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View Full Version : Red Bull buys White Lightnin'



Joe
12-17-2004, 07:05 PM
The January issue of Aeroplane says Lefty Gardner's White Lightnin has been sold to Red Bull Flyers. It says the P38 has been moved to Breckenridge to be rebuilt by Nelson Ezell.

I'm glad to hear it's being rebuilt, but don't look forward to a Red Bull paint job. Just wouldn't be the same.

jarrodeu
12-17-2004, 07:07 PM
I don't think they could paint it anything else, even for sponsorship.
Jarrod

dineega
12-17-2004, 07:29 PM
I hope they have enough class to keep it White Lightnin'. I'm sad, and I sorry the Gardners had to give up on the project.
I was fortunate to see her fly.

Unregistered
12-17-2004, 08:21 PM
What a Public Realations Coup if RED BULL returned her to
Reno as White Llightning with Lefty and Son haneling the
PIC duties.
THABNKS RED BULL FOR YOUR COMITTMENT TO OUR AIR
RACE HERITAGE BY YOUR EFFORTS IN PUTTING THIS
CLASSIC BACK IN THE AIR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAFO_WSagar
12-17-2004, 10:29 PM
The January issue of Aeroplane says Lefty Gardner's White Lightnin has been sold to Red Bull Flyers. It says the P38 has been moved to Breckenridge to be rebuilt by Nelson Ezell.

I'm glad to hear it's being rebuilt, but don't look forward to a Red Bull paint job. Just wouldn't be the same.Well, this is sad in one way and good in another. The chances that Ladd would have ever been able to pull off gathering the approx. cool million that he estimated it would cost to get the airplane flyable again were pretty slim. That, and anything they could get out of the airplane was pretty much all that was left of anything that might be considered "gravy" for his mom and dad from a lifetime of self-employment and no pension plan.

When I spoke with Lefty briefly in 2003, the way he asked me if I thought the website could gather that kind of money and my answer that I had no idea, coupled with the "I thought so" look on his face, told me that it was probably only a matter of time before they just had to sell her.

It truly is sad in that I would have loved for Ladd to do what he dreamed of doing with her, that being, following in his dad's footsteps. Ladd is a great guy, obviously cut from the right cloth, and a chip off his dad's shoulder... literally...

If you haven't already, I'd strongly suggest reading the interview that I did with Ladd almost two years ago now..
CLICK HERE FOR INTERVIEW (http://www.aafo.com/racing/history/white_lightnin-1/)

It's really an up close, personal look at a unique man and his son along with a harrowing experience that nearly cost the son his life and the family their treasured airplane..

I take NO credit for the content of the interview, I sat back and listened to Ladd recount the story several times before I finally managed to get a recorder on and tape it.

If Ladd had been of the same generation as his dad, he'd have terrorized the guys on the other side during WWII, as did his beloved father, Marvin "Lefty" Gardner....

Ladd, if you read this, I'm truly sorry that it did not work, I wish I could have done more for you... At least she'll see the air again and probably in pristine condition, hopefully, always as "White Lightnin"....

I'm bummed and elated at the same time...

I REALLY feel sorry for Ladd, I wish you could have heard the excitement in his voice every time he talked about the airplane, flying in it with his dad and, finally, flying it for himself..

Wayne

Section3guy
12-18-2004, 03:33 PM
well i prayed for white lightin to fly again... i guess i got what i prayed for....what i ment was white lightin and leftey....as a team again ...any one think the guy upstairs will take my retraction serioues?

Section3guy
12-18-2004, 03:53 PM
i contacted red bull and asked a few questions...I'll probably get a standerd response.Some thing like thanks for writing red bull bla bla bla if not I'll let you guys know

rpzo
12-18-2004, 04:04 PM
Doesn't 'White Lightnin' give you wings too? :rolleyes:

Maybe a new Red Bull product?

I sincerely hope that Red Bull understands and respects the history of that airplane. If were lucky they will restore it to the way that Lefty raced it and let Ladd fly it to airshows for all to see.

Cheers,

Rick

matt
12-18-2004, 05:05 PM
i still want to see a return of sky ranger, lol

dineega
12-18-2004, 06:29 PM
My screensaver is a P-38 slideshow, and has a couple of White Lightnin' pics on it. Every time I walk past the computer room there seems to be a W.L. pic looking at me, and I keep apologizing to it. I feel bad that I didn't do more earlier.
If Santa is listening, please tell the Red Bull people to treat this wonderful piece of history, and the Gardeners, with the respect they deserve.

AirDOGGe
12-19-2004, 08:55 PM
Ah well. I'd have to say "Farewell White Lightnin". I can't see Red Bull keeping the same paint and name, since they are into self-promotion of their products.

