One of the first WWII production fighters to feature a retractable tricycle undercarriage system, the P-38 Lightning’s unique twin-tail booms and central pilot nacelle were a radical departure from conventional single-seat fighter designs of the late 1930s early 40’s.
With twin 1,600-hp Allison V-1710-111/113 liquid-cooled, super turbocharged engines on either boom driving three-bladed, 9-foot Curtiss Electric propellers, the P-38 could reach speeds in excess of 713 km/h and carried a 20 mm automatic cannon and four 12.7 mm machine guns in its nose.
It was fast and it was heavily armed but it was not an easy aircraft to master — having a tendency to intimidate USAAF pilots more familiar with sitting behind a single inline engine configuration.
At high speeds at high altitudes, early models experienced severe buffeting caused by shock waves as the aircraft approached the speed of sound. It’s complex airframe and wing profiles created pockets of low pressure that created havoc with its flight characteristics and general control.
Take off and landings were also fraught with danger, as its two counter-rotating propellers created an enormous amount of torque and if the pilot experienced an engine failure during these manoeuvres, the aircraft would often flip and crash into the ground.
Eventually designers were able to iron out the high altitude buffeting by including small dive flaps that broke up the shock waves. Pilots were also taught to reduce speed in the remaining engine when experiencing engine failure rather then increase revs which was the practice in normal multi—engine aircraft.
What pilots did like about the P-38 was its tricycle undercarriage which provided excellent taxiing and landing visibility.
Unfortunately, much like pilots of other tricycle landing gear aircraft such as the B-26 Marauder were to discover; nose wheel failure through battle damage or simply accidentally releasing the gear release lever whilst in the ground, was fairly common.
The P-38’s landing gear was hydraulically operated and controlled by a lever next to the pilots left knee. With only two positions: UP and DOWN, it was a relatively uncomplicated setup and featured a Locking Safety Arm to prevent pilots from inadvertently knocking the gear leaver whilst the aircraft was on the ground.
In early P-38’s, a small landing gear warning light on the control column inidcated if the undercarriage was in any position other than down or locked.
Perhaps in response to landing gear errors, the size of the warning light was increased and the gear warning unit was relocated to the centre of the pilot's main flying panel where it was more visible. An alarm horn was also included.
The Undercarriage Indicator Unit consisted of a Landing Gear Warning light at the top with a Test Button directly below and a Spare Bulb below that.
If the warning light came on, it indicated the landing gear was not locked in position and the pilot was trained to immediately check the aircraft’s Hydraulic Pressure gauge.
Under normal operation, the undercarriage line pressure would drop upon raising or lowering the landing gear but once locked in position, would return to a normal reading of 1300psi.
If the landing gear warning light came on and the pressure gauge sat below 1300ps,i then the pilot could be pretty certain he was about to do a wheels up landing.
This battle-worn Lockheed P-38 Lightning Undercarriage Warning Indicator still contains its Spare Bulb and the Test Button depresses as originally intended.
Mounted in its 100yr old hand crafted mango wood stand with either a highly detailed 1/72 or, larger 1/48 scale custom built model above, this is a rare opportunity to obtain an original Instrument Collectable from this iconic WWII USAAF fighter.
Complete with a detailed printed and laminated Fact Sheet detailing the item and the aircraft's history this Recovery Curios Original Aircraft Instrument Collectable would make the perfect gift for any aviation enthusiast.
This P-38 Lightning Instrument comes complete with detailed Scale Model, Mango Wood Stand & Plaque plus Printed Fact Sheet featuring photo of instrument in aircraft cockpit.
Return to P-38 Lightning MAIN PAGE
Your P-38 Lightning Landing Gear Warning Indicator, Original Recovery Curios Warbird Collectable includes:
- Original Warbird instrument
- Highly detailed hand-built and airbrushed 1/72 plastic scale model or 1/72 Die-Cast scale model of the aircraft.*
- Hand-crafted and beautifully finished 100yr, Far North Queensland Mango Wood display stand
- Detailed, 2-sided, printed and laminated Instrument Fact Sheet detailing aircraft and instrument
- Removable Magnetic Display Arm
*An upgrade to the larger and more detailed 1/48 scale model is also available in the hand-built and airbrushed plastic version for an additional $40 (Click on the 1/48 scale option)
Both the 1/72 & 1/48 scale hand-built and airbrushed plastic models are available with 'wheels & flaps up or down' and 'canopy open or closed' options with a choice of two Squadron markings and camouflage.
While the 1/72 scale Die-cast P-38 Lightning model comes with a 'wheels up or down' option, the canopy is sealed and the Squadron markings and camouflage are preset.
Upon order placement you will receive an email asking for your preferred configuration.
Your complete Recover Curios Original Instrument Collectable is securely packed and delivery normally takes between 2 - 3 weeks approx.
Did you fly, crew or maintain a P-38 Lightning or have a friend, colleague or family member who did? Check out our PERSONALISED ORIGINAL INSTRUMENT COLLECTABLE OPTION here.