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Lockheed P-38 Has Wide Range of Tactical Uses

Lockheed P-38 Has Wide Range of Tactical Uses Kept well under wraps until after African invasion

Kept well under wraps until after African invasion – in which it played a large part – Lockheed P-38 Lightning, it is now revealed, has been in action as a high altitude fighter, low level bomber, and photographic

plane. With a top speed of “well over 400 mph,” it lands

at but 80 mph, the wide performance range being due to

a new Lockheed-Fowler flap which can be lowered in

three seconds and raised in but four.

Details just released reveal it to be everything from bomber to high altitude fighter. Unusual Lockheed-Fowler flap aids maneuverability.

VERSATILITY appears to be one of the outstanding characteristics of the Lockheed P­38 Lightning twin­engine fighter. Details just revealed – after the plane had been in action for some time in the Aleutian, the South Pacific, Europe, and North Africa – show it has been used as both a low­ and high­ altitude fighter, as a dive bomber, and as a photographic ship. Powered by two 1,150 hp. Allison inline, liquid cooled turbo­supercharged engines, the P­38 has a ceiling above 40,000 ft. and a top speed of “well over 400 mph.” Its 48 lb. per sq. ft. wing

loading is unusually high for a fighter craft. Landing speed, however, is but 80 mph., the unusual range of performance being attributed in large measure to a quick­acting “maneuvering flap” which was developed by Lockheed and which has been in production for many months. An improved version of the Lockheed­Fowler flap, it can be extended into the down position in three seconds and raised in four. Use of the flap is not restricted to landings and takeoffs, for it is reported that the flap can be lowered during flight to increase

maneuverability essential to successful combat work. Maneuverability is enhanced by the fact that the propellers rotate in opposite directions, thus eliminating torque. The P­38 has an effective combat range of 750 mi., considerably higher than that of many modern fighter craft, due to jettisonable gas tanks of 150 gal. capacity. These tanks, designed by Lockheed engineers – who have twice the capacity of earlier standard tanks, yet permit a 10­mph. higher cruising speed. Either gas tanks or bombs may be hung from the same racks, so that one bomb and one extra tank may be carried if the mission requires, or this extra weight­carrying ability may be utilized for carrying tanks for laying

smoke screens, to accommodate

The wing has no ribs, being of

Specifications released to date include:

equipment for ground troops, or for

double­skinned, double­stressed

Wing span



some other purpose.





Armament consists of four heavy­

In combat operation, the P­38 has





calibre machine guns and one cannon

been found to possess unusual flying

Wing loading




mounted in the nose and firing between

ability on one engine. In Coral Sea

Gross wt



the propeller arcs, thus eliminating the

engagements, for example, a P­38 on a

Maximum speed Above 400 mph.

cone of fire encountered when guns are

photographic mission with one engine


.80 mph.


mounted in the wings. Conforming to

disabled was able to outclimb three

Power plant




standard American practice, the pilot

different groups of Jap Zeros. In


and vital parts of the plane are protected

another engagement in the Aleutians, a



bladed, constant

by armor plate, and the plane is equipped with self­sealing fuel tanks.

pilot flew a P­38 150 mi. back to his base with one engine shot away.

speed, electric, 11 ½ ft arc.

DESIGN ANALYSIS NO. 8 The Lockheed P-38 By HALL L. HIBBARD Vice-President and Chief Engineer,


The Lockheed P-38


Vice-President and Chief Engineer, Lockheed Aircraft Corp.

One of the world's outstanding triple-duty warplanes — which serves as long- range high or low altitude fighter, bomber, or photo reconnaissance craft — presented in Aviation's unmatched style. Revealed here are details of flue daring pioneering design features which have made It one of the most controversial as well as successful combat planes.

Three-view silhouette of Lockheed P-38 “Lightning” fighter. All dimensions on wing surface are given neglecting

Three-view silhouette of Lockheed P-38 “Lightning” fighter. All dimensions on wing surface are given neglecting incidence and are measured horizontally. Dihedral angle is measured at basic chord plane and does not include incidence. Wing is built with 5° 40', dihedral and then

rotated about intersection point of main beam centerline and wing chord line at centerline of ship until 2° incidence is obtained. All dimensions referring to empennagbe vertical surfaces only are rotated 1° 15' counterclockwise of vertical and horizontal, respectively.

T HE Lockheed P-38 Lightning fighter has been quite appropri- ately called the most controver-

T HE Lockheed P-38 Lightning fighter has been quite appropri- ately called the most controver-

sial airplane ever adopted by the U.S. armed services. In thousands of sorties and hundreds of combat victories many of the points of controversy have been resolved, but. there still persists much that is either erroneous or due to mis- understanding. Perhaps some of the derogatory items in the P-38 legends are traceable to the superlative requirements contained in the Army s specifications. To meet or surpass those requirements, and more recently to modify the P-38 as war experience and developments required, it has been necessary to do considerable pioneering. Particularly is that true in the higher speed ranges. And for such pioneering, the Lightning has had to accept the penalties of popular misunderstanding and the criticisms most pioneers undergo. The P-38 was the first modern fighter equipped with tricycle landing gear; the first to use the Allison engine; the first equipped with a turbosupercharger; first in the “above 400 mph.” class; first successful twin-boom design; first twin- engine “interceptor” fighter ; first American airplane to have flush or butt joined external surfaces; first fighter of its weight; first to mount its guns ahead of the pilot where they fire straight ahead, rather than in a "cone"; first to

Exploded view of main beam in center section, showing double web, box type construction. Note variety of bulkheads, and upper and lower channels (right), aft, front inboard, and front outboard web assemblies (center right), upper and lower wing fittings (center left), and completed center section beam with end bulkheads (left). Position of main beam in center section is shown at extreme left.

of main beam in center section is shown at extreme left. Main beam fitting at wing.

Main beam fitting at wing. Fittings are multi-fingered, pin joined, and of 14ST or steel forgings depending on place of use.

Lockheed P-38 ©2005 JL McClellan p 6 of 50
Lockheed P-38 ©2005 JL McClellan p 6 of 50

make extensive use of stainless steel; first to be delivered under its own power to bases overseas; first fighter to carry and launch torpedoes: and first fighter to tow gliders.

The list could be continued, particu- larly in the field of combat versatility. however, these “firsts” illustrate many

of the sources of P-38 legends espe-

cially those partially or entirely inaccu-

rate. In pioneering high altitudes and speeds. for example, the Lightning has

had to temporarily take the blame for operational peculiarities later proven common to all airplanes at such speeds and altitudes. Versatility now credited to the P-38

is a pure byproduct, rather than de-

signed intent. We designed a superla- tively fast, rapid climbing, hard hitting,

high altitude fighter. That fact required the ultimate in clean design and great horsepower, which in turn established the plane's other specifications. These


turn have made possible the carrying


bombs and droppable fuel tanks for

long range operation. The high speed has made possible the photographic version. And the concentrated firepower has been found excellent for ground strafing missions. The current P-38J is the 36th devel- opment, including several designs which were never built, of the original Lockheed Model 22, and represents seven basic model variations. This evo- lution has resulted in the airplane now credited with being the fastest, most maneuverable, hardest hitting fighter.

with the greatest ceiling, longest range and fastest sustained climb of any now

in combat operation. Dimensionally the Lightning is big

for a fighter, having a wing span of 52

ft, an over-all length of 37 ft 10 in, and

a maximum height from the static

ground line to upper tip of the empen- nage of 9 ft 9-11/16 in. Its weight empty is 12,700 lb and its normal useful load is 2,000 lb However, one specification alternate provides for a gross weight of approximately 18,000

lb. Every design feature of the P-38, as in most successful airplanes, was originated by necessity. The distin- guishing twin-booms, for example, were not selected because they would

be different. Neither was the twin-boom

design originated by Lockheed. Some previous planes of this design, it is true, had not been too successful but for reasons other than the booms. In the Lightning they evolved as a logical development of engine nacelles made long to house the engine oil cooler

of engine nacelles made long to house the engine oil cooler Another P-38 design innovation, recently

Another P-38 design innovation, recently added dive flap developed to offsett compressibility effecy which shifted lift center. Flaps are built of three layers of flush-riveted sheet, attached by piano-type hinge. Electrically operated, flaps extend to angle of 40 degrees.

turbosupercharger, Prestone radiators, and landing gear, Because of the greater nacelle length it was logical to extend them into booms to carry the empennage. Engineering-wise they add nothing or subtract nothing that could not have been achieved in other ways. Necessity was truly the mother of invention in the evolution of the Light- ning design. The Army specifications, laid down in 1937, were such that power requirements were greater than could be obtained from any single en- gine then available. Superior speed, rapid climb, high ceiling, and great firepower were the principal objectives demanded by the Army. To them we added placement of firepower where it would be most effective—ahead of the pilot and below his line of vision to provide unexcelled visibility and a dis- tinct advantage in shooting. The pilot can pick up his target quicker and need not get it at the precise apex of a cone of fire such as is necessary when the guns are mounted in the wings. The P-38 is now credited with speeds above 425 mph. This high speed, plus great maneuverability due to new booster-type aileron control, plus added dive control obtained by specially designed wing flaps, result in a tremendous combat advantage now being demonstrated daily all over the world. An all-metal, mid-wing, single seater fighter, the P-38's wing is of full cantilever design, constructed in five components: center section, outer panels and tips. The center section, forward booms, and gondola-type fuselage are jig mated and bolted together. Main structural members of the center section are a main beam,

located at 35 percent chord, front and rear shear beams, tied together with corrugated and flat 24ST to form a box section in which space is provided for fuel cells. The main beam is double web, box type in the center section, and a single web, modified Wagner type in the outer wing, the two sections being joined together by means of bolts. A partial front shear web extends from the side of the fuselage to the engine nacelle and in combination with the continuous full-span rear shear beam, completes the torsion structure of the wing. Upper and lower center section main beam caps are 24ST extrusions con- nected with sheet metal shear webs. The rear face of the beam is strength- ened with 18 extruded stiffeners spaced about 6 in apart, and seven bulkheads along the span act as additional stiffeners. Front face of the main beam is truss or open construction for the center 30 in, which allows for accessi- bility and for location of pulleys and other connections to the cockpit. Thickness of the beam caps tapers from the center toward the outboard ends to save weight where less strength is required. This taper ranges from 7/16 in. thickness at the inboard end to ⅞ in at the edge of the fuselage and back to almost 7/16 in. again at the outboard ends. The inboard end is thinner to permit bending of cap extrusions for the required dihedral. The main beam varies from a depth of 19 in at Station 0 at its inboard end, which is the center line of the airplane, to l3½ in at the point of attachment of the outer panel. The box beam is composed of the main beam, rear shear beam, and upper

Cut-away sketches showing details of center section (top) and wing flap (bottom). Hydraulic actuation is

Cut-away sketches showing details of center section (top) and wing flap (bottom). Hydraulic actuation is by means of push-pull tubes and 1/8 in. preformed tinned carbon steel cables. Lockheed-Fowler type flaps are used for takeoff, maneuvering, approach, and landing.

