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Alberta's Aviation Heritage
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Lockheed P-38 Lightning

Developed in 1937, the Lockheed P-38 Lightning was first used as a high altitude interceptor for the United States. The first prototype, later completed in 1939, was known as the XP-38. In February of that year, the XP-38 demonstrated its speed when it flew from California to New York in only seven hours.

The design of the P-38 included several firsts, namely the Allison V-1710 in-line engine, tricycle landing gear, "butt-joint flush riveted" surfaces, and extensive use of stainless steel. All of these elements combined to create an aircraft with a maximum speed of over 666.27 kilometres per hour, with a ceiling of 12,192 metres. With so many new developments, the P-38 had many challenges until the final design was complete.

With its unique twin boom construction, the P-38 Lighting went into mass production in 1942, and continued to be produced until the end of the Second World War.


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