Philippines to the Netherlands East Indies, a distance of3,703 km (2,300 miles). During early 1944, Lightning pilots in the 475th Fighter Group beganthe ‘race of aces.’ By March, Lieutenant Colonel Thomas J. Lynch had scored 21 victoriesbefore he fell to antiaircraft gunfire while strafing enemy ships. Major Thomas B. McGuiredowned 38 Japanese aircraft before he was killed when his P-38 crashed at low altitude in earlyJanuary 1945. Major Richard I. Bong became America’s highest scoring fighter ace (40victories) but died in the crash of a Lockheed P-80 (see NASM collection) on August 6, 1945.Museum records show that Lockheed assigned the construction number 422-2273 to theNational Air and Space Museum’s P-38. The Army Air Forces accepted this Lightning as aP-38J-l0-LO on November 6, 1943, and the service identified the airplane with the serial number 5 / 10
    • 42-67762. Recent investigations conducted by a team of specialists at the Paul E. GarberFacility, and Herb Brownstein, a volunteer in the Aeronautics Division at the National Air andSpace Museum, have revealed many hitherto unknown aspects to the history of this aircraft.Brownstein examined NASM files and documents at the National Archives. He discovered that afew days after the Army Air Forces (AAF) accepted this airplane, the Engineering Division atWright Field in Dayton, Ohio, granted Lockheed permission to convert this P-38 into a two-seattrainer. The firm added a seat behind the pilot to accommodate an instructor who would traincivilian pilots in instrument flying techniques. Once trained, these test pilots evaluated newLightnings fresh off the assembly line.In a teletype sent by the Engineering Division on March 2, 1944, Brownstein also discoveredthat this P-38 was released to Colonel Benjamin S. Kelsey from March 3 to April 10, 1944, toconduct special tests. This action was confirmed the following day in a cable from the WarDepartment. This same pilot, then a Lieutenant, flew the XP-38 across the United States in1939 and survived the crash that destroyed this Lightning at Mitchel Field, New York. In early1944, Kelsey was assigned to the Eighth Air Force in England and he apparently traveled to theLockheed factory at Burbank to pick up the P-38. Further information about these tests andKelsey’s involvement remain an intriguing question.One of Brownstein’s most important discoveries was a small file rich with information about theNASM Lightning. This file contained a cryptic reference to a "Major Bong" who flew the NASMP-38 on April 16, 1945, at Wright Field. Bong had planned to fly for an hour to evaluate anexperimental method of interconnecting the movement of the throttle and propeller controllevers. His flight ended after twenty-minutes when "the right engine blew up before I had achance [to conduct the test]." The curator at the Richard I. Bong Heritage Center confirmed thatAmerica’s highest scoring ace made this flight in the NASM P-38 Lightning.Working in Building 10 at the Paul E. Garber Facility, Rob Mawhinney, Dave Wilson, Wil Lee,Bob Weihrauch, Jim Purton, and Heather Hutton spent several months during the spring andsummer of 2001 carefully disassembling, inspecting, and cleaning the NASM Lightning. Theyfound every hardware modification consistent with a model J-25 airplane, not the model J-10painted in the data block beneath the artifact’s left nose. This fact dovetails perfectly withknowledge uncovered by Brownstein. On April 10, the Engineering Division again cabledLockheed asking the company to prepare 42-67762 for transfer to Wright Field "in standardconfiguration." The standard P-38 configuration at that time was the P-38J-25. The work tookseveral weeks and the fighter does not appear on Wright Field records until May 15, 1944. OnJune 9, the Flight Test Section at Wright Field released the fighter for flight trials aimed atcollecting pilot comments on how the airplane handled.Wright Field’s Aeromedical Laboratory was the next organization involved with this P-38. Thatunit installed a kit on July 26 that probably measured the force required to move the controlwheel left and right to actuate the power-boosted ailerons installed in all Lightnings beginningwith version J-25. From August 12-16, the Power Plant Laboratory carried out tests to measurethe hydraulic pump temperatures on this Lightning. Then beginning September 16 and lastingabout ten days, the Bombing Branch, Armament Laboratory, tested type R-3 fragmentation 6 / 10