and lower surface—flat and corrugated —structures. Spanwise corrugations stiffen the skin and help carry bending and air loads on the wing. Webs of the main beam are 5½ in apart and .040 ST Alclad aluminum. Corrugations in the center wing section are .064 SRT and . 032 SRT Alclad. The upper and lower skin is .040 ST aluminum with lower skin strengthened with an .040 doubler extending inboard from the outboard end to a diagonal line approximately half way to the center line. The rear shear beam is a single-web, modified Wagner type, constructed of extruded T s and sheet stock. Wing fittings which attach to the upper and lower caps of the main beam are of 14ST forgings and are formed multi-fingered, pin joined. For conn ection of the outer wing main beam the fittings on the outer wing are multi- fingered steel forgings, to reduce their size and increase the faces carrying shear loads. Rear shear beam of the outer wing joint is a simple shear fitting, steel pin connection at the upper and lower caps. Corrugations of the surface structure are spliced at the outer wing joint by means of aluminum alloy forgings and tension bolts. The box structure and leading edge section forward of the main beam extend from the fuselage to the engine nacelles and form a two-cell torsion box which carries torsional loads to the fuselage. The surface structure through the center section is stabilized for a portion of its length from the center line outboard to the edge of the fuselage with ribs built up with sheet metal stampings. The surface structure is unsupported from that line to approximately where the booms attach to provide room for fuel tanks in the box beams and leading edge sections. The leading edge sections have chord- wise formers in both upper and lower surfaces instead of ribs extending from the main beam to the front shear beam. The front beam is interrupted at the fuselage and nacelles and the loads are taken across by the box beam between the main and rear spars. In the gas tank area .025 ST inner skin is riveted to the corrugated stif- fener by means of flush rivets. Due to the inaccessibility it was necessary for Lockheed tooling engineers to develop a magnetic bucking bar for this opera- tion, which was typical of the many manufacturing problems posed by the pioneering done in the P-38. Trailing edge of the center section consists of sheet metal ribs and inter-

the center section consists of sheet metal ribs and inter- This photo group shows (top to

This photo group shows (top to bottom) upper and lower aileron surfaces; wing tip assembly; and lower surface of outer wing panel with flap extended. Wingtip outer skins are spot welded to beaded inner skins, reinforced by two beams. Tips attach to outer panel by flush screws.

costal stiffeners which support the up- per skin, and Lockheed s design of Fowler flaps. Flaps consist of a main spar formed with a sheet metal web and formed sheet metal caps, sheet metal ribs and stringers. They are car- ried on forged 14ST arms guided on tracks machined from 14ST forgings. They extend from either side of the fuselage outboard to the inner end of the aileron, a distance of

approximately 180 in, with the exception of a section approximately 43 in wide, omitted at each boom. Having a total area of approximately 40 sq. ft., the flaps are secured to the wing by means of eight carriages supported in tracks attached to the flap supporting ribs and providing for tension aft in line with the flight path so that, in extended position, the flap leading edge corresponds approxi-

position, the flap leading edge corresponds approxi- Profile of outer wing panel, showing (1) flap drive

Profile of outer wing panel, showing (1) flap drive tube; (2) shear-beam attaching arms; (3) bathub fittings; (4) main beam fittings; (5) pitot line connections; (6) fish wires tied to outer panel aileron and aileron tab cables; (7) electrical conduit; (8) wing engine mount lug; and (9) generator blast tube.

Leading edge assembly, outer wing, showing: (1) piano-type hinge; (2) skin; (3) doubler; (4) filter

Leading edge assembly, outer wing, showing: (1) piano-type hinge; (2) skin; (3) doubler; (4) filter

well; (5) corrugations; (6) cap strip; (7) finger plate; (8) doubler; (9) sump well, and (10) ribs.

mately to the trailing edge of the wing. The flap is actuated by an irreversible screw driving a guided push-pull tube, which runs outboard from the fuselage through each wing and to which the flap carriages are connected by means of a system of ⅛-in extra flexible, pre- formed tinned carbon steel cables. All pulleys and other rotating parts of the flap actuating system are mounted on anti-friction type bearings. This mechanism permits the flap to be extended to its optimum setting or held in any intermediate position desired without loading the driving mechanism. The irreversible screw is hydraulically operated, with activation by means of controls in the pilot's cockpit. An auxiliary hydraulic hand pump provides operating power in case of failure or damage to the engine-driven hydraulic pump. Outer wing panels consist of main beam, rear shear beam, and upper and lower stressed skin, forming a box beam, and hydro-pressed sheet 24ST ribs spaced at 12-in, centers. Outer skin and corrugated stiffener are 24ST Alclad. The leading edge has no ribs

and is made up of formed inner skin and shallow chordwise corrugations of 24ST. These are built up of upper and lower halves, joined at the leading edge with piano hinge fittings, and are removable. In earlier models the inter- coolers were housed in the leading edge of the wing, which now carries fuel cells. A flush type leading edge light is in- corporated in the left side. The skin, of .040 gage, 24ST Alclad, is flush riveted and butt jointed. Main beam of the outer wing panel consists of upper and lower beam caps which are 24ST aluminum alloy extru- sions, tapering out from the center un- til a heavier, reinforcing section disap- pears and the extrusion becomes a plain angle of sheet metal. The lower cap tapers faster than the upper and is finally replaced by a pair of sheet metal angles. One of the interesting new cases of P-38 pioneering is the use of recently added dive flaps to offset compressibil- ity effect which shifted center of lift from fore to aft portions of wing. Due to the unusually high speeds attained

by the heavy P-38 in power dives, shifting of the center of lift caused loss of normal control above the “hy- drodynamic” speeds—where air reacts much like water—with a resu1ting tendency of the plane to go into an outside loop. Since installation of the flaps this characteristic has been overcome. The flaps are fabricated of three layers of aluminum alloy sheet, flush riveted. They attach, by means of a piano-type hinge, along the same line at which the leading edge of the wing is joined to the outer panel. Actuation is electrical, with a high speed electric motor driving actuating screw mech- anisms connected to a curved arm hinged to a fitting on the brace or rear- most of the two panels of the flap assembly. When lowered, the flap stands at an angle of 40° from the lower skin surface line, and at its farthest point is 5½ in. from the wing to the piano hinge by which it is attached to the brace panel. Two actuating mech- anisms, side by side at the center, operate each flap, the actuating arms swinging downward through an open- ing in the wing skin. The flap and brace

panels have a combined chord of 15½ in, divided 8½ in to the flap itself and 7 in to the brace. Length is 58 in. The mechanism is bolted to a heavy casting anchored to the lower skin structure and two wing ribs between which it is located. The wing tips are made up of smooth outer skins spotwelded to beaded inner skins and reinforced with two small spanwise beams each. Attachment is made to the wing by screws. A streamlined formation light is contained in both upper and lower surfaces of these structures.

One of the performance characteri- stics of the Lightning—for which the tail surfaces and virtually all other parts of the airplane have taken quite a beating from critics—was its apparent inability to roll as rapidly as fighter tactics required. Here again the high speed with its resultant pressure on the ailerons, necessitated another first, the aileron booster. This system uses the main hydraulic pressure to supplement the pilot s pres- sure on the aileron control surfaces. Operation is such that the pilot main- tains the feel of the control but sup-

plies only 17 percent of the force re- quired to actuate the ailerons, servo action supplying the remainder. A shut-off valve in the hydraulic pressure line, controllable from the cockpit, is provided for the system. Metal-covered ailerons are of standard design, and have a total area of 24.44 sq ft, an angular movement of 25° up and 20° down, a differential movement of 2.3 to 1, and the distance from the plane of symmetry to centroid of the aileron area is 230.4 in. They are statically and dynamically balanced and are attached to the wing by stainless

balanced and are attached to the wing by stainless Leading edge of wing, housing intercoolers in

Leading edge of wing, housing intercoolers in earlier models of P-38, now carries fuel cell (black in lower view), has no ribs, and is made up of formed inner skin and shallow chordwise 24ST corrugations.

Phantom view shows aileron control cables leading from control column back to drum assembly on
Phantom view shows aileron control cables leading from control column back to drum assembly on

Phantom view shows aileron control cables leading from control column back to drum assembly on main beam and out to boosters used to overcome pressure on aileron due to high speed of plane. Pilot supplies but one-sixth of force necessary to actuate ailerons; booster, utilizing main system hydraulic pres-sure supplies additional force required. Force from control cable on booster quadrant (left) is transmitted to bellcrank and push-pull rod, actuating aileron.

steel piano-type hinges. Engine nacelles extend forward from the main beam of the wing and join the booms at the firewall, the latter being merely a bulkhead and not a structural member. The nacelles consist of an engine mount with two 14ST side truss forgings and steel tubular members with forged end fittings welded to them, and support bay forgings. The tubular members attach to ribs in the leading edge of the wing and the support bay attaches to the forward boom structure, giving the mount lateral support. The combined forgings and tubes form a truss providing vertical and lateral support. The mount attaches by means of four nickel steel bolts. Cowling consists of mild steel lower nacelle, and quickly removable alumi-

Phantom view showing continuity of rudder control cables from rudder to rudder pedals back to

Phantom view showing continuity of rudder control cables from rudder

to rudder

pedals back to main beam, out to and back through booms,

hinge brackets and torque tubes attached to rear spars of stabilizers. Tabs in flush-riveted rudders are also controlled from cockpit.

Tabs in flush-riveted rudders are also controlled from cockpit. Lockheed P-38 ©2005 JL McClellan p 13
Engine mount and support assembly, showing (1) diagonal tubular members; (2) yoke attaching bolt; (3)

Engine mount and support assembly, showing (1) diagonal tubular members; (2) yoke attaching bolt; (3) upper diagonal bolt; (4)aft supper attaching points; (5) diagonal assembly; (6) aft diagonal; (7) and (8) attaching bolts; (9) pads; (10) and (11) forward attaching bolts; (12) pads; (13) fore diagonal attaching point; (14) bay assembly; (15) yoke attaching bolt; (16) and (17) diagonals; (18) diagonal attaching point; (19) lower truss bolt; and (20) truss.

num panels, attached by means of flush type fasteners to supporting framework of pressed aluminum alloy and steel attached to the engine itself and to the mount. Bottom skin of the cowling and sections around the exhaust manifolds are of steel. Intercoolers are below the engines and housed within the engine, cowling. Booms begin at the firewall and ex- tend aft to support the empennage,

tapering from 47⅜ in in height and 38.63 in in width at their deepest sec- tion just aft of the trailing edge of the wing, to an ellipse, 13 in high and 10 in wide at the point where the empen- nage booms join. They are built in two sections—forward and aft. The turbosuperchargers are within the for- ward booms, in the upper section just aft of the junction with the wing. In the lower portions are main landing gear

with the wing. In the lower portions are main landing gear Left-hand outboard view of powerplant

Left-hand outboard view of powerplant showing: (1) front bulkhead support; (2) junction box; (3) and (4) securing for center side cowl formers; (5) sparkplug blast tubes; (6) nuts for securing oil cooler brackets; (7) pressure switch plug securing clip; (8) screws securing forward bulkhead to lower intake; (9) coolant return line; (10) oil return line; (11) switch plug; and (12) intercooler ducts.

and the wells. In the forward ends of the aft booms are the engine coolant radiators, with their air scoops attached outside of the booms themselves. Also included in the left boom is a battery compartment and balancing it in the right boom is a luggage compartment. Boom structures are of 24ST rolled sheet of .040 gage in the forward boom, and .032 gage in the aft boom, and ex- truded bulb angles, stiffened by bulk- heads of hydro-press formed 24ST Al- clad spaced approximately 15 in. apart in the forward boom and about 10 in. apart in the aft boom. Forward and aft booms are joined around their top and sides through a butt joint and heavy doubler and at the bottom by means of a pin and forged fitting in the ends of heavy channel sections of 24ST hydro- pressed parts which form the lower edge of the wheel well and to which the landing gear doors attach. The semi- monocoque construction of the booms gives required strength and is reinforced at the edges of the gear recess. Considerable stainless steel is used in the booms, in the areas around the superchargers and it was to fabricate this that the manufacturing divisions were forced to do considerable research and other pioneering. The empennage consists of two booms—forming the tail cone—two vertical stabilizers, two rudders and tabs, one horizontal stabilizer and one elevator and tab. Outboard the aft empennage boom supports the rear por- tions of the stabilizer tips and is at- tached to the forward empennage boom by screws and plate nuts. The forward empennage boom is a formed skin rein- forced by stringers and hydro-pressed bulkheads, to which is attached the horizontal and vertical stabilizers, the latter being divided above and below the forward empennage boom. The flush-riveted stabilizer is built up in standard, all-metal airfoil style and is supported as a partially fixed ended beam from the two tail booms. It con- sists of two aluminum alloy shear beams and a skin of smooth sheet suit- ably stiffened by means of aluminum alloy extruded bulb angles. The rear spar carries the elevator hinge brackets and bearings, the end of the elevator torque tube and the elevator tab actuat- ing unit. On the under surface, 3⅞ in to the left of the airplane center line is a plate nut for plumb-bob attachment, and on the leading edge at the center line is an eye for alternate radio antenna attachment.

