Category: aircraft

First flight of the XP-38


Here’s the image and story from :

“Lockheed XP-38 first flew on January 27, 1939 (the “x” stands for experimental).  The pilot was 1LT Ben Kelsey, who was the co-author of the Circular Proposal X-608 to build the plane.  He suggested relocating the plane to Wright Field in Ohio for further testing.  GEN Hap Arnold approved the plan, which first included a record-breaking attempt from California to New York.  This would challenge the current transcontinental speed record, held at the time by Howard Hughes (7 hours, 26 minutes, 25 seconds). 1LT Kelsey’s cross country flight set a speed record from California to New York with a flying time of 7 hours, 2 minutes, not including stops in Amarillo, TX, and Dayton, OH, to refuel.  But the plane was wrecked on landing – it shorted the runway by a few miles and landed in a nearby golf course.  Regardless, the the Air Corps ordered 13 of the YP-38s in April 1939 for $134,284 each (the “y” designates a prototype).”

This is the beginnings of the plane that became the P-38 of World War II fame. Lockheed was located in Burbank, California, at the north edge of Los Angeles.