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In Stock SKU: 2455

Rare P-38 Lockheed Lightning, Briggs and Stratton B5 Engine Magneto Switch

When pilots were first introduced to the twin-engined, twin tail boomed Lockheed P-38 Lightning it was like nothing they had ever encountered before in all their flight training.

It was fast; it was powerful and it was deadly - both to the enemy and unfortunately to any inexperienced pilot who wasn’t paying attention.

Today’s trainee pilots move onto twin engined aircraft only after extensive training and flight time aboard comparatively advanced single engine aircraft and even then, it bis a slow and careful introduction.

Unfortunately many USAAF pilots, trainees and even experienced combat pilots, struggled to initially come to terms to the unique and volatile flight characteristics of the P-38.

For pilots and Lockheed’s aeronautical engineers alike - it was a steep learning curve as they found themselves having to unlearn many of the designated reactions they had been taught when dealing with conventional single and twin engined aircraft.

Lockheed’s designers had opted for an unusual outwardly counter-rotating propeller configuration which was intended to provide greater power and stability for its twin boom tails.

Losing one of two engines in any twin-engine aircraft on takeoff creates sudden drag, yawing the nose toward the dead engine and rolling the wingtip down on the side of the dead engine. 

Conventional wisdom and training in flying twin-engine aircraft when losing an engine on takeoff is to push the remaining engine to full throttle to maintain airspeed.

If a pilot did that in the P-38, regardless of which engine had failed, the resulting engine torque produced a sudden uncontrollable yawing roll, and the aircraft would flip over and hit the ground. 

Many pilots lost their lives in takeoff incidents until new procedures were taught to allow a pilot to deal with the situation by reducing power on the running engine, feathering the prop on the failed engine, and then increasing power gradually until the aircraft was in stable flight. 

The P-38’s Briggs and Stratton Engine Magneto switch was mounted directly in front of the control column at the base of the main flying panel.

Comprising two swing switches (one for each engine) it enabled the pilot to engage that engine’s starter battery or combine both in tandem. An extended Master On/Off Lever was located at the top of the Switch which could kill both engines simultaneously. 

All the Magneto Switches appear to be fully operational with all switches rotating easily between one or both battery sources and with its highly detailed, custom-built model of this iconic USAAF twin-engined fighter perched above its 100yr old Mango Wood display stand, its sure to be a treasured talking point for many generations to come.

This P-38 Lockheed Lightning Instrument comes complete with detailed Scale Model, Mango Wood Stand & Plaque plus Printed Fact Sheet featuring photo of instrument in aircraft cockpit.

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Your P-38 Lockheed Lightning, Briggs and Stratton B5 Engine Magneto Switch, Original Recovery Curios Warbird Collectable includes:

  • Original Warbird Collectable
  • Highly detailed, hand-built and airbrushed 1/72 plastic 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 for an additional $35 (Click on the 1/48 scale option)

Both the 1/72 & 1/48 scale models are available with wheels & flaps ‘up or down’ and cockjpit 'open or closed'

Your complete Recovery Curios Original Instrument Collectable is securely packed and delivery normally takes between 4 - 6 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.