Stabilizer tips are also made up with a smooth aluminum alloy skin, flush- riveted to hydro-pressed 24ST ribs and channel strips, and attach to the empennage booms by means of 40 screws around the inboard contour. Right and left stabilizer tips are inter- changeable. The elevator has an area of 24.5 sq ft and angular movement of 23° up and 8½° down. It is statically balanced by four weights, one in each boom and two at the centerline. It is metal covered, flush-riveted and its internal structure is similar to that of the stabilizer and other control surface units. Its trim tab, placed at the plane of symmetry, has an area of 1.73 sq ft, and is controllable from the pilot s cockpit. It attaches by means of stainless steel piano-type hinges Vertical fins are full cantilever and attach rigidly to the tail booms with no external bracing. They are made up of multiple shear webs, ribs, and covering of aluminum alloy stiffened by means of aluminum alloy extruded bulb sections. They are constructed in two sections each, attaching above and below the empennage boom. In the

each, attaching above and below the empennage boom. In the Designed for production as complete subassembly

Designed for production as complete subassembly are oil cooler and intercooler intake duct, oil temperature regulator and exit ducts, together with brackets for attaching to power plant unit.

and exit ducts, together with brackets for attaching to power plant unit. Lockheed P-38 ©2005 JL
Fundamental Design Information Over­all length (max) Height (max) Span Thickness root chord Thickness of tip

Fundamental Design Information

Over­all length (max) Height (max) Span Thickness root chord Thickness of tip chord Wing area (net) Taper ration (root chord/tip chord) Length root chord Length of tip chord Fuselage depth (max) Fuselage width (max) Load factor (ultimate) Design gross weight


37' 9­15/1”'

9' 9­15/16”




327.5 sq.ft.







15,500 lb.



Center Section


Outer Panels








Struts & Wires






Stabilizer & Tips




Fins (2)


Rudders (2)


Boom Assembly Empennage


Struts & Wires






Fuselage, less engine section


Forward Boom


Aft Boom






Main Landing Gear


Nose Landing Gear












Engines as installed (2)


Engine Accessories


Power Plant Controls


Propellers and Spinners (2)


Starting System


Supercharger (incl. intercoolers, 130 lb.)


Cooling System


Lubricating System



Instruments Surface Controls Hydraulic System Electrical Communicating (Army) Armament Provisions Furnishings Anti­Icing equipment (defrosting tubes) Pressurizing equipment Miscellaneous Total TOTAL WEIGHT EMPTY

Useful Loads













12,700.00 lb.



Crew (1 at 200 lb., including parachute)


Oil (17 gal. at7.5 lb.)


Oil Trapped in System (8 gal.)


Fuel Trapped in System (3.33 gal.)




Gun Camera


Useful Load (normal)



Weight Empty


Gross Weight (normal)


Gross Weight (first alternate)


Gross Weight (second alternate)



Gross Weights



Normal Gross Weight


Design Gross Weight


Alternate Gross Weight (No. 1)


Alternate Gross Weight (No. 2)


Unit Weights



Wing Group (net area 327.5 sq.ft.) lb. per sq. ft


Tail Group (net area 127.78 sq.ft.) lb. per sq. ft


Weight of cooling system per normal hp (hp. 2200)


Weight of lubricating system per gal. oil (26 gal.)


upper sections are the rudder tab actuating units, a navigation light showing on the outboard side only, one elevator control pulley and two rudder tab control pulleys. Each lower section carries one elevator control pulley and a steel shoe to protect the lower tip against damage in the event of a tail down landing. The rudder hinge brackets and torque tubes attach to the rear spars of the stabilizers. Right and left fins or vertical stabilizers are interchangeable. They have a combined area of 24.42 sq ft. Rudders are of all-metal construction, flush-riveted and have a total surface area of 21.36 sq ft and angular movement of 28° right and left. Tabs in the trailing edges each have an area of 1.37 sq ft. Rudder balance weights extend forward of the hinge line into recesses in the rear edge of the fins. The entire empennage assembly is manufactured as a unit and is quickly detachable for repair. The control system consists of rudder pedal hangers of the full stirrup type, and toe type brake pedals, and half “Y” built-up aluminum alloy control column for the elevator on which is mounted a control wheel for the ailerons. The control wheel has open upper and lower segments and the upper corner of each of the two closed segments has one control button on the near side and one trigger type switch on the far side. Double 3/16 in. diameter, extra flexible preformed tinned carbon steel control

cables extend from the rudder pedals and control column back through the fuselage, diverging outward at the center section main beam to each boom. One set of control cables for both elevator and rudders extends aft through each boom. Anti-friction type tearing pulleys and micarta or fiber guide blocks are used throughout the entire cable system. All control system bell cranks and masts for actuating the control system are mounted on antif- riction bearings and are housed entirely within the airplane contour. Inspection and service openings with flush-type cover plates are provided throughout. Fuselage or gondola of the P-38 at- taches to the center section at the plane of symmetry of the airplane and its line of juncture is covered by fillets. Its maximum height is 72 in and its greatest width 38 in. It is fabricated of high strength aluminum alloy and is of stiffened monocoque construction, except where reinforcements for cut- outs renders this impractical. High strength aluminum-coated, aluminum alloy-formed bulkheads are spaced 15 in. apart and form the skeleton to which the smooth Alclad skin is flush-riveted.


Wing area


Root Chord

Design Details



ft. 0 in.




Tip Chord




Taper Ratio






deg. at root, 0 at Sta. 289

Dihedral (L.E.)



deg. 40 min.




deg. 11 min. 30 sec.

Maximum rib spacing




Shear web location:






Spar location



Stagger at lower wing root



Gap at lower wing root



Aspect Ratio


Decalage Mean Aerodynamic Chord:






Location relative to L.E. Root Chord:









Wing Construction





Ailerons (2):


12.22 sq.ft. each side

(24.44 sq. ft. total)

Angular movement Up





Down Distance from place of symmetry to centroid of


aileron area


Type of Balance: Counterweights within wing structure Horizontal Tail Surfaces:

Area: (total)


Maximum Chord


sq. ft.

ft. 9 in.

in. (uniform)



Distance from gross weight c.g. wheels up to 1/3 max

chord point




305.69% M.A.C.




Normal setting: (relative to thrust) Angular movement Elevator:

0 deg.


24.5 sq.ft. 23 deg., down 8 ½ deg.

Type of balance: Completely statically balanced by three weights, one in each boom and one on elevator structure at centerline of airplane.


Angular movement



Area Vertical Tail Surfaces:



Fins: (2) Area (Each side, 13.71 sq.ft)



Normal setting: (to path of flight)



Angular movement


Rudders: (2) Area(Each side, 10.68 sq.ft.) Angular movement

21.36 sq.ft. Right, 28 deg.

Left, 28 deg. Type of Balance: Dynamically and statically about their respective hinge lines.


Area: (each) Lift and Drag Increasing Devices:





1.37 sq.ft.




Height: (Maximum cross section)



Width: (Maximum cross section) ALIGHTING GEAR:



Main Gear:



single oleo­

Major Dimension Control system


pneumatic shock strut in. wheel and brake assembly hydraulic

Shock Strut Travel




Nose Gear:



single oleopneumatic

shock strut, and half type wheel fork

in. wheel assembly hydraulic


Major Dimension Control System Shock Strut Travel



hydraulic in. Major Dimension Control System Shock Strut Travel 27 12 Lockheed P-38 ©2005 JL McClellan

Here is how tail cone assembly is built up of:

(1) baggage compartment door frame; (2) stringers; (3) skin; (4) frames.

compartment door frame; (2) stringers; (3) skin; (4) frames. Cockpit enclosure incorporates side panels which may

Cockpit enclosure incorporates side panels which may be lowered by the pilot, a top center transparent panel hinged at the top aft edge to permit en- trance of the pilot when the left side panel is lowered, and which can be instantly released by means of a quick-

and which can be instantly released by means of a quick- release mechanism. Side panels can

release mechanism. Side panels can be opened or closed on the ground or in flight at reduced speed and may be locked in the open, closed or any intermediate positions. Center panel of the front windshield is of bullet-proof glass. The Lightning’s tricycle landing gear is fully retractable with automati- cally opening and closing wheel well doors. The main gear has single oleo-- pneumatic shock struts with a 10 in travel, and is hydraulically operated. Wheels are 36 in in diameter and are equipped with brakes. Main gears re- tract backward and up into the forward booms.

Nose gear is also of the single oleo- pneumatic shock strut type with a half type wheel fork. It is hydraulic and has a shock strut travel of 12 in. The nose wheel diameter is 27 in. Retraction is backward and up into a well in the fuselage. Current P-38's are equipped with turbosupercharged 12 cylinder liquid- cooled V-1710 Allisons with a military and takeoff rating of 1,520 hp to 27,000 ft at 3,000 rpm. They are equipped with three-blade full feathering constant speed Curtiss electric propellers of 11 ft 6 in diameter geared at a 2.00:1 ratio. Low pitch setting of blade at 42 in station is 22.7°, and high pitch is 57.7°

setting of blade at 42 in station is 22.7°, and high pitch is 57.7° Lockheed P-38

with a feather angle of 87.5°. Clearances are: to ground, level landing, approximately 16 in; to fuse- lage, 9½ in; to leading edge of wing, approximately 60 in. Carburetors are Bendix-Stromberg PD-12K7, and differ from the con- ventional vented float chamber type in that the fuel system is closed from fuel pump to discharge nozzle. Fuel is delivered to the carburetor by the engine driven fuel pump at a pressure of 16 to 18 lb per sq in. Fuel delivered to the carburetor is metered in accordance with the mass air flow through the throat as registered by the venturi tube and automatic mixture control unit. Metered fuel then passes through the discharge tube to the discharge nozzle where it is sprayed into the air stream entering the internal supercharger. Ignition voltage is provided by a dual, high tension magneto and is dis- tributed to spark plugs through two separate engine driven, high tension distributors. Magneto timing is fixed and fires the exhaust bank of spark- plugs six degrees before the intake bank plugs. All high tension ignition cables are shielded to prevent radio interference. Two spark plugs are used for each cylinder, the exhaust plugs being cooled by a blast of cooling air conducted from the airplane slip stream through two aluminum alloy sparkplug cooling manifolds. Magnetos are pressurized Bendix-Scintilla DFLN-6,

manifolds. Magnetos are pressurized Bendix-Scintilla DFLN-6, Fin and rudder, showing profile of stabilizer tip, which

Fin and rudder, showing profile of stabilizer tip, which attaches by screws. Fin-and-rudder unit attaches to tail cone by screws and plate nuts.

