Before Glacier Girl, Lefty Gardner’s “White Lightnin'” was arguably the most famous airworthy P‑38 in America. People would make a point to attend vintage air shows just so they could see her.
Marvin L. “Lefty” Gardner
Gardner clearly had a passion, and her name was “White Lightnin.'” He lived a life filled with exciting adventures, ranging from flying behind enemy lines in World War II to aerial application of herbicides to stunning air race and air show performances in his famous White Lightnin’ P-38. He bought a mid-1944 P-38L-1-LO that had been modified into an F-5G. Gardner painted it white with red and blue trim and named it White Lightnin‘; he reworked its turbo systems and intercoolers for optimum low-altitude performance and gave it P-38F-style air intakes for better streamlining.
Lightning Struck the Earth…
Sadly, on June 25, 2001, lightning struck the earth…and this time the lightning was white and the damage was bad.
This section of our website is dedicated to Lifetime Association Member, the late Marvin L. “Lefty” Gardner and his beautiful plane, “White Lightnin’,” (P‑38L‑5, SN #44‑53254).
LEFTY GARDNER TRIBUTE – General Aviation News
You have probably heard by now that White Lightnin’ was sold to the Flying Bulls of Austria (an arm of Red Bull beverage company).
Ezell Aviation did a COMPLETE refurb on her after the crash, and she is now back to her beautiful splendor, although with a dramatically new look.
There are bunches and bunches of pictures of this beautiful P-38 available online now.
Lefty Gardner-White Lightnin
The true story of a cowboy aviator, his combat career, his association with the CAA (Confederate Air Force) and his air racing and air show events, shot over his shoulder as he flies his beautiful “White Lightnin'” P‑38. A look at the life of a Texas cropduster, as Lefty and his friends skim the mesquite in a Stearman. Cropduster songs and soundtrack alone are worth the price.
Written by our own P‑38 Association Historian, John Stanaway. Beginning operations in April 1942 with a shoestring flight of four Lockheed F‑4 Lightnings, the 8th Photo Squadron gave the American Army Air Forces its only aerial reconnaissance coverage of the Southwest Pacific.