Lockheed P-38 Lightning – A Short History (US Air Force Aircraft History)

Brace yourselves! We are going to see about a warfighter today. It’s not what you think it is. Alternatively, this one is about an aircraft. Lockheed p-38 lightning is an aircraft known very well for its twin tail. This one aircraft made the enemies run far away. 

Lockheed P-38 Lightning single-seated American heavy fighter, twin piston-engined during world war II which is successful in the pacific region.


The Us air force needed a fighter aircraft with great requirements. They required a twin-engined aircraft yet also flew to greater heights.

Notably, Lockheed won the contract in the year 1938. 

Lockheed XP-38 lightning was created in the year 1939.

World Record

Ben Kelsey was the test pilot of that fighter XP 38 lightning. He flew the aircraft between California and New York in just seven hours and two minutes. He made a world record in that fighter. 

No one has ever made it before, you see. Despite that, he survived the crash while landing the XP 38. 

It was all success for Lockheed P 38 lightning. A large number of fighter flights were ordered.

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Lockheed YP 38

Lockheed YP 38 was created with more firmness in the year 1940. It was to avoid the prior crash. However, the YP 38 had many issues not solved.

The Lockheed XP/YP 38 fighter models had a tough time once. 

They would go up above at greater speed. Whereas the popular twin tails shook the aircraft making it fall. Also, the flight control would get locked at that time. It’s shocking, isn’t it!

Resolved the issues 

You have guessed that right! The same issue of twin tail got solved in the year 1943.

Do you know how they resolved it? They just added a couple of quick action flaps. 

Those flaps managed to provide pressure more evenly in an aircraft. Thus, the fighters gained flight control back in no time.

Fighter design

The Lockheed P 38 lightning had single seat for one pilot. All fighter aircraft had only one seat.

Twin boom

The fighter P 38 had a twin engine. Additionally, they boosted the aircraft to a greater extent.

Devil’s tail

Germans called the aircraft by that name. They were known as fork-tailed devils.

Japanese feared them too. The aircraft was one to defeat many Japanese fighter aircraft.

The US air force made a good decision upon such an aircraft. Wouldn’t you agree with that?

Fighter escort 

The Lockheed p 38 served as a fighter escort in the year 1942. They were entered into war the same year.

Fighter escort simply meant that fighter flight escorted other planes.

The fighter escorts were not successful against German troops. German fighters were much faster.

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Fighter bomber 

In addition, the Lockheed P 38 served as a bomber escort too.

Whereas the Bomber escort meant that fighter flight escorted bomber flights.

The bomber flights meant they would carry bombs in them. Although it would be sad to see the damages post-war.

Alternatively, the US air force canceled both of the escort missions. The P 51 mustangs restored the job of escorts in the year 1944.

Successful missions

The P 38 were quite successful in the pacific region. They were used for long-range missions. Additionally, it was a good fit out there along with its gas capacity.

Apart from that, they gained victory in shooting a lot many Japanese aircraft. Notably, the Japanese fighters were no match for the P 38 lightning altitude heights.

The P 38 would reach up above the Japanese aircraft shooting it down into pieces. Sounds dramatic!


The Lockheed p 38 lighting was soon to be restored by fighter jets.

The p 38 fought its last fight in the year 1949 by the US.

Regardless, it still was used by many countries like the Royal Australian air force, China, even Italy. They all were using the p 38 until the year 1965.

What do you think of this fighter aircraft? Be sure to leave your comments.

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