Two significant restoration houses have joined forces in Australia to restore a Lockheed P-38G Lightning to airworthy condition. The aircraft, 42-12847, was recovered from its WW-II crash site in Papua New Guinea by a team led by Robert Greinert of Sydney who is engaged in the restoration of another Lightning, P-38F 42-12647, for the PNG National Museum. Robert has teamed up with Murray Griffiths' Wangaratta, Victoria based Precision Aerospace organisation to rebuild the flyable Lightning and in the process, Murray has undertaken to provide newly milled spar caps and other airframe structures to the National Museum P-38 restoration program so that the two rebuilds can both benefit from an economy of sale.
This latest P-38 restoration project is seen being loaded on 22nd April for transport to Wangaratta where work will commence immediately on returning this combat veteran to airworthiness.
Approximately three dozen P-38s are known to survive of the 9,942 built with just a handful still flying actively. We hope that other P-38s recoveries will take place in PNG over the next few years as the remaining wrecks in the Pacific Islands continue to deteriorate and it is only a matter of time before the remaining wrecks are nothing more than a memory. Another initiative, this time in the Philippines, will hopefully yield more P-38 wrecks in the near future as efforts are made to recover some of the dozens of Lightnings that were dumped around Clark Field at the end of the war. Let us hope that all these efforts of this charismatic twin boomed fighter in the years ahead.