Fin-and-rudder unit attaches to tail cone by screws and plate nuts. Lockheed P-38 ©2005 JL McClellan
Here are components going to make up fuselage nose structure, in which P-38's heavy firepower

Here are components going to make up fuselage nose structure, in which P-38's heavy firepower – four .50-cal machine guns and one 20-mm cannon – is concentrated. Exceptionally high speed of craft makes it invaluable as photo reconnaissance plane designated F-5B, in which this structure is replaced by one designed to accommodate any of four different camera installations.

and LH; two starters, with manual crank extensions; and two booster coils. Start and engage switches are located atop the main switch box ad- jacent to the master ignition switch in the cockpit. The starters are located on the lower right-hand side of each engine accessory case; and manual crank extensions are accessible through doors in the engine cowl panels.

Engines are cooled with ethylene glycol, Spe. AN-E-2, by separate sys- tems, each consisting of a radiator mounted on each side of each aft boom, air scoops and exit flaps that control the flow of air through the radiators, a temperature-reactant four- way valve that automatically controls the exit flaps by hydraulic operation of an actuating cylinder, an engine-driven coolant pump, a coolant supply tank mounted astride the engine propeller reduction gear case, an absolute-pressure valve that vents the supply tank to the atmosphere and compensates for pressure variations. Five drain cocks are installed at low points of the system and a bleed cock is located at the highest point. A tee restrictor is located between the cylin- der banks to prevent excessive coolant bypassing. A coolant temperature bulb is inserted in the coolant outlet tube on the inboard side of each engine. The supply tank provides for coolant storage space and vents the system to the atmosphere through the sniffle valve which maintains a constant absolute pressure of 23 lb per sq in in the system at all altitudes. An independent pressure-lubrication system provides oil for each engine

Details of armament compartment in nose of P-38, showing (1) gun sighting chart; (2) machine gun feed chute adjustment; (3) ammunition tray tracks; (4) machine gun case ejection chute adjustment; (5) cannon feed chute adjustment; and (6) machine gun solenoids.

providing double ignition from a single unit, and mounted by two bolts between the cylinder banks at the upper rear section of the P-38's engines. Throttle, mixture and propeller gov- ernor controls are levers mounted in the side control stand at the pilot's left in the cockpit. The starting system is composed of: a start switch with three positions, off, RH, and LH; an engage switch with three positions, off, RH,

off, RH, and LH; an engage switch with three positions, off, RH, Lockheed P-38 ©2005 JL

with oil gravity-fed from the reservoir tank through the hopper and the slide valve for inverted flight, to the pressure pump. Flow then is through a check valve which opens at 1 lb. pressure and closes when engine is stopped, to a strainer and thence to the engine. Three oil passages distribute oil from the strainer to the supercharger and all accessory drives contained in the ac- cessories housing. From the strainer outlet, oil is also distributed to the moving parts of the engine. From the main scavenger pump outlet oil flows to the temperature regulator and when the oil is hot and does not exceed a pressure of 75 lb per sq in, it enters the regulator and flows through the core, out of the radiator, and back to the tank. Oil tanks are fabricated from 3SO aluminum alloy and are mounted on the front face of each firewall. Temperature regulation is automatically controlled by an electric actuator motor connected to the air duct exit flap. Separate fuel systems supply each engine, with the two interconnected so that fuel from any tank except the outer wing tanks, is available for either engine. Three tanks supply each engine:

(I) Main (2) reserve and (3) outer wing leading edge. In addition, droppable fuel tanks are carried under the center wing on both sides of the gondola and

under the center wing on both sides of the gondola and Lightning instrument panel: (1) Compass

Lightning instrument panel: (1) Compass deviation card holder; (2) vacuum gage; (3) clock; (4) turbo warning; (5) fuel pressure gages; (6) radio compass indicator (optional); (7) remote compass indicator; (8) turn indicator; (9) flight indicator; (10) manifold pressure gages; (11) coolant temperature gage; (12) fuel quantity gage (front); (13) altimeter; (14) airspeed indicator; (15) bank and turn indicator; (16) rate of climb indicator; (17) tachometers; (18) carburetor air temperature; (19) fuel equanimity gage (rear); (20) hydraulic pressure gage; (21) bank and turn regulating valve; (22) landing gear and flap indicator; (23) engine gages; (24) radio contactor; and (25) ammeter.

inboard of the engine nacelles. Electrically driven fuel boost pumps are mounted in the lower aft section of the fuselage and in the outer wing to assist the engine driven fuel pumps. Air intake scoops on the outboard sides of the forward booms provide air for the induction system. From the

scoop air passes through an intake fil- ter, if desired, and through the intake duct to the turbosupercharger com- pressor. It is discharged from the compressor into a duct leading to the intercooler and thence enters the engine induction system where it is mixed with fuel and distributed to the engine

system where it is mixed with fuel and distributed to the engine Lockheed P-38 ©2005 JL
cylinders. AiResearch intercoolers are mounted on four Lord mounts bolted to the engine trusses. The

cylinders. AiResearch intercoolers are mounted on four Lord mounts bolted to the engine trusses. The cooling air flow through the intercooler radiator may be manually controlled by an electric motor-operated shutter. Superchargers are General Electric, exhaust-driven turbo type mounted as

previously mentioned, immediately be- hind the rear shear beam of the wing in the forward booms. Automatic electric regulators are connected through a push-pull rod and bellcrank linkage from the throttle control pulley at the firewall and operate in combination with the throttles.

the firewall and operate in combination with the throttles. The hydraulic system of the P-38 op-

The hydraulic system of the P-38 op- erates the landing gear, landing gear doors wing flaps, coolant radiator exit flaps, and aileron boosters. Pressure is supplied by two engine-driven variable volume pumps and maintains a fluid pressure in the system of 1,350 lb per sq in. An auxiliary hand pump with a reserve supply of fluid provides for the operation of all units should the drive system fail. An emergency hydraulic system with separate lines and reservoir using the auxiliary hand pump for pressure source, provides a means of extending the landing gears in case the main hydraulic system fails. Fluid capacity of the main system is 10 gal, and aluminum alloy tubing is used throughout the airplane, with all tubes grounded by means oi bonding clips and fairleads. Oil filtering is accomplished at the reservoir in such a. way that no unfil- tered fluid can reach ‘the system from either return line or by refilling. The hydraulic system is supercharged for maximum high altitude efficiency. Electrical system is 24 Vdc single wire except for the 115V alternating current supplied by the inverter for the remote compass. A 24V battery is

Nose wheel retracts back and up into well in fuselage. This exploded view shows: (1) nose gear assembly; (2) drag strut; (3) fulcrum; (4) torque lever; (5) side strut; (6) actuating cylinder; and (7) 27-in wheel.

supplemented by two 100-Ampere gen- erators to provide power to drive mo- tors and to operate radios, actuating solenoids, instruments, lights and heat- ers. Engine starters, oil cooler and intercooler flaps, auxiliary fuel pumps, remote compass inverter, turbo regu- lator, dive flaps, and propeller motors are all electrically powered. Electric solenoids control the armament, droppable tanks and bombs, and outer wing tank flow, oil dilution valves, and coolant flap override mechanism. Elec- trically operated instruments include the landing gear warning lights; oil, coolant and carburetor air temperature indicators; fuel level gages, remote compass indicator, and tachometers. Armament of the P-38 is unusual in that four .50-cal machine guns and one 20-mm cannon, firing in a 20-in diameter, or a 20 x 8 in rectangular pattern have been proven one of the most effective combinations ever mounted in a fighter. The small number of the guns is more than overcome by their concentration in the fuselage ahead of the pilot, where they fire straight ahead rather than in a con- verging fire from wing guns. The gun compartment is located in the upper forward portion of the fuse- lage. Machine gun ammunition is con- tained in four drawer-type trays. Cannon ammunition is provided from a drawer type tray. Expended links and cartridge cases are discharged through chutes leading to openings in the skin below the armament compartment. Ex- pended cannon shell cases and links are discharged into a compartment between bulkheads on the lower right hand side of the fuselage. Sighting is by means of a Lynn gun sight, installed on the center line of the airplane, just aft of the bullet-proof windshield. Bomb supports and type D-820 In- terstate bomb shackles are attached to the under side of the center section, midway between the fuselage and each boom. They carry either bombs of from 100 to 2,000 lb or droppable fuel tanks. Also mounted in the left droptank

Main switch box, showing: (1) left ignition; (2) master ignition; (3) right ignition; (4) oil dilution; (5) engine starter; (6) position light; (7) left landing light; (8) remote compass switch; (9) fluorescent cockpit light rheostat; (10) voltmeter; (11) propeller feathering switches; (12) automatic oil cooler flap; (13) generator; (14) battery disconnect; (15) pitot heater; (16) auto-matic coolant control override switch; (17) intercooler flap; (18) cockpit light; and (19) gunsight light.

flap; (18) cockpit light; and (19) gunsight light. Retractable nose wheel, viewed from aft of well

Retractable nose wheel, viewed from aft of well under fuselage, showing heavy, built-up construction of fairing door, built to withstand speeds and hard field service.

of fairing door, built to withstand speeds and hard field service. Lockheed P-38 ©2005 JL McClellan
Phantom view of wing flap, landing gear and engine control system, showing: (1) right throttle;
Phantom view of wing flap, landing gear and engine control system, showing:
(1) right throttle; (2) and (3) right mixture; (4) right throttle; (5) right propeller;
(6) right carburetor air, center; (7) left carburetor air, center; (8) left mixture;
(9) left throttle; (10) left propeller; (11) left mixture; (12) left throttle; (13) left
propeller; (14) right propeller; (15) and (16) left and right carburetor air
forward; (17) and (18) fore and aft flap 4-way valves; (19), (20), and (21) left
and right tank selectors; (22) right tank selector; (23) left selector; (24) right
tank selector; (25) left tank selector; (26) right tank selector; (27) left and right
carburetor air, aft; (28) and (29) right and left carburetor air, center; A, B and
pulley bracket assemblies; D, Allison rod—left throttle; E, rod—left mixture;
pulley bracket assembly; G and H rods, left and right propeller governors; I,
pulley bracket assembly; J, Allison rod—right throttle; K, rod right—mixture; L,
and N, pulley bracket assemblies; O, pulley; P, pulley assembly; Q, and R.
Phantom view of the camera cradle installation on F5-B photographic version showing: (1) camera set

Phantom view of the camera cradle installation on F5-B photographic version showing: (1) camera set screws; (2, 6, 8, 14, 17) cradles; (4, 5, 7, 11, and 18) Lord mounts; (9) bumper washers; (10 and 13) truss assemblies; (12, 15, and 16) supports and (3) caps on cradles.

