Just Wondering; Is The P-38 Lightning The Coolest Thing Ever Made In America? Just Wondering; Is The P-38 Lightning The Coolest Thing Ever Made In America? May 14, 2012 aubuchon
8 thoughts on “Just Wondering; Is The P-38 Lightning The Coolest Thing Ever Made In America?”
If you mean cool as in looking cool, one of the coolest certainly. It sucked as a dog fighter due to some odd ball flight dynamics mostly related to what was called “tail flutter and aileron instability at low altitude. It was perfectly suited for strafing, dive bombing and reconn work.
Personally, I think the F4U Corsair was the coolest looking WWII fighter.
Top five in order: P-51, B-25, 64½ Mustang, 55 Tbird, L1049 in flight.
What an elegant statement of design following function. Pretty cool. Pretty cool… unless you were manning AA on a train fleeing Paris, limping back to Berlin. Seeing that dragon coming out of the sky, looking you over at leisure, would have had me looking for someone to surrender to.
After thinking about it for a couple of hours while fishing, I’d have to opt for any aircraft as being “the coolest thing ever made in America”.
Or anywhere else in the world for that matter. Reference MIG-29 or the SU-37. :>)
When I was working at (then) McDonnell Douglas Space Station program in Huntington Beach in the early 90’s, a couple of vintage warbirds used our building as a turn pylon during a practice session for a race. On of the birds was a P-38. Damn they were loud, and not very high above our 8 story building. Rattled everything.
My uncle trained to fly P-38s for recon in Europe during WW II. No guns, just cameras. Theory was they could out-fly and out-run anything the Germans put up.
Yeah, definitely the coolest.
re. Reference MIG-29 or the SU-37
By definition jets can’t be cool. Jet engines are the microwave ovens of aviation; recip’s are the forced air charcoal grills.
I read that a whole squadron of american pilots mutinied by refusing to fly them in N Africa cuz of the instability issues. Form definitely beat function that time.
My dad thought they were the coolest WW2 fighter, though.
Me? My very humble 2 cents is: P-47, B-17, P-51, B-25, hard to say what #5 would be. Maybe the P-40 Warhawk, just on a cool basis – not technically.
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