    • bomb racks. The work appears to have ended early in December. On June 20, 1945, the AAFAircraft Distribution Office asked that the Air Technical Service Command transfer the Lightningfrom Wright Field to Altus Air Force Base, Oklahoma, a temporary holding area for Air Forcemuseum aircraft. The P-38 arrived at the Oklahoma City Air Depot on June 27, 1945, andmechanics prepared the fighter for flyable storage.Airplane Flight Reports for this Lightning also describe the following activities and movements:6-21-45 Wright Field, Ohio, 5.15 hours of flying.6-22-45Wright Field, Ohio, .35 minutes of flying by Lt. Col. Wendel [?] J. Kelley and P. Shannon.6-25-45Altus, Oklahoma, .55 hours flown, pilot P. Shannon.6-27-45Altus, Oklahoma, #2 engine changed, 1.05 hours flown by Air Corps F/O Ralph F.Coady.10-5-45 OCATSC-GCAAF (Garden City Army Air Field, Garden City, Kansas), guns removedand ballast added.10-8-45Adams Field, Little Rock, Arkansas.10-9-45Nashville, Tennessee,5-28-46Freeman Field, Indiana, maintenance check by Air Corps Capt. H. M. Chadhowere [sp]?7-24-46Freeman Field, Indiana, 1 hour local flight by 1st Lt. Charles C. Heckel.7-31-46 Freeman Field, Indiana, 4120th AAF Base Unit, ferry flight to Orchard Place [Illinois] by1st Lt. Charles C. Heckel.On August 5, 1946, the AAF moved the aircraft to another storage site at the formerConsolidated B-24 bomber assembly plant at Park Ridge, Illinois. A short time later, the AAFtransferred custody of the Lightning and more than sixty other World War II-era airplanes to theSmithsonian National Air Museum. During the early 1950s, the Air Force moved these airplanesfrom Park Ridge to the Smithsonian storage site at Suitland, Maryland.•••Quoting from Wikipedia | 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 boomsand a single, central nacelle containing the cockpit and armament. Named "fork-tailed devil" bythe Luftwaffe and "two planes, one pilot" by the Japanese, the P-38 was used in a number ofroles, including dive bombing, level bombing, ground-attack, photo reconnaissance 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 theChina-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-38was the primary long-range fighter of United States Army Air Forces until the appearance oflarge numbers of P-51D Mustangs toward the end of the war. The P-38 was unusually quiet fora fighter, the exhaust muffled by the turbo-superchargers. It was extremely forgiving, and couldbe mishandled in many ways, but the rate of roll was too slow for it to excel as a dogfighter. The 7 / 10
    • P-38 was the only American fighter aircraft in production throughout American involvement inthe war, from Pearl Harbor to Victory over Japan Day.Variants: Lightning in maturity: P-38JThe P-38J was introduced in August 1943. The turbo-supercharger intercooler system onprevious variants had been housed in the leading edges of the wings and had provenvulnerable to combat damage and could burst if the wrong series of controls were mistakenlyactivated. In the P-38J model, the streamlined engine nacelles of previous Lightnings werechanged to fit the intercooler radiator between the oil coolers, forming a "chin" that visuallydistinguished the J model from its predecessors. While the P-38J used the same V-1710-89/91engines as the H model, the new core-type intercooler more efficiently lowered intake manifoldtemperatures and permitted a substantial increase in rated power. The leading edge of the outerwing was fitted with 55 gal (208 l) fuel tanks, filling the space formerly occupied by intercoolertunnels, but these were omitted on early P-38J blocks due to limited availability.The final 210 J models, designated P-38J-25-LO, alleviated the compressibility problem throughthe addition of a set of electrically-actuated dive recovery flaps just outboard of the engines onthe bottom centerline of the wings. With these improvements, a USAAF pilot reported a divespeed of almost 600 mph (970 km/h), although the indicated air speed was later corrected forcompressibility error, and the actual dive speed was lower. Lockheed manufactured over 200retrofit modification kits to be installed on P-38J-10-LO and J-20-LO already in Europe, but theUSAAF C-54 carrying them was shot down by an RAF pilot who mistook the Douglas transportfor a German Focke-Wulf Condor. Unfortunately the loss of the kits came during Lockheed testpilot Tony LeVier‘s four-month morale-boosting tour of P-38 bases. Flying a new Lightningnamed "Snafuperman" modified to full P-38J-25-LO specs at Lockheed’s modification centernear Belfast, LeVier captured the pilots’ full attention by routinely performing maneuvers duringMarch 1944 that common Eighth Air Force wisdom held to be suicidal. It proved too little too latebecause the decision had already been made to re-equip with Mustangs.The P-38J-25-LO production block also introduced hydraulically-boosted ailerons, one of thefirst times such a system was fitted to a fighter. This significantly improved the Lightning’s rateof roll and reduced control forces for the pilot. This production block and the following P-38Lmodel are considered the definitive Lightnings, and Lockheed ramped up production, workingwith subcontractors across the country to produce hundreds of Lightnings each month.Noted P-38 pilotsRichard Bong and Thomas McGuireThe American ace of aces and his closest competitor both flew Lightnings as they tallied 40 and38 victories respectively. Majors Richard I. "Dick" Bong and Thomas J. "Tommy" McGuire of theUSAAF competed for the top position. Both men were awarded the Medal of Honor.McGuire was killed in air combat in January 1945 over the Philippines, after racking up 38confirmed kills, making him the second-ranking American ace. Bong was rotated back to the 8 / 10