(12, 15, and 16) supports and (3) caps on cradles. Diagrammatic layout of P-38 “Lightning” oil

Diagrammatic layout of P-38 “Lightning” oil cooling system, showing connections running from oil radiators, through thermostat and junction boxes to flap actuator.

support fairing is a type M-6 gun camera. It may be operated indepen- dently or in conjunction with the guns. Armor plate consists of small pieces of face-hardened steel, attached sepa- rately to facilitate handling, removal and replacement. The pilot is protected from frontal attack by armor plate mounted on the aft bulkhead of the armament compartment and by a bullet- proof glass windshield. Two pieces of armor plate line the back and bottom of the pilot s seat and give protection from below and behind. A single piece of armor plate mounted behind and above the seat provides additional rearward protection. Armor plate on inboard

sides of the superchargers or circular deflectors on the superchargers protect the pilot against possible fragmentation of turbosupercharger blades. The photographic version, known as F-5B, is a modification of the standard P-38J. The armament compartment is redesigned to accommodate any one of four arrangements of aerial cameras. Combinations of type K-l8 with 24-in, lens cone and type K-17 with 6, 12, or 24-in, lens cones are used in each arrangement. Cameras are remotely operated by a type A-l electrical control and the camera lens apertures are controlled by a remote diaphragm control

A Sperry Type A-4 gyro pilot pro- vides automatic control of the direction and attitude of the camera ship in flight. The control units, which are mounted in the lower center of the instrument panel give the pilot a visual check on the operation of the automatic pilot at all times in addition to serving as flight instruments when the automatic pilot is not in use. It uses the airplane s vacuum and hydraulic systems as power sources for its operation. Furnishings include, in addition to pilot's seat, flare pistol, glare shield, and other standard items, a rearview mirror fastened to the front portion of the top hatch, a demand oxygen system, and a

Two views of bomb or auxiliary fuel tank shackles, with front access doors removed. Located on each side of fuselage inboard of engines, these units support tanks which have given P-38's range enough to be flown from U.S. to England; from there to

range enough to be flown from U.S. to England; from there to Africa and, consistently, as

Africa and, consistently, as escort fighters covering heavy bombers on long range attacks on Germany. “Lightnings” now carry two 2,000-lb. bombs.

range attacks on Germany. “Lightnings” now carry two 2,000-lb. bombs. Lockheed P-38 ©2005 JL McClellan p
Phantom view giving supercharger installation: (1) scoop —exhaust manifold and shroud; (2) exhaust manifold; (3)
Phantom view giving supercharger installation: (1) scoop —exhaust manifold and shroud; (2) exhaust manifold; (3)

Phantom view giving supercharger installation: (1) scoop —exhaust manifold and shroud; (2) exhaust manifold; (3) sparkplug blast tube; (4) electrical relay box; (5) magneto; (6) magneto blast tube; (7) air pressure to distributor housing; (8) air pressure to magneto housing; (9) distributor housing; (10) carburetor intake duct; (11) intensifier tube—cabin and armament heat; (12) exhaust “Y” tail pipe; (13) cover assembly –super-charger baffles; (14) blast tube supercharger main bearing and cooling baffles; (15) cooling cap supercharger; (16) B-33 supercharger (for detail of supercharger see insert below); (17) intake scoop—oil cooler regulator; (18) exit duct—oil cooler regulator; (19) duct to electrical oil cooler relay; (20) intake scoop—intercooler; (21) exit duct—intercooler; (22) blast tube to tachometer generator; (23) intercooler air; (24) generator blast tube; (25) intake duct— intercooler; (26) air filter; and (27) supercharger air intake scoop.

Supercharger installation: (1) armor plate; (2) supercharger; (3) waste gate; (4) oil tank vent line;

Supercharger installation: (1) armor plate; (2) supercharger; (3) waste gate; (4) oil tank vent line; (5) oil tank; (6) stainless steel structure; (7) supercharger air intake scoop; (8) air intake; (9) duct; (10) air outlet to intercooler; (11) to engine oil system; (12) supercharger regulator; (13) center section rear shear beam; (14) panel assembly; (15) and (16) cover assemblies; and (17) inboard deck assembly.

cockpit heating system. Cockpit heat is by hot air, the in- tensifier tube in both engine exhaust manifolds being ducted into the cockpit and directed on the pilot's feet. A flexible defroster tube may be used to defrost the top of the canopy. While much of the design and equip- ment information given here probably appears as “standard” now, it should be recalled that when the P-38 first in- troduced it, such was not the case. And every design feature, every installation, every alternate was introduced through necessity to meet the new conditions encountered at the Lightning's higher speed and ceilings. With the recent addition of dive flaps and aileron boosters, the Lightning again pioneers through use of these devices to help combat the effects of compressibility. The P-38 thus overcomes any disadvantages of large size and weight. The present airplane is an improvement upon the plane the enemy so aptly named the “Fork-Tailed Devil.”

Maj. Richard Bong, South Pacific P-38 ace with 27 victories to his credit, recently inspected and flew the new Lightnings with dive flaps and aileron booster. In the new job, he said, he found all the suggestions he had intended to offer.

said, he found all the suggestions he had intended to offer. Diagrammatic layout of hydraulic system

Diagrammatic layout of hydraulic system up to accumulator, showing: (1) emergency reservoir; (2) emergency pump check valve; (3) hydraulic hand pump; (4) hand pump check valve; (5) emergency system relief valve; (6) bypass valve; (7) emergency return check valve; (8) right hand engine pump; (9) right hand pump check valve; (10) main system reservoir; (11) left hand pump check valve; (12) suction test check valve; (13) left hand engine pump; (14) pressure test check valve; (15) main system filter; (16) pressure regulator; (17) accumulator; and (18) system pressure gage.

Lockheed P-38 ©2005 JL McClellan p 28 of 50
T he Lockheed P-38 Lightning is unique among fighter aircraft, due principally to its versatility.

T he Lockheed P-38 Lightning is unique among fighter aircraft, due principally to its versatility. It is used as a high, low and medium altitude fighter, interceptor,

bomber escort, light bomber, skip bomber, dive bomber, attack bomber and strafer, supply dropping plane, smoke screen layer, and as a photo-reconnaissance plane. It has been tried as a torpedo plane and a glider tow, and before this war is over it will be put to other important uses which for the moment must remain undisclosed. Distinctive in appearance, P-38 is among the larges and heaviest fighter planes. It is one of the world's fastest also and at its best altitude, it outspeeds any other production fighter. Its single engine speed is in excess of 300 mph, and

its service ceiling, where it still climbs 100 fpm is considerably in excess of 40,000 ft. P-38, first conceived in 1937, has evolved through 16 major modifications to the P-38J, latest of the series to actually be delivered, although others are in process of engineering, experimental work or testing. Basically, it is an all-metal, midwing, twin-engined single seater having twin boom nacelles and fuselage of semi-monocoque, stressed skin type. The wing is full cantilever, stressed skin type and consists of a center section, two outer panels, and wing tips. To the wing are attached the two engine nacelles and the gondola type fuselage or “pod.” Two Allison engines are mounted

outboard in separate nacelles. The engine nacelles fair back into the booms which support the
outboard in separate nacelles. The engine nacelles fair back into the booms which support the

outboard in separate nacelles. The engine nacelles fair back into the booms which support the tail unit, their streamlining broken only by coolant radiators located approximately halfway aft from the wing centerline. There is no orthodox fuselage, the gondola being at the trailing edge of the wing at the plane of symmetry and extending forward only. Separate compartments are provided for armament, (all guns are concentrated in the nose) cockpit, retractable nose wheel, radio, hydraulics and fuel. Since the plane sits level on its tricycle gear, access over the wing is provided by a retractable ladder mounted in the aft end of the fuselage. Entrance to the cockpit is by hinged canopy used in conjunction with windows on both sides of the cockpit enclosure.

Body Group

The body group, consisting of the center section, fuselage

and forward booms, is jig-mated, riveted and bolted, and as such is considered an irreplaceable

and forward booms, is jig-mated, riveted and bolted, and as such is considered an irreplaceable unit. The aft end booms are also jig-mated and bolted but may be replaced. The fuselage is an all-metal, semi-monocoque gondola type structure, framed primarily with bulkheads hydropress stamped from 24S-T sheet with transverse partitions between the different compartments which provide additional strength. Longitudinal stringers are of bent up sheet aluminum alloy, the skin varying from .051” to .025” thickness. Skin sheets are butt-jointed and flush riveted. Armament compartment doors are built up of a smooth outer skin and a formed inner skin strengthener. Both are stamped from .040” material, and are riveted and spot- welded. The door of the nose wheel well is similar in construction except that .032” Alclad is used for the outer skin and .040” for the inner skin. There is a firewall between the armament compartment and the pilot's station additionally reinforced by armor plate. The lower section of the fuselage contains the nose gear, a compartment for receiving ejected cannon shell cases and links, major units of the hydraulic pressure control system,

and control valves for flaps and landing gear. Fuel valves, strainers, booster pumps and the engine- and surface-control cables also are located here. The upper section contains the armament, cockpit and radio compartments. Access to the armament compartment is through two hinged panels secured by Dzus fasteners. The aft section of the fuselage contains the hydraulic reservoir, flap motor drive and mounting ladder. The ladder is pivoted and spring loaded so that it retracts into the tail cone; a hand hold is provided in the left side of the fuselage for assistance in climbing the ladder. The windshield is composed of three separate glass panels. The front panel is bullet-proof, being made of five layers of glass set in vinyl plastic. (This differs from an earlier arrangement of a curved Plexiglas enclosure with a flat glass shield mounted inside the cabin before the pilot.) Side panels are the same but with two layers of glass, are mounted in synthetic sponge rubber in an aluminum alloy frame and held in place by aluminum strips. The side windows in the cockpit enclosure fit in slots between the front shear beam and the main beam, raised and

lowered by a hand crank and locked in the raised position by a ratchet and

lowered by a hand crank and locked in the raised position by a ratchet and pawl. The cockpit hatch is a molded plastic panel fitted to a metal frame. The hatch opens aft on a hinge and incorporated in the hinge is a telescope stop. A pin and cable assembly, controlled from in or outside the hatch, locks the hatch in the down position. A red-painted emergency handle is provided in the cockpit. If hatch is released by this handle in flight it raises about 2”. Air pressure will then tear the hatch away leaving free emergency egress for the pilot. The aft canopy is made up of two plastic panels – ¼” molded sheet – set in metal frames and secured by Airloc fasteners for quick removal. These act as a cover for the radio compartment. On the underside of the fuselage is the nose gear compartment and door. The gear retracts directly aft and upward in its fully extended position and the door is automatically operated by a hydraulic cylinder connected directly to the aft end of the door. A hydraulic latching device holds the front end of the door tightly closed.

