BZ's 2009 Chino - P-38

Photo Gallery

These are some shots of the Lockheed P-38 Lightning from the Chino air show. The Lightning was a U.S. WWII fighter used for ground attack, photo reconnaissance, and as a long range escort fighter. With the distinctive twin booms and central cockpit nacelle, it was nicknamed the 'fork tailed devil'.
Nikon D200 w/ 70-300mm VR lens. - Bernard Zee

Here's a close up view of the cockpit area. Looks tough getting in and out of the plane through that small openning!

Lots of very interesting angles on this unique airplane.

Some of America's top aces flew the P-38, which was used most successfully against the Japanese.
Click on the control below to hear a P-38 pass!

'23 Skidoo' was the sole P-38 at the Chino air show. Here he is warming up before take off.

In case you're wondering, '23 Skidoo' is an American slang from the 20's meaning 'getting out while the getting's good'. The P-38 Armament consists of: 1 Hispano 20mm cannon, and 4 Browning 0.50 cal machine guns - all arranged in the nose, as can be seen in this picture.

Here's a shot of the P-38 at take off. Using a relatively slow shutter speed, the propellers are nicely burred! It's not a high percentage shot though... :-)

One of the most interesting exploits of the Lightning involve the interception of Admiral Yamamoto - the architect of Japan's naval strategy in the Pacific. When the American code breakers found out that Yamamoto was flying to Bougainville Island for an inspection, they sent 16 P-38 Lightnings to get him. The P-38s flew from Guadalcanal a distance of 435 miles, staying just a few feet above the waves, to intercept Yamanoto's 2 Betty bomber transports and their 6 escort Zeros just as they arrive. Both Bettys were shot down, and Yamamoto killed in that attack.

The P-38 also served in the European theater - but it didn't fare as well there due to not very well developed tactics of use.

Where the P-38 shone was in the Pacific theater - where its excellent performance and long range was ideally suited. While the P-38 could not out maneuver the Zero, its speed and rate of climb gave the American pilots the option to fight or run.

Each of the Allison V-1710 liquid cooled turbosupercharged V-12 engines could put out 1725 hp. Maximum speed of P-38 is 443 mph. Here's the pilot checking things out before the flight.

BZ Chino 2009 Gallery Index