Rocketman on November 18, 2007, 06:27:13 pm
The question that I have is how did Lt. Roddenberry get his hands on a United States P-38 Lighting?  I would have thought that a semi-obsolesent aircraft for the time period wouldn't have been sold or borrowed to someone from another nation since it could have been used against them (the USA) at some point in the future.  They are a semi tyrannical government after all.   ???

Sean Roach on November 19, 2007, 06:27:18 pm
Doesn't Iran have some F-14's?

Rocketman on November 19, 2007, 06:41:04 pm
True, but Iran got them when the Shah of Iran was still in charge, not the nutcases that are in power now.
  Besides, nothing comparable has happened in the Roswell Texas universe that is similar to that scenerio.   ;D
« Last Edit: November 19, 2007, 06:43:28 pm by Rocketman »

enemyofthestate on November 19, 2007, 08:16:35 pm
Originally Rodenberry was flying what looks to me like an F-80 "Shooting Star" which was a state of the art jet fighter in 1945 in this timeline.   If he could get his hands on one of those, a P-38 doesn't sound at all unrealistic.

Rocketman on November 19, 2007, 10:31:50 pm
You can see a pretty good view of it on panel 22.  It's not a P-80 because the air intake is in the nose of the aircraft instead of the leading edge of the wing root, but other than that yes it does resemble a P-80.  It's sort of a hybrid P-80 with some P-84 in it.  In 1947 the P-80 was indeed state of the art while the P-38 had been around since about 1941 making it semi-obsolesent.

Steffan on November 19, 2007, 10:41:31 pm
I'd give odds it was one of those spoils-of-war planes.... captured in a "border incident" sometime back. 

You might have noticed the several Stars & Stripes on Lt. Roddenberry's original plane.    ;)

For the US Army Air Corps, the P-38 was state of the art.  It wasn't retired from active service until 1949.... and they were still building them on V-J day.  It's entirely possible that this plane was very nearly fresh out of the factory when the ownership was, um, transferred.   ;D
Is that a real poncho?  I mean, is that a Mexican poncho, or is that a Sears poncho?

-- Frank Zappa

enemyofthestate on November 20, 2007, 06:39:14 am
You can see a pretty good view of it on panel 22.  It's not a P-80 because the air intake is in the nose of the aircraft instead of the leading edge of the wing root, but other than that yes it does resemble a P-80.  It's sort of a hybrid P-80 with some P-84 in it.  In 1947 the P-80 was indeed state of the art while the P-38 had been around since about 1941 making it semi-obsolesent.
Good point,  I missed the position of the intake.  Also the position of the stabilizer is more consistent with the F84 than the F80.  I stand corrected.

OTOH, I wouldn't expect aircraft design to be exactly parallel in two timelines and without WW II and the subsequent Cold War as drivers, it could have significantly diverged by 1947.

Rocketman on November 20, 2007, 07:23:10 am
That's why it's hard to be sure of in a parallel universe.  In our timeline in 1947 the main U.S. fighter was the P-51 Mustang.  It was still in some Air National Guard units until the early 1960's.  The book "Forked Tailed Devil" by Martin Cauldin which is in my stack of paperbacks somewhere, said that at the end of WW2 that many P-38's were just simply scrapped by the military because they didn't want to keep them when they had a dirth of P-51's because of the downsizing of the U. S. military.  Just a few years later the Korean war showed the military planners just how stupid an idea that was since the Lighting was a better fighter bomber than the Mustang. :(

archy on November 20, 2007, 10:20:33 am
The question that I have is how did Lt. Roddenberry get his hands on a United States P-38 Lighting?  I would have thought that a semi-obsolesent aircraft for the time period wouldn't have been sold or borrowed to someone from another nation since it could have been used against them (the USA) at some point in the future.  They are a semi tyrannical government after all.   ???

