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  P-38L-5-LO Lightning Serial Number 44-26969  
USAAF

Aircraft History
Built by Lockheed Aircraft Corporation (LAC) in Burbank, California. At the factory, converted from a model L-5-LO to a F-5G-6-LO photographic reconnaissance version. One of 63 L-5 models converted to a photographic reconnaissance version. Delivered to the U. S. Army.

Postwar
On January 8, 1946 placed into storage at Kingman AZ. Sold by the War Assets Administration, Kingman, AZ, for $1,250 to Aero Exploration Co. Inc, Tulsa, OK, 1946-1948 and registered as NX53753.

During 1949, sold to Mark Hurd Aerial Surveys Mark Hurd Aerial Surveys, Minneapolis, MN/Santa Barbara, CA and registered as N503MH during March 1958. During 1968, placed into outdoor storage in Santa Barbara, CA.

During the late 1960s, acquired by Bruce L. Pruitt / Tillamook Naval Air Museum. During the 1980s to 1990s, this aircraft was restored to the original configuration during the 1990s. First flight after restoration was January 8, 1997. On December 4, 1996 registered as N7973.

On June 6, 1997 at 1715 took off from Tillamook Airport piloted by Jeff Ethell on a practice flight for an upcoming P-38 pilot convention, making several low passes. Roughly 20 minutes into the flight, this aircraft spun and crashed near Tillamook, killing Ethell on impact. The FAA Concluded the crash was due to the "Failure of the pilot to maintain minimum control speed (VMC), after loss of power in one engine, which resulted in a loss of aircraft control and collision with terrain."

Wreckage
After the FAA investigation, the wreckage was released to the insurance company. On June 7, 1997 recovered by Harry Malette / H.L.M. Air Services, Inc. and stored at their facility in Independence, Oregon. Written wreckage release was executed on December 20, 1997.

Wreckage
FAA Registration N7973
AVWeb - Close-Up: The Jeff Ethell P-38 Crash Aircraft Accident Report
Seattle Times Jeffrey Ethell Obituary
Warbird Registry - P-38L 44-26969

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Last Updated
September 25, 2018

 

Tech Info
P-38
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