    • United States as America’s ace of aces, after making 40 kills, becoming a test pilot. He waskilled on 6 August 1945, the day the atomic bomb was dropped on Japan, when his P-80Shooting Star jet fighter flamed out on takeoff.Charles LindberghThe famed aviator Charles Lindbergh toured the South Pacific as a civilian contractor for UnitedAircraft Corporation, comparing and evaluating performance of single- and twin-engined fightersfor Vought. He worked to improve range and load limits of the F4U Corsair, flying both routineand combat strafing missions in Corsairs alongside Marine pilots. In Hollandia, he attachedhimself to the 475th FG flying P-38s so that he could investigate the twin-engine fighter. Thoughnew to the machine, he was instrumental in extending the range of the P-38 through improvedthrottle settings, or engine-leaning techniques, notably by reducing engine speed to 1,600 rpm,setting the carburetors for auto-lean and flying at 185 mph (298 km/h) indicated airspeed whichreduced fuel consumption to 70 gal/h, about 2.6 mpg. This combination of settings had beenconsidered dangerous; it was thought it would upset the fuel mixture and cause an explosion.Everywhere Lindbergh went in the South Pacific, he was accorded the normal preferentialtreatment of a visiting colonel, though he had resigned his Air Corps Reserve colonel’scommission three years before. While with the 475th, he held training classes and took part in anumber of Army Air Corps combat missions. On 28 July 1944, Lindbergh shot down a MitsubishiKi-51 "Sonia" flown expertly by the veteran commander of 73rd Independent Flying Chutai,Imperial Japanese Army Captain Saburo Shimada. In an extended, twisting dogfight in whichmany of the participants ran out of ammunition, Shimada turned his aircraft directly towardLindbergh who was just approaching the combat area. Lindbergh fired in a defensive reactionbrought on by Shimada’s apparent head-on ramming attack. Hit by cannon and machine gunfire, the "Sonia’s" propeller visibly slowed, but Shimada held his course. Lindbergh pulled up atthe last moment to avoid collision as the damaged "Sonia" went into a steep dive, hit the oceanand sank. Lindbergh’s wingman, ace Joseph E. "Fishkiller" Miller, Jr., had also scored hits onthe "Sonia" after it had begun its fatal dive, but Miller was certain the kill credit was Lindbergh’s.The unofficial kill was not entered in the 475th’s war record. On 12 August 1944 Lindbergh leftHollandia to return to the United States.Charles MacDonaldThe seventh-ranking American ace, Charles H. MacDonald, flew a Lightning against theJapanese, scoring 27 kills in his famous aircraft, the Putt Putt Maru.Robin OldsMain article: Robin OldsRobin Olds was the last P-38 ace in the Eighth Air Force and the last in the ETO. Flying aP-38J, he downed five German fighters on two separate missions over France and Germany.He subsequently transitioned to P-51s to make seven more kills. After World War II, he flew F-4Phantom IIs in Vietnam, ending his career as brigadier general with 16 kills. 9 / 10
    • Clay Tice A P-38 piloted by Clay Tice was the first American aircraft to land in Japan after VJ-Day, when he and his wingman set down on Nitagahara because his wingman was low on fuel. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry Noted aviation pioneer and writer Antoine de Saint-Exupéry vanished in a F-5B-1-LO, 42-68223 , c/n 2734, of Groupe de Chasse II/33, out of Borgo-Porreta, Bastia, Corsica, a reconnaissance variant of the P-38, while on a flight over the Mediterranean, from Corsica to mainland France, on 31 July 1944. His health, both physical and mental (he was said to be intermittently subject to depression), had been deteriorating and there had been talk of taking him off flight status. There have been suggestions (although no proof to date) that this was a suicide rather than an aircraft failure or combat loss. In 2000, a French scuba diver found the wreckage of a Lightning in the Mediterranean off the coast of Marseille, and it was confirmed in April 2004 as Saint-Exupéry’s F-5B. No evidence of air combat was found. In March 2008, a former Luftwaffe pilot, Horst Rippert from Jagdgruppe 200, claimed to have shot down Saint-Exupéry. Adrian Warburton The RAF’s legendary photo-recon "ace", Wing Commander Adrian Warburton DSO DFC, was the pilot of a Lockheed P-38 borrowed from the USAAF that took off on 12 April 1944 to photograph targets in Germany. W/C Warburton failed to arrive at the rendezvous point and was never seen again. In 2003, his remains were recovered in Germany from his wrecked USAAF P-38 Lightning. Blog this! Bookmark on Delicious Digg this post Recommend on Facebook Share on FriendFeed Buzz it up Share on Linkedin Share via MySpace Share on Orkut Share on Posterous share via Reddit Share with Stumblers Share on technorati Tumblr it Tweet about it Buzz it up Subscribe to the comments on this post 10 / 10Powered by TCPDF (www.tcpdf.org)