Remember that circa 1939, Lockheed sunk some 6 million dollars of their own private money into the development of Kelly Johnson's then far-out design before the first governmental XP-38 and YP38 orders. And if Kekky Johnson and/or some of the other Lockheed engineers and designers had chosen to flee the unpleasantness in Burbank prior to the founding of the Lockheed *Skunk Works* in 1943, the following Lockheed aircraft designs more probably would have taken place wherever they relocated and set up business- The formal contract for the XP-80 did not arrive at Lockheed until October 16, 1943.

An awful lot of the US WWII aircraft development took place in California, and the emergence of the Northrop and Horton design *Flying Wings* suggests that in the RT world, some designs that were less successful in our place and time that were abandoned were better developed in the RT existance.
 
Ah'm just a lowly salesman for the Deef Smith Greeting Card Company....

John DeWitt on November 20, 2007, 10:21:36 am
I didn't question the presence of the P-38 (or whatever it is) so much as the USAF markings.  Figured the explanation would be that it was a forced-down capture, but wouldn't they have wanted to re-painted it before using it in even unofficial service to keep some friendly from firing on it?

Rocketman on November 20, 2007, 06:17:13 pm
John:
     That's what I would have thought too.  In Vietnam the early model M-16 jammed quite a bit because of the incorrect ball powder that the ordiance used so a lot of G.I.'s were carrying the AK-47 which in most respects was a better weapon.  The problem was the 7.62 x 39 round it fired made a distinctive sound.  They found that other G.I.'s were firing in the general direction of the noise and frequently shooting their own AK equipped men.  Kind of a similar situation.  ;D

Steffan on November 20, 2007, 11:30:46 pm
Good point.  I'd think it might have been a bit of hubris on the part of the air base commander... something with which to tweak the noses of visiting Damnyankees, plus a bit of advertising for the TAM.  New recruits might be more impressed if the cream of the USAF was sitting in your front yard, complete with original squadron markings.

For all we know at this point, Roddenberry himself might have been the one to capture it.   :D
Is that a real poncho?  I mean, is that a Mexican poncho, or is that a Sears poncho?

-- Frank Zappa

Rocketman on November 24, 2007, 06:48:29 pm
It's interesting to note that the armament of Roddenberry's  P-38 is four .50 cal machine guns and a 23mm cannon.  I wonder how many people reading this knew that on the original prototype P-38 in our universe carried four .50 machine guns and a 37mm cannon.   The same cannon used by the P-39 Aircobra and the P-63 Kingcobra.   ;D  ;D

enemyofthestate on November 25, 2007, 08:39:18 pm
It's interesting to note that the armament of Roddenberry's  P-38 is four .50 cal machine guns and a 23mm cannon.  I wonder how many people reading this knew that on the original prototype P-38 in our universe carried four .50 machine guns and a 37mm cannon.   The same cannon used by the P-39 Aircobra and the P-63 Kingcobra.   ;D  ;D
IIRC the original design was two 50's, two 30's and a 37mm cannon.  The 30's were upgraded to 50's when the designers realized the nose mounted guns were not limited by pattern convergence (wing mounted guns had a convergence point at about 200 to 250 yards) and were effective out to 1000 yards +  where a 30 would be almost useless.  The 37mm was downgraded to a 20mm to make up for the increased weight.

enemyofthestate on November 25, 2007, 09:31:55 pm
I came across this tidbit on the P-38 at http://www.airventuremuseum.org/collection/aircraft/Lockheed%20P-38%20Lightning.asp :

Quote
Built in 1945, this P-38 saw action as a fighter in WWII and later served as a civilian mapping platform. It came off Lockheed’s assembly line in June of 1945 as a P-38L-5-LO, serial number 44-53087; cost: $15,000. It saw brief action as a fighter and then was converted to a night-fighter, but never used in that role. When the war ended in August 1945, this plane was sent for disposal to the U.S. Army Air Force “bone yard” at Kingman, AZ. When the government offered several of its surplus aircraft for sale in early 1946, the airplane was one of 48 Lightnings sold to a single buyer for $1,250 each.

So maybe Lt. Roddenberry having a P-38 isn't as unlikely as it seems.