Airworthy P-38 Lightnings, 2017
A short guide to the survivors, and how to quickly identify them.
Unnamed, 44-53254, Aircraft Guaranty Title Corp. Trustee
Unpainted fuselage, olive drab inner cowlings, red-and-white painted rudders, Red Bull nose art. This aircraft was formerly owned by the CAF and flown as White Lightning until it was sold after a forced landing. She is operated out of Salzburg, Austria, by the Red Bull company.
Glacier Girl, 41-7630, Lewis Air Legends
Olive drab fuselage and wings, pre-war national insignia, yellow identification markings. This aircraft was crashed in Greenland in 1942 on the way to England, and eventually recovered after over a decade of hunting for the “Lost Squadron.” She is based out of San Antonio, Texas.
White 33, 42-12652, WestPac Restorations
Dark green fuselage, blue propeller spinners, “33″ numbers on vertical fins and nose, white shark-tooth markings on engine nacelles. This aircraft served in New Guinea and Australia with the 475th and 8th Fighter Groups before crashing in 1944 and being written off. She is currently based out of Colorado Springs, Colorado.
23 Skidoo, 44-23314, Planes of Fame
Olive drab fuselage, yellow detailing on propeller spinners, vertical fins, and tail booms, “162″ aircraft number on fins and nose. This aircraft entered civilian hands shortly after the end of WWII and has been flown by the Planes of Fame since 1988 in various colors. She is based out of Chino, California.
44-26981, Allied Fighters
Unpainted fuselage, invasion stripes under the outer wing panels and tail booms, red propeller spinners, aircraft number 981 on the nose. This aircraft entered civilian hands in 1946, and has changed hands dozens of times since. She is based out of Sun Valley, Idaho.
Relampago, 44-27053, War Eagles Air Museum
Glossy black fuselage, silver propeller blades. This aircraft was used as an aerial surveyor after the end of WWII, before being purchased by the museum in 1994. She is based out of Santa Teresa, New Mexico.
Tangerine, 44-27083, Erickson Aircraft Collection
Olive drab upper fuselage, light grey lower fuselage, yellow detailing on propeller spinners and vertical fins, extensive nose art on both sides of the nose. This aircraft was sold into civilian hands in 1946 and restored to airworthiness in 1996. She is based out of Madras, Oregon.
44-27183, Yanks Air Museum
Unpainted except for national insignia, original F-5 camera nose fitted instead of a fighter nose. This aircraft is airworthy although not flown by the museum. She is based out of Chino, California.
Scat III, 44-27231, Fagen Fighters WWII Museum
Dark green fuselage, “W” code on inside of vertical fins, “SCAT III” nose art, red rudders. This aircraft flew as a racer post-war, before being restored in 1999. She is based out of Granite Falls, Minnesota.
Thoughts of Midnite, 44-53095, Comanche Fighters LCC
Olive drab fuselage, red band on propeller spinners, red band on tail booms, aircraft number “120″ on fins and nose, nose art of port side. This aircraft served with the Honduran Air Force postwar, before being returned to the US in 1960; she flew formerly as Putt Putt Maru. She is based out of Houston, Texas.
P-38 airframes are exceedingly rare today, although there are several under restoration for either display or airworthiness. Hopefully more of these rare fighters will return to the air again soon.