Forward Booms

The forward booms extend from the engine firewall to just forward of the coolant radiators and are jig-mated to the center section. The main landing gear and turbosupercharger


General Dimensions




Length (overall


ft 9-15/16 in



ft 10-1/8 in

Weights (lb)



Useful load


Gross weight loaded


Normal wing loading (per sq ft)


Normal power loading (per hp)


Overload gross weight


installations are contained in these sections. Stressed skin construction is used including the inside skin of the wheel wells, except for that portion of the upper surface which is exposed to the supercharger heat. This area is fabricated from .018” stainless steel. Internal construction consists of stamped aluminum bulkheads and bulb angle stringers, the bulkheads spaced about 15” on centers. As in the after booms the skin thickness is .032”. Forward booms are somewhat elliptical also, and there is no abrupt change. The main landing gear retracts aft into the wheel wells with a pendulum motion. Two doors, hinged to the lower channels of each forward boom operate automatically with the landing gear movement. A hydraulic cylinder located in the aft end of the wheel well operates the front and rear door carriage through a linkage of cables and rods.

Aft Booms

The aft booms are of semi-monocoque stressed skin type, and extend from the forward boom to the empennage boom. Carrying the coolant radiator structures on either side of each boom. Attachment of the aft booms at both ends is done with screws and stop nuts through the skin and webs, and by bolts through two fittings forged from 14ST aluminum that mate with fittings on the forward boom channels. Coolant radiator frames are supported by brackets attached to the formers. A baggage compartment is located in the right-hand aft boom. Each end of the compartment is closed off by an aluminum alloy bulkhead, the forward bulkheads retaining the aircraft data case. A similar compartment for battery stowage is in the left-hand aft boom. Access to the interior of the aft booms is through manholes on the underside. The aft booms also provide space for large oxygen supply bottles.


The pilot compartment is situated immediately forward on the main wing beam and is roomy and well arranged. Pilot has full 360° visibility through bullet-proof glass panels. Control is of the wheel type with cables carried from the three-spoke, two-third wheel to the right of the cockpit through an inverted L-shaped control column. The cannon and machine gun trigger button is located near the pilot's right thumb on the wheel and a radio switch adjacent to it. The master armament switch is mounted on the forward side of the horizontal member of the control column. Engine and propeller controls are grouped at the left while flight and engine instrument and most switches are located on the

main panel directly before the pilot. A map case and first aid kit are carried

main panel directly before the pilot. A map case and first aid kit are carried behind the seat on the right side and a flare pistol assembly is on the left. The seat is molded of plastic, and both seat and back are protected by ⅜” face hardened steel armor plate. Regulation seat belt and quick-acting shoulder harness are provided and a pilot relief tube is at the left edge of the seat. Silhouette armor plate is placed between the cockpit and the radio compartment immediately aft.


The wing group consists of the center section, two outer panels and the extreme wing tips. In the center section, a main beam and front and rear shear beams are the main structural members. The main beam is located at 35% chord and is of double web construction. It is built up of top and bottom cap strips of 24S-T aluminum extrusions and double webs which are . 064” in thickness in the cockpit section and .040” outboard. The forward section and does not extend into the outer wing

WINGS Dimensions Chord at root Chord near tip (24 ft 1 in from centerline) Incidence
Chord at root
Chord near tip (24 ft 1 in from centerline)
Dihedral (measured on face of M.B.)
Sweepback at station O
ft 9 in
ft 6 in
11' 31”
Areas (sq ft)
Less ailerons
With flaps extended
Ailerons (total)
Flaps (total)
(total) Flaps (total) 303.06 369.26 24.44 42.60 panels. It serves as a strengthening unit between the

panels. It serves as a strengthening unit between the cockpit structure and the outboard ends of the center section on each side. The extruded cap strip and web construction is used on all wing beams with the exception of the inboard front web of the main beam in the center section. Here, a built up truss section is used for added strength. Longitudinal ribs are used in the center section except between stations 17 and 68 between the main and rear shear beams, and between stations 18½ and 79½ between the main and forward shear beams. (In Lockheed production setup, stations are 1” apart from the plane's centerline.) In the aft section where the main tank is installed, rib strength is replaced by a corrugated inner skin of .040” Alclad, and in the forward section where the reserve tank is installed, hat section formers are used to give the necessary support. Outer panels, beams, main and rear shear, join the corresponding beams in the center section. While the main beam continues directly outboard, the rear shear beam runs parallel to the trailing edge of the wing to a point just outboard of the inner end of the aileron. Here it is spliced to a lighter outboard section and the load at the splice is carried through the surface structure and the ribs. The main beam in the outer panel is of single web construction with extruded top and bottom cap strips. The rear shear beam employs cap strips of bent-up sheet angles formed from 24S-T with a web of .051” sheet strengthened by irregularly spaced angle stiffeners. The main beam cap strips are formed of double reinforced L-shaped extrusions which reduce uniformly in section as they go outboard. Roughly the outer half of these caps is of sheet angles rather than extrusions. At the inboard end of the main beam in these outer panels all vertical shear is carried through a diagonal hat section to the top beam fitting, the bottom fitting securing the lower side of the wing.

Outer skin of the wing is in effect a double layer composed of a corrugated
Outer skin of the wing is in effect a double layer composed of a corrugated

Outer skin of the wing is in effect a double layer composed of a corrugated inner skin and a butt-jointed, flush riveted outer covering. Corrugations in the center section are of .064” 24S-T and the skin of .040”; on the outer panels the corrugations are of .032” material on the lower surface and .064” on the upper. Outer panel skin varies in thickness from .020” to .040”. The wing panels are skin stressed only between beams. The trailing edge section is composed of ribs and skin on the upper surface with intercostal stiffeners between the ribs. In the latest model, the leading wing edge contains shells, and is composed of chord-wise corrugations and smooth skin, with few ribs. Outer skin is attached to 14 ribs in the outer panel, the ribs being formed from 24S-T sheet varying in thickness from .025” to .040”.

Outer Wing Panels

Outer wing panels are solidly joined to the center section. The main beam fitting is a multiple-lug, pin-jointed connection at top and bottom of the beam. The center section fitting is a 14S-T aluminum forging, the outer panel fitting is forged from 4130 steel. The pins are also of 4130 steel, the upper 11/16” in diameter and the lower ⅝”. The rear shear beam is joined by steel fittings bolted together at top and bottom. For further strength, 9 upper and 9 lower bathtub fittings are provided between the two beams. These are 14S-T aluminum forgings and are carried well back into the corrugations of the inner skin for strength. They are bolted together with 7/16” high-strength, internal wrenching, tension bolts on the lower side and similar 5/16” bolts on the upper fittings.

bolts on the lower side and similar 5/16” bolts on the upper fittings. Lockheed P-38 ©2005
24.55 1.73 27.42 21.36 2.74 78.54

EMPENNAGE AREAS (Sq Ft) Elevators (inc. tab) Elevator trim tab Fins (total) Rudders (total, inc. tabs) Rudder trim tab Stabilizer (inc. elevators)


Wing flaps are Lockheed-Fowler type which roll aft and down from the trailing edge on tracks beneath the wing, extending the actual area of the wing as well as increasing lift. Relatively slow landings of highly wing-loaded aircraft are made possible because of the high lift coefficients. With the flap in a partly extended position, a large increase in lift is provided with a minimum increase in drag. This makes possible the use of these flaps for takeoff as well as for a maneuvering flap in combat. The P-38 is the first and only fighter plane equipped with this type of flap. Flaps, divided into four panels, are interconnected and operate together. They are installed in the lower wing surface between wing stations 8 and 77¼ in the center section, and between 118¾ and 180 in the outer panels. At each end they are attached to carriages that roll in tracks built into the wing structure. The carriages are linked by cables to push-pull tubes, traveling in roller brackets on the rear face of the rear shear beam. Push-pull tubes are actuated by long screws driven by a hydraulic motor housed under upper rear fuselage section.

Movable Controls All movable control surfaces are similar in construction. They are built up of

Movable Controls

All movable control surfaces are similar in construction. They are built up of ribs, stringers, and outer skin with internal spars of sheet metal angle and stamped web construction. Unlike the wings these surfaces have no corrugated inner skin. Outer skin varies in thickness from . 020” to .032” on the long horizontal stabilizer. All control surfaces are actuated by cables which run outboard from the cockpit through the center section, the tail surface cables being carried aft on pulleys.

Power Installation

The twin-engined arrangement of the P-38 was specified in the original design in 1937. At that time no single engine available would provide the horsepower needed for the performance the Army wanted. Although engines have been increased in power since then, the dual installation of the P- 38 still makes it the most powerful fighter in the world. In addition, combat reports prove conclusively that the double- powered fighter has many advantages, the greatest of which is safety. Lightnings have come home from combat

engagements on one engine so frequently that they are known as “the round-trip ticket.” It has been shown too that enemy fire most frequently enters a fighter plane through the fuselage aft of the pilot station. Since the P-38 has no fuselage aft of the wing, enemy bullets pass harmlessly through the open section between booms or enter the booms themselves where they do little damage. Locating the engines remote from the pilot and armament allowed for wide latitude in power lant installation and provided widely spaced main wheel wells for maximum tread and landing safety. This arrangement also removes from the vicinity of the pilot the hot Prestone, hot oil and much of the fuel. Such inflammables are in separate engine nacelles on each wing where a power plant fire may be dealt with by side-slipping, or isolated and extinguished. It also lessens chance of explosion in combat. One of the most important combat advantages of the twin- engine design is that it permits the concentration of all fire power in the nose. The trajectories of the fixed guns are parallel with the pilot's gunsight and maximum firepower is possible at any point directly ahead of the plane up to the

firepower is possible at any point directly ahead of the plane up to the Lockheed P-38
range of the guns. This in not true in wing installations which feature a “cone

range of the guns. This in not true in wing installations which feature a “cone of fire” for which there is only one optimum range.

Engine Mounts

Engines are mounted on forged aluminum alloy of heavy construction and of triangular shape, and bolted to fittings at the forward corners of the support bay. The bay is also of forged aluminum alloy and is joined by two large machine bolts to heavy fittings on the forward boom wheel well channels. Both the support bay and the longitudinal trusses are supported by tubular diagonal hangers bolted at their upper ends to fittings on the cross members of the forward boom.


The P-38J is powered by two, 12 cylinder, V-1710-F2, liquid-cooled Allison engines. The left propeller rotates clockwise and the right propeller counterclockwise, viewed from the front of the airplane. This counter-rotation feature results in the elimination of torque with resultant improvement in flight and ground handling characteristics. The engines are sea-level types and are constructed for adaptation of exhaust turbo supercharging to maintain full

seal-level ratings at altitude. Each engine has a self- contained, single-stage blower, with a 8.10:1 blower-gear ratio driving a 9½” diameter impeller, located in the accessory housing section in the forward boom; and an auxiliary, General Electric Type B-33, exhaust-driven turbosupercharger, mounted in the forward boom. The engines develop 40% more horsepower than the original P-38 installation. They have a bore of 5.50”, as stroke of 6” and a piston displacement of 1710 cu in. Normal rated speed is 2600 rpm or 3000 for takeoff or military needs. Their rated bhp is 1100 normal at 2600 rpm and 1600 for takeoff or combat at 3000 rpm. The propeller reduction gear ration is 2:1 and the propellers turn in opposite direction to the crankshaft rotation of the engines. Each engine weighs 1350 lb complete, is 85-9/32” long, 29- 9/32” wide and 36-11/16” high. Each engine is mounted by eight bolts .4375” in diameter and spaced 18⅜” apart. Magnetos are Scintilla double-fixed timing type and turn at 1.5 times the crankshaft speed. AC or Champion spark plugs are specified. Carburetors are Bendix-Stromberg and 100 or 100-plus octane fuel of 130 or 140 grade is used. Fuel pressure is 16-18 psi at 2200 rpm. Maximum oil consumption is approximately 15.5 qts per hour at rated power at 2600 rpm. Minimum temperature allowable for takeoff or flight is 100°F, and maximum 194°. Engine starters are of the electric-inertia type although provision is

made for emergency hand-inertia starting and a crank is mounted in the wheel well.


