Winter Break Family Fun Days!
Hours and Admission Info
Become a Member
Science Innovation Hall of Fame Awards & Michigan Aviation Hall of Fame Gala
Biplane Rides (June-September)
Subscribe to AirMail E-News
Support the Air Zoo!
Become a Volunteer
Register Group Tours
Book Air Zoo Facilities
Tigers: Tracking a Legend
Lockheed P-38 Lightning (scale model)
Did You Know?
- The P-38 was conceptualized in 1936 as a twin-engine, high-altitude interceptor.
- It was designed by Clarence "Kelly" Johnson and went on to become the most successful twin-engine combat aircraft.
- In 1937, the Army Air Corps authorized building the prototype XP-38, which was delivered on January 1, 1939.
- The first flight of the prototype took place on January 27, 1939 and the first service models were delivered in June 1941.
- The P-38 primarily served in Europe and North Africa. Its long range and twin engines made it well suited to duty in the Pacific, although smaller numbers were deployed to the Pacific theater due to production limits.
- The P-38 played a vital role in Allied war efforts, helping to achieve air superiority over Africa in 1942 and 1943, supporting the invasion of Sicily, escorting B-17 and B-24 bombing runs, and bombing Romanian oil refineries.
- Many P-38s were fitted with cameras and used as reconnaissance aircraft, providing valuable intelligence data throughout the war.
- By 1944, P-38s were being phased out. By 1950, they were retired from service.