Ring Masters Flying Club

Tony Atzenhoffer's P 38

The Berkley P38 will be the first in a series of scale models that I have built over the years

I first started this model in 1960.  The model has carved booms and a carved center body with planked wings and tail sections.  The model was started two years before I got married November 24, 1962 so it took a little longer than most of my other models.


Our first son was born 2 years after and I have a picture of him crawling over my legs pulling on the props of the Lightening trying to eat a pair of pliers.

I flew the model at City Park field three times before the tragic crash.  The wires caught on some bull grass and it turned and headed straight at me until the wing caught the ground.  After the crash I packed the model away in a brown bag and kept it in the attic for the next forty years while my family grew to three children and two businesses. 

Ten years ago I became reinterested in in control line flying and built a Guillows Barnstormer from some old plans that I kept in my file.  Unfortunately the Barnstormer met the same fate as the Lightening.

After I finished the Barnstormer I opened up the brown bag and decided to rebuild the Lightening.  Inspection revealed that the left boom was damaged with parts missing and would require a complete new boom.   To make the right boom, I joined four 1/2" balsa planks and used a band saw to cut the top and sides out.  After carving the boom to specs, I split the balsa in half and hollowed out the interior. to accept the controls.  Originally I had designed a set of retracts for the P-38 and I had a special switch made to reverse the polarity of the batteries thus making the wheels go up and down.  The system worked on my first model but I was scared to try them out and the plane crashed before I tried them.

I could not find any of the parts of the outer wings.  Luckily my wife bought me a past Christmas present of a P-38 stick model so I used the wing pattern to replace the missing wing parts.  I made the rudders, stab and elevator out of solid 1/4 balsa.

The new rebuild still has the guts of the retract but I did not connect them.  I will try again on the next rebuild.

I had some expert help from my 7 year old grand daughter Hailey Taylor from Parker, Colorado.


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