Lockheed P-38 Lightning (oz10687)


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About this Plan

Lockheed P-38 Lightning. Control line scale model twin-boom fighter.

Quote: "World War II Lockheed Lightning P-38 Returns as Control Line Scale Model.

One of the most versatile warplanes of World War II was the famous Lockheed P-38. Originally designed as an interceptor in 1939, this unusual plane served as a fighter, skip-bomber, camera plane, fighter-bomber, tank buster, ground strafe, rocket carrier, and even as an ambulance plane with two modified drop tanks attached under its wings. Its distinctive twin booms quickly identified the speedy fighter on the battlefront and won it many enemy nicknames such as 'Forktailed devil' and 'two planes, one pilot.'

The Lightning shares the record for length of continuous war service only with the venerable B-17 bomber, having served from start to finish of World War II. In 1939 it established a US Trans-continental west to east speed record thereby making its debut in grand style.

In the long years of its wartime service the Lightning went through continual improvements to keep abreast of combat requirements. In its last version, the P-38 mounted rockets with the firepower equal to the broadside from a cruiser, had a bomb capacity greater than that of an early Flying Fortress bomber and carried more weight in fuel than the weight of a typical Japanese fighter plane!

Lockheed's P-38 was the first fighting plane to pass the 400 mile an hour mark and the first to encounter the phenomenon of compressibility as the speed of sound was approached. The speed of the P-38L, which was the last version, was 425 miles per hour and it was powered by two Allison V-1710-F30 engines of 1475 horsepower each. Ceiling of the P-38L was over 40,000 feet. Gross weight was 16,255 pounds and range was over 3,000 miles. An amazing trans-Atlantic flight by the P-38 was accomplished when scores of P-38s equipped with auxiliary dropable gas tanks, made the mass crossing to strike at Rommel's armor in North Africa!

A P-38 Lightning was the first American fighter to shoot down a German plane in World War II. This was a Focke-Wulf brought down over Iceland minutes after the United States declared war on Germany. Many more enemy planes fell to earth due to the four 50 calibre machine guns clustered around the 20 mm cannon in the nose of the 10,000 Lightnings that were built.

One thousand Lightnings were constructed as photo-reconnaissance planes. Before the invasion of Italy pilots of the swift, unarmed P-38 'Photo-Joes,' designated F-4 and F-5, mapped approximately 80 per cent of that country, in addition to a deep stretch of coast from north-west Italy to the Spanish border, in less than six weeks!

Lightnings shot down more enemy planes in the Pacific than any other American fighter. The late Major Richard Bong who downed 40 enemy planes, more than any other American pilot, flew only Lightnings. Three other of America's top aces also were Lightning pilots.

The author wishes to express his appreciation to Pat Frangella, Erik Miller, Richard Bean and the Lockheed Aircraft Corp for their kind cooperation which made this article possible.

Our model of the famous P-38L Lightning is constructed to a scale of equals one foot and can be powered by any two glow plug or diesel engines of from .14 to .23 cubic inch displacement.

Recently many twin engine models have been fitted with one engine only. In a single engine installation a .29 or 35 cubic inch engine should be used. We found that the model can take off and fly slowly yet be under complete control with only one of the two installed engines operating. Our model was fitted with OK Cub .14 engines and the ready to fly weight ix 34 ounces.

The prototype model Lightining is fitted with a Victor Stanzel Mono-Line control system, A Stanzel worm type class B Speed Master control unit was installed in the wing and the model was flown on one line of .020 inch diameter music wire, 100 feet long! This produced excellent control characteristics. The reader may be lifting his eyebrows or shaking his head at this but it is quite safe because the Mono-Line control system does not depend on line tension for control. The control line can slacken and the model can still remain under perfect control. In addition, the control system is self neutralizing thereby always returning the elevator to the neutral position when the controls are not being actuated. The author has constructed and flown several Mono-Line equipped models during the past few years (see Air Trails, June 1952) and all have been very successful.

Construction of our P-38L begins with the wing. Cut the spar halves from very hard sheet balsa and join these by means of the two plywood joiners. Use plenty of cement and clamp the joiners against the spars until the cement dries thoroughly. Trace the wing ribs onto medium sheet balsa and cut to shape. These should then be well cemented to each side of the spar. Hold in place with straight pins until the cement is thoroughly dry, then recentent all the joints.

The Mono-Line worm type speed unit can be now installed. This should be firmly screwed to a hardwood mount and the mount should then be very securely cemented to the spar as shown in the top view of the wing. Notice that the unit is angled toward the rear slightly.

It is suggested that the control rod length be cut about two inches oversize. Bend the forward end up about 1/4 in and slip it through the hole in the bellcrank. Solder a washer onto the bellcrank pin to hold it in place on the control rod..."

Quote: "Good day! Here are a set of Hobby Helpers plans for the P-38 Lightning (#1256B) with a 40 in wing span for twin .14 to .23 engines. I came across these in an estate sale, so unfortunately I don’t have much supporting information. I hope they find value with some of your followers! Keith"

Direct submission to Outerzone.

Update 07/12/2018: Added article, thanks to Edubarca.

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