Lockheed P-38 Lightning


Plane type: Twin-engine single-seat fighter or fighter-bomber

Manufacturer: Lockheed

Crew: 1 (pilot)


Length: 37ft  10in. (11.53 meters)

Height: 12ft 10in (3.9 meters)

Wingspan: 52ft (15.86 meters)

Wing Area: 327.5 sq. ft (30.4 sq. m)


- XP-38: 2 x 1,040 h.p. Allison V-1710-33 (C15) engines w/ exhaust-driven G.E. turbo-superchargers

- YP-38: 2 x 1,150 h.p. Allison V-1710-27/29 (F2R/F2L)

Note: V-1710-27 (F2R) = right-hand rotation     &     V-1710-29 (F2L) = left-hand rotation

- P-38F: 2 x 1,325 h.p. Allison V-1710-49/53 (F5R/F5L) engines

- P-38G: 2 x 1,325 h.p. Allison V-1710-51/55 (F10R/F10L) engines

- P-38H: 2 x 1,425 h.p. Allison V-1710-89/91 (F17R/F17L) engines + 1000 "war emergency" horsepower

- P-38L: 2 x 1,475 h.p. Allison V-1710-111/113 (F30R/F30L) engines

Click here to read about the Allison V-1710 engine


Empty: 12700 lbs (5766 kg)

Normal loaded weight: 15341 lbs (6865 kg)


- 1 x 20mm cannon in nose of central nacelle

- 4 x 50 cal machine-guns in nose of central nacelle

Note: All guns fire straight ahead and do not converge

- 2 x racks, one under each wing, capable of carrying 100-1600 lb (45.4 - 726kg) bombs, drop tanks, or chemical tanks.


Maximum speed: 414+ mph (662 Km/h) @ 25000 ft (7625 m)

Normal range without drop tanks: 460 miles (736 km)

Ceiling: 35000 ft (10680 m)


    A top of the line fighter, the P-38 outperformed its original expectations when it was first released into combat in 1939. The P-38 was the first successful twin-engine fighter, and it amazingly out powered its enemies in the skies over Europe and the Pacific. The absence of a propeller in the nose cone gave the Lightning an advantage. More guns could be placed in the nose, and modifications of the plane were fitted with devices such as reconnaissance cameras, and nose-mounted radar. These characteristics labeled it the best fighter in the Pacific.  A P-38 squadron was also used in the famous mission that shot down the plane carrying Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto (the Japanese Admiral that commanded the attack on Pearl Harbor). Top American ace Major Richard Bong scored his 40 kills flying P-38s in the Pacific.


Page #1 - USAF Museum page

Page #2 - World War 2 Warbirds

Page #3 - The Flight Line

Page #4 - Aircraft of the Second World War

A Lockheed P-38G Lightning of the 339th Fighter Squadron US Air Force.



Gallery 1

Lightning01.jpg (43966 bytes)

Gallery 2

Lightning67.jpg (28421 bytes)