Propellers are Curtis, three-bladed, full-feathering, controllable pitch type. They counter-rotate out from the top of the propeller swing. On the P-38J, the blades are of a new type which give much better performance at extremely high altitudes. Props are 11'6” in diameter and are geared down 2:1 from engine rpm. Engines are cooled by ethylene glycol with a separate system for each engine. Coolant radiators are located midway of the aft booms and the temperatures of the coolant is regulated by varying the flow of air through the radiators. Hydraulic exit flaps for the radiators are automatically controlled through a temperature-reactant four-way valve. An expansion tank is provided and connected to the coolant pump inlet. An independent pressure lubrication system provides oil for each engine. AiResearch temperature regulators, two for each engine, are mounted under each engine. An automatic exit flap and electrical actuator motor control the flow of air through the regulator and a bi-metal line thermostat is installed between the regulator and the tank to control the position of the exit flap. A surge valve limits scavenger pump pressures to 45 psi or less, and an oil dilution system is provided for winterized operation. Oil tanks fabricated from 3S-O aluminum alloy are mounted on the front face of each firewall. Each tank has a total capacity of 13 gal but the normal flight capacity is 8¼ gal. A slide valve enables oil to reach the engine pump during inverted flight. While each engine has its separate fuel system, the two are interconnected through a solenoid-operated cross-feed valve so that fuel from any tank is available to either engine in the event of failure. Each system consists of s main tank, reserve tank and a drop tank and an outer wing leading edge tank. One engine primer serves both engines. All equipment used in the fuel system is treated for resistance to aromatic fuel. Main and reserve tanks are located inboard, behind the pilot station, and outboard in the center section between the fuselage and the engine nacelles. The main tank of each system consists of two interconnected units, the outboard main tank with a capacity of 62 gal and the inboard anti-surge tank with a capacity of 31 gal. These tanks are of the self-sealing type. The anti- surge tank contains the fuel gage transmitting unit and the sump. The two connecting fuel lines are fitted with flapper valves at their lower ends to prevent the fuel from flowing back into the outboard main tanks. Each reserve tank is placed between the amain beam and the front shear beam. Fuel capacity is 60 gal. The tank is divided by a chordwise rubber rib to form an anti-surge compartment at the inboard end. A flapper valve in the rib permits fuel to flow into the anti-surge chamber from the main part of the tank but prevents its return. Early experiments during the evolution of the P-38 produced the streamlined drop tanks which give it an amazing range and which have increased its military utility. The 150 gal drop tanks are suspended from bomb shackles which are hung within fairings from the main beam approximately midway between the fuselage and the booms. The bulkheads of the tanks prevent surging of the fuel from one end to the other. These tanks are formed in two halves from light steel. Two tank selector valves are located in the lower rear

fuselage compartment and manually operated controls, located on the left side of the cockpit, are connected to them by cables. Strainers and rotary fuel pumps are just forward of the valves, and other fuel pumps are located at the aft end of each engine. A recent addition to the P-38 is the conversion of the outer-wing leading edges to a compartment housing a self- sealing fuel tank of approximately 60 gal capacity in each wing. These tanks are provided with their own electrically driven fuel pumps, strainers, solenoid valves and check valves to connect them into the main fuel system just behind the engine-driven pumps. These tanks are also controlled and selected from the pilot's compartment, thus making it possible to use up to 720 gal of fuel in any desired sequence of tank flow. Air for the induction system is taken in through scoops mounted on the outboard sides of the forward booms. For desert operation, an air cleaner is mounted in the main wheel wells. By placing it in such a position, an ample sized cleaner could be used without modifying the outside shape of the plane. By means of a remote control in the cockpit, air coming through the external scoops can be diverted into the wheel well space, from which it passes through the filter and then into the turbosupercharger. Thus, filtered or non- filtered air is available at the discretion of the pilot. Under pressure from the turbosupercharger, it goes to the core-type intercooler underneath the engine, where the heat of the supercharging is removed, and is then ducted to the engine carburetor. The hydraulic system operates the main landing gear and the nose gear, the wing flaps and the coolant radiator exit flaps. Two engine-driven pumps supply and maintain a fluid pressure in the system of 1200-1350 psi. An emergency hand pump with a reserve supply of fluid is provided. The basic system reservoir is installed in the rear fuselage just aft of the radio compartment and strapped to the rear face of the bulkhead. The fluid capacity is 2.1 gal. One Pesco 349GA, self-lubricating hydraulic pump is mounted on each engine accessory drive and is driven at 1.5 times engine speed. These are gear-type pumps with a capacity of 4½ gal per min. A check valve is installed in each pump pressure line so that if one pump fails the other will still be effective, and either pump is capable of maintaining pressure in the entire system. A manually operated disk-type Purolator filter is located between the check valves and the regulator and tow integral relief valves are built into the system to prevent stoppage due to fouling of the filter element. The P-38 installation for actuating the wing flaps is a combination of hydraulic and mechanical power. The actual power is derived from a piston type hydraulic motor which drives the flaps by mechanical linkage. The motor is mounted on the flap drive gear box which is bolted to the center section aft shear beam. A four-way valve, mounted on the right-hand web of the fuselage hydraulic compartment provides control of the direction of flap travel. The main landing gear and the nose gear have separate but interconnected hydraulic systems and both are controlled by a four-way selector valve mounted on the left- hand web of the hydraulic compartment. The control shaft of the valve extends upward through the floor and is connected by cables and pulleys to the landing gear control lever on the left-hand side of the cockpit. Lockheed was one of the first manufacturers to turn to the tricycle type of gear as providing optimum conditions for ground contact and handling. With its wide tread, and with

the center of gravity well forward of the main alighting wheels, the P-38 handles so well that even inexperienced pilots have no difficulty in controlling it at high speeds of the ground. The level ground position of the plane affords the pilot the best of vision while taxiing, taking off or landing. All wheels are operated by the main hydraulic system. The gear travel is directly fore and aft about the fulcrum point. When retracted the gear is completely enclosed by flush doors hydraulically operated. Automatic locks are provided for both the up and down positions. The main landing gear assemblies are located in wells in the front section of the forward booms. The tread is 16'6” between tire centers. The wheels are magnesium castings equipped with hydraulic brakes and mounting a 36” Goodyear smooth contour tire. The assembly is comprised of an air oil type shock strut; two drag links, supported by the pivot points; a tubular steel drag strut, one end attaching to the drag links; an actuating cylinder, including a “down lock,” mounted on the engine mount support bay forward of the firewall and a hydraulically operated “up lock” attached to the inboard side of the forward boom web. The main shock struts are fabricated from X-4130 steel. Arc welded fittings are provided on the cylinder and piston for the attachment of torque arms, drag strut, and the side strut. Two doors, hinged to the lower channels of the forward boom operate automatically with the landing gear movement. A hydraulic cylinder, located in the aft end of the wheel well, operates the front and rear carriage through a linkage of cables and rods. The nose landing gear consists of a 27” tire, tube and wheel, a fork, two drag struts, cylinder and piston fabricated from X4130 steel. The gear assembly is kept in alignment, when retracted, by a mechanical centering device incorporated in the internal construction of the piston and cylinder. Alignment is maintained in the extended position by the action of shimmy amperes made up of a fluid reservoir connected with two small spring-loaded hydraulic cylinders mounted on the nose shock strut so that their pistons straddle the shock strut. The supporting bracket encircles and is free to rotate about the sock strut immediately below the drag strut attachment fitting. The aft end of each piston bears on a roller that is carried on a lug integral with the drag strut attachment fitting. Turning the wheel fork forces the piston in on the side toward which the turn is made. The piston's forward stroke is resisted by the hydraulic fluid which must be forced through a small drilled passage in the check valve, while the return stroke is free and rapid, due to the strong extension spring and the automatic opening of the check valve. Through this action an oscillating motion is resisted and progressively reduced. Noteworthy because of its design, the entire empennage consists of two booms, two vertical stabilizers, two rudders and tabs, one horizontal stabilizer and one tab-equipped elevator. The elevator is made of one panel and attaches to the horizontal stabilizer by pin-type hinges. The operating cables actuate a torque tube n each empennage boom. These torque tubes are fastened to the elevator screws. The elevator tab is located at the airplane's centerline in the trailing edge of the elevator, and attached by a hinge with a stainless steel hinge pin, which is connected to the actuating unit in the horizontal stabilizer by a push-pull tube. The inboard ends of the torque tubes are carried in bearings on the rear stabilizer spar. The torque tube balance arm, attached to the outboard end of the tube by two taper pins,

contains a bearing that slips over a pin to the empennage boom. Rudders are constructed in two sections and are interchangeable right and left. They are attached to the vertical stabilizer by hinge pins, to the torque tubes and to each other by screws. A counterbalance extends forward of the hinge line of each section. The rudder tab is attached to the rudder by a hinge with a stainless steel hinge pin, and is connected to the actuating unit by a push-pull tube. The rudder torque tube, bearings, brackets, and arms are assembled as units and are attached to the vertical stabilizer by bolts. The rudder and elevator tab installations are particularly smooth, due to the use of piano type hinges and the flush design of the push-pull control, with a minimum of external protuberance. The electrical system of the P-38 is so complex that a detailed description is outside the scope of this article. The main wiring diagram lists a total of 143 pieces of electrical equipment. The system is a 24Vdc, single-wire installation with one exception. An inverter supplies 115Vac for the fluorescent lighting on the instrument panel while the remote compass uses 26V, 400 cycle ac. Although some wiring is carried in both metal and plastic conduit, much of the system utilizes harnesses which have the advantage of lightness and accessibility. Besides the ignition systems of the engines themselves, there is the main electrical system which supplies current for the following devices: starters, intercooler actuators, the automatic oil temperature system, propellers, auxiliary fuel pumps, remote compass, panel lights, navigation lights, recognition lights, landing lights, all electric panel instruments, bomb and tank releases, armament firing, cameras, and much other equipment, including the plane's radio transmitter and receivers. The generator is a 100 amp shunt-wound type driven by the left engine. A voltage regulator in the left-hand main wheel well limits the voltage output to 28.5V, supplying constant voltage for equipment operation and for battery charging. The main switch box is located directly below the main instrument panel in the cockpit. The radio compartment is situated immediately aft of the pilot's cockpit and above the main wing beam in the aft end of the fuselage. One of two alternate installations consists of a transmitter and receiver, and a dynamotor unit which is used as transmitter and receiver plate power supply. The remote control box, radio junction box and jack box are on the right hand side of the cockpit within easy reach of the pilot and fuses are located in the junction box. The other alternate set is a multi-channel aircraft transmitting and receiving unit. It has three ranges of frequency controlled from the cockpit by separate units with ranges of 3 to 6 megacycles, 190 – 550 kilocycles, and 6 – 9.1 megacycles. The 190 – 550 kilocycle band is used as a beacon receiver to receive weather reports, etc. The other two ranges are for military use and are employed for interplane communication and similar functions. Heat is supplied by the engines for both the pilot's cockpit and the armament compartment. Hot air, heated by the right exhaust manifold, is supplied to the cockpit and windshield. An intensifier tube, located within the exhaust manifold just aft of the exhaust “Y” stack in the forward boom, directs the hot air to the butterfly control valve located on the right side of the supercharger. From the butterfly valves, 2” OD tubing passes through the main beam, entering the fuselage aft of the pilot's seat; 1¼” tubing leads forward under the pilot's

