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40s Lockheed P-38 (Lightning) _A.JPG

40s Lockheed P-38J-10-LO (Lightning)

The name above is a link to to open a new window
of the Udvar-Hazy website's info page about this item.

This is MY favorite WW2 airplane. Designed in part by Kelly Johnson, (who later designed the U2 and the SR-71), it was dramatically different in design than most other fighters. The twin engine, twin tail, single seat was very different, but exceptionally well suited for high-altitude fighting. I read that this was the first aircraft that could out-turn the dreaded Zero, much to the surprise of their pilots.

Also, the guns were mounted in the nose, and fired straight ahead instead of being mounted in the wings, slightly angled all to a central focal point ahead of the aircraft. This meant that the guns were easier to aim and had much greater range.

Like the other "star" of WW2, the P-51 Mustang, this design spent quite a few months as being considered a marginal performer before being tweaked into a top performer.

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