Thursday, November 15, 2007

Forgotten WWII-Era American Fighter Plane Found on Beach in Wales

re: "NEW YORK — Sixty-five years after it ran out of gas and crash-landed on a beach in Wales, an American P-38 fighter plane has emerged from the surf and sand where it lay buried — a World War II relic long forgotten by the U.S. government and unknown to the British public. /During those decades, beach strollers, sunbathers and swimmers were often within a few yards of the aircraft, utterly unaware of its existence just under the sand. Only this past summer did it suddenly reappear due to unusual conditions that caused the sands to shift and erode. /The startling revelation of the Lockheed "Lightning" fighter, with its distinctive twin-boom design, has stirred considerable interest in British aviation circles and among officials of the country's aircraft museums, ready to reclaim yet another artifact from history's greatest armed conflict./ ...[...snip].../ Officially, the U.S. Air Force considers any aircraft lost before Nov. 19, 1961 — when a fire destroyed many records — as "formally abandoned," and has an interest in such cases only if human remains are involved. /The twin-engine P-38, a radical design conceived by Lockheed design genius Clarence "Kelly" Johnson in the late 1930s, became one of the war's most successful fighter planes, serving in Europe and the Pacific. Some 10,000 were built, and about 32 complete or partial airframes are believed to still exist, perhaps 10 in flying condition..."...

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