seat to a slide valve, on the right side of the center control stand. This valve directs air on the pilot's feet. A flexible hose carries hot air behind the instrument panel to a tube directing hot air on the windshield. A spot defroster tube stowed in a clip on the left side of the seat may be directed at any part of the canopy or may be clipped to the canopy behind the pilot's shoulder to direct heated air along the top of the canopy. A butterfly valve in the end of the tube controls the flow of hot air. The left engine supplies the heated air for the armament compartment. The supply system is through a series of tubes similar to those of the cockpit heating arrangement. Within the cockpit a tube passes under the pilot's seat above the fuselage floor to the forward edge of the pilot's seat. From there, it is carried under the floor along the top of the nose wheel well into the left rear of the armament compartment. The outlet is covered with a wire screen. Heat is regulated through controls by a knob on the left windshield frame. As a later modification, electric gun heaters were added, and the output of the left engine intensifier tube was directed into the cockpit. The oxygen system has been changed from the high pressure system on early P-38s to a low-pressure demand type, three-bottle system. One cylinder is located in the right boom aft of the wheel well and is accessible through a removable panel. The other two cylinders are in the left boom, one just aft of the wheel well and the other one just forward of the battery. All three cylinders are filled from the same filler coupler in the right boom on the forward side of the aft wall of the wheel well. A check valve is located in the filler line immediately preceding each bottle to prevent oxygen from escaping through the filler lines. In the left boom there is a check valve in the supply line near each bottle. In case one bottle develops a leak the check valve will prevent escape of oxygen. The pressure gage is mounted on the side control stand. A pressure signal is connected electrically to a warning lamp through the airplane electrical system. The signal is adjusted to light the lamp when cylinder pressure drops to approximately 100 psi. The warning lamp and a flow indicator are placed on the central control stand. This installation has an oxygen supply for 6 hr at 30,000 ft. At altitudes less than this the oxygen will last longer due to the automatic mixing feature of the demand regulator. A special mask incorporates an expiratory flapper valve which closes when inhaled permitting oxygen to be drawn into the mask,

opening when pilot exhales, permitting exhaled air to discharge into the atmosphere. The regulator mixes pure oxygen and cockpit air in the right proportions for varying altitudes. The P-38 is heavily armored for pilot protection. Most of the armor plate has been reduced in thickness from the original ⅜” to ¼” since actual combat tests have proved the lighter steel to be satisfactory. The armor plate is all face-hardened steel and pieces are kept small to facilitate handling and removal in the field. Each piece is attached separately in its respective place although there is some overlap to supply added protection. Ten separate pieces make up the installation on the bulkhead aft of the armament compartment which protects the pilot frontally. Two additional pieces protect the cowl just forward of the cockpit canopy and one large plate is mounted directly below the sloping bulletproof windshield. A bent plate completely covers the bottom of the pilot's seat and a flat plate is carried up the back of the seat full width to the lower line of the silhouette armor plate. This plate is mounted at the bulkhead station immediately aft of the pilot and is carried up to the top of the canopy. It is shaped to provide protection for the pilot's head and shoulders but to allow visibility to the rear over his shoulder. Various alternate gun installations have been tested on the P-38 including groupings of multiple machine guns and cannons never before used on fighter aircraft. Standard installation includes four machine guns and one cannon, although modifications are made outside the factory for special missions and for various theaters of operation. In the standard grouping there are four .50 cal, type M-2 machine guns mounted near the top of the nose. Two are placed on either side of the fuselage centerline so that the four guns follow the contour of the top of the fuselage. Type M-2 20 mm cannon is mounted on the fuselage centerline below the machine guns. Forward of the fore armament compartment bulkhead a mount is provided for the installation of a type AN N-4 gun camera. The camera is attached to a plate which incorporates a ball and socket joint attached to a bulkhead. Doors in the nose and right hand side of the nose provide access for installation, removal, service and inspection. The camera may be operated either independently or in conjunction with the guns as desired by placing the armament switch in the cockpit on “Camera” or “Combat.”

Lockheed P-38 ©2005 JL McClellan p 42 of 50
Lockheed P-38 ©2005 JL McClellan p 43 of 50
Lockheed P-38 ©2005 JL McClellan p 44 of 50
Lockheed P-38 ©2005 JL McClellan p 45 of 50
Lockheed P-38 ©2005 JL McClellan p 46 of 50
L OCKHEED F-5'S “FIREPOWER” First photo released showing camera installation in nose of Lockheed F-5
L OCKHEED F-5'S “FIREPOWER” First photo released showing camera installation in nose of Lockheed F-5

LOCKHEED F-5'S “FIREPOWER” First photo released showing camera installation in nose of Lockheed F-5 photo-reconnaissance version of Lightning. Wide variety of installations are used, with cameras having lens running from 6 to 40 in., operated singly or as group. Latest device is shutterless continuous-strip camera in which film winds past narrow slit, its speed synchronized with speed and altitude of plane. F-5's “shoot” enemy installations from roof-top to substratosphere levels. Unarmed, “Focus Cat” pilots rely on high speed and maneuverability to evade enemy fighters and flak, saving of 400 lb. having upped craft's velocity as well as range.

WORLD'S FASTEST AMBULANCE Lockheed's P-38 “Lightning” seems to have no limitations. As being demonstrated here
WORLD'S FASTEST AMBULANCE Lockheed's P-38 “Lightning” seems to have no limitations. As being demonstrated here


Lockheed's P-38 “Lightning” seems to have

no limitations. As being demonstrated here

at an AAF Pacific base it has been adapted

to carry a litter patient beneath each wing

inside modified wing fuel tanks. Tanks have

a transparent nose and tail cone is detachable for ease of handling. (Press Assn. photo)

and tail cone is detachable for ease of handling. (Press Assn. photo) Lockheed P-38 ©2005 JL


During the prosperous years following World War I, aviation caught and held the public's attention. Barnstormers, the advent of air mail, the almost routine setting and breaking of new records for performance, death- defying feats like Lindbergh's crossing of the Atlantic, Howard Hughes majestic movie Wings, and a general cultural alignment toward the visible signs of progress kept public interest high. Such an atmosphere creates a demand for information, specifically for information more detailed than can generally be found in the newpapers. That market has traditionally been filled by magazines. In the United States, two publishers who have since become among the largest, had started aviation-oriented magazines somewhat before our entry into World War I and were well placed to become major players in the market. The magazine from McGraw-Hill started life as Aviation and Aeronautical Engineering. By the mid-1920s, it was

called Aviation. From the beginning, there was attention to the engineering side of the industry. In later years, general aviation, commercial operation, both flying and support, and airports were regularly featured. At various times, there was

a varying emphasis on the military side of aviation, as well. The contribution from Ziff-Davis was Flying. At the beginning of World War II, it was titled Flying and Popular Aviation. The focus seems to have been on general aviation and commercial flying. In May, 1942, the title was changed to Flying Including Industrial Aviation, to reflect an

increasing coverage of the engineering and production of aircraft, especially military aircraft, and in June, 1944, Ziff- Davis spun off Industrial Aviation as a separate magazine. While there had been some attention paid to military aviation in the USA before December, 1941, it had not really been a major focus of American attention. There was

a broadly held attitude of isolationism and a desire not to get

involved with the squabbles developing in Europe. Episodes like the well-publicized Billy Mitchell trial, the early shows of force by the Luftwaffe in the Spanish Civil War, and the coverage of the Battle of Britain in 1940 had raised awareness of the airplane as a military tool and had begun to create a broader base of interest in the use of aircraft in warfare and in the aircraft themselves. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, Americans suddenly became very aware of and extremely interested in the airplane as a tool of modern warfare. Between May, 1943 and November, 1945, Aviation published Design Analysis articles on 15 aircraft, US, Allied and Axis. Between June, 1944 and June, 1945 Industrial Aviation published Design Analysis articles on 10 US

aircraft. There were also articles on Axis engines, Allied and Axis propellers and other accessory gear, extensive articles on how mass production of airframes was accomplished, and articles and tables on the properties of materials used in aircraft production. In addition, there were quite a few short articles introducing new airplanes which had recently been released into production, or which, in a couple of cases, had recently been captured and declassified. Engineering charts, tables and articles filled out the editorial content. These were certainly not the only magazines supplying detailed articles about well-known airplanes, but their experience and the quality of their editorial staffs, plus the fact that they were targeted at the design- and production- engineering communities, probably made them the most authoritative. Many of the Design Analysis articles were written by, or at least were credited to, Chief Engineers of the companies where the planes were designed and built. Some others, especially those analyzing non-US aircraft, were written by staff editors, who worked closely with engineering teams at the manufacturer (in the case of the Allied aircraft) or at Wright Field (in the case of the Axis aircraft.) The magazines in which these articles were originally printed have become rare. They mostly survive as bound volumes hidden away in the stacks of a large library or in a private collection. Many have been damaged by people who wanted copies of articles or illustrations. The articles and supplemental information and illustrations herein are from a set of microfilmed images of bound volumes of Aviation magazine from at least three different libraries or from a pair of bound volumes of Industiral Aviation magazine purchased from a rare-books dealer. These sources are held in the editor's collection. A great deal of detail and of contrast range is lost when a photograph is printed. More contrast range is lost when the printed page is recorded on microfilm. As a result, the quality of some of the illustrations, especially of some of the photographs, in these articles is less than we might prefer. Since the bound volumes of Aviation which were microfilmed were quite tightly bound, some of the images were distorted in filming. Little or no attempt has been made to correct these distortions. In some cases, the pages were so tightly bound that the film did not record all of the text on the page. In most cases, the missing few letters are obvious. In a very few cases, damage to the page or vagaries of the exposure left portions of the text unreadable. These have been filled in as well as possible. To the best of the editor's ability, the text is an accurate copy of the original, with a few exceptions. First, obvious typographical errors, of which there were few, have been

corrected. Some terminologies and expressions of measurement have been changed to give a consistent format across the range of articles. There have been a few changes, some deliberate and some inadvertently, in punctuation, especially in the use of commas. The consistency there is not quite so good. Finally, there may be a few errors of the type that spell checkers ignore and that sneak past the weary eyes of the proofreader. For those, we apologize. Some illustrations have been modified in size compared to their original publication form. This may have been done to improve visibility of features in the illustration or to fit into available space on the page.

Sources for this monograph:

The introductory article was originally published in the January, 1943 issue of Aviation, volume 42, number 1, by McGraw-Hill. The first Design Analysis article is from the August, 1944 issue of Aviation, volume 43, number 8. The second Design Analysis article is from the August, 1944 issue of Industrial Aviation, volume 1, number 3, by Ziff- Davis. Additional material comes from the September, 1943, May, 1944, and March, 1945 issues of Aviation and from the February, 1945, March, 1945, and July, 1945 issues of Industrial Aviation. Copyrights were assigned to the employers of the authors; articles not credited were copyright by the publishing magazine. Copyrights were for the year of publication. The compilation and this supplemental material are copyright 2005 by JL McClellan.