The best I am hoping for is that they race it under any name/paint, instead of turning it into a flying billboard of some sort for airshow display purposes.

I thank my lucky stars that I got to see her fly as Lefty's baby (fond memories of watching him doing one-prop-feathered rolls and passes between races in the 80's, in defiance of the stories of the p-38's poor single engine capabilities).

Lefty, Thanks for the wonderful memories. Bless you.

AAFO_WSagar
12-20-2004, 10:27 AM
Hummn... I'm in a tough position here.. I've been asked by a family member to help keep speculation to a minimum regarding this subject, yet, by writing this message, it opens up even more speculation..

Can I ask that those of you who read this wait up a bit on writing to Red Bull directly about this, OK?

Folks who sort of live in the public eye have to take care of family business just like the rest of us, having to do it with the spotlight on you might make things more difficult and less advantagious at times..

I'll try to get something "official" after a bit but for now, would you guyz honor the request to "voluntairly" kill this thread??

Thanks in advance!
Wayne

speeddemon
12-20-2004, 11:46 AM
"voluntairly" kill this thread??


Voluntarily killing is a Type A felony in Washington State....so if you're going to do it, do it in a state that has more lenient laws.

AAFO_WSagar
12-20-2004, 12:04 PM
Voluntarily killing is a Type A felony in Washington State....so if you're going to do it, do it in a state that has more lenient laws.OMG!!! :eek: that sounds serious!

Let's see though, the server is in Texas, the company renting it is an Oregon company and the guy who runs the server is currently straddling the line, being a part owner of a home in Oregon and renting an office/apartment in Washington...

Do you think I'm gonna have to bring in Johnny Cochren on this or can you think of anyone else who knows more about the law ;)

Wayne "I'm not a perp" Saager ;)

Peashooter
12-20-2004, 12:18 PM
So often this board and others bemoan the lack of financial support for an industry -- a sport -- that we all love. Now comes another benefactor, not unlike Brietling, who provides funds to support one of our most cherished warbirds. Red Bull is operating a Lockheed Constellation in Europe and it does have a Red Bull Logo on it, but it does not have the garrish paint you might find on an unlimited acro plane. Fear not and take heart in the fact the Race 13 will fly again, and be in good hands! Peas

King
12-20-2004, 02:55 PM
www.flyingbulls.com

I don't see many garrish paint jobs on thier other aircraft. They may paint it back into wartime colors, or may be persuaded to leave it as lucky no. 13.

Let them decide, it's not OUR airplane.

tex-fan
12-20-2004, 03:40 PM
I second that motion from KING. Go to that www.flyingbulls.com web site, those are some GOOD :thumbsup: looking airplanes. Merry Christmas everyone, and happy new year from Texas.

AirDOGGe
12-20-2004, 08:50 PM
I've been asked by a family member to help keep speculation to a minimum regarding this subject

No problem. Speculation ended, even though it is entertaining to do so, with with no harm intended, of course. I wouldn't recommend anyone write RB about this without any official info to go by.

In fact, I'm glad that they will keep 'er flying, rather than let WL end up as a dormant museum queen.


Slightly off-topic, yet still RB related, there's a 6 page article at Popular mechanics about the Red Bull event at Reno 2004.

LINK:
http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/aviation/2004/12/knife_edge/


Funny thing is, the author's text on the first page would make an uninformed reader think that the Red Bull event was the hottest thing there, and all the other races (including unlimiteds) were just ho-hum.....For instance:


Normally, they sit back and watch vintage planes fly long, polite ovals in races that permit ample time for yawning. I sat in the middle of the bleachers to watch the Red Bull event, where the reaction was electric

Frankly, my view was just the opposite of his. Have you ever yawned during a heat or championship race? Sometimes I'm so excited, I have to remind myself to breath!

The RB event was fun, but gimme my unlimiteds, please!

On the plus side, Kirby Chambliss took the author for a ride around the RB course, and he gives a pretty good first-hand description of it for us bleacher-warmers... ;)

440_Magnum
12-21-2004, 01:01 PM
I thank my lucky stars that I got to see her fly as Lefty's baby (fond memories of watching him doing one-prop-feathered rolls and passes between races in the 80's, in defiance of the stories of the p-38's poor single engine capabilities).

Lefty, Thanks for the wonderful memories. Bless you.


AMEN to that. I first saw Lefty and White Lightinin' in the early 70s- I'm guessing maybe 1973 or thereabouts- at the annual airshow in San Marcos, TX. Back in those days it was held every year (not just years when money wasn't too tight) and it seemed like the old warbirds could be heard flying in and out for DAYS (probably just my memory as a kid, the show was a 2-day affair over a weekend). These days, about the only thing I ever see is the B-25 "Yellow Rose" rumbling out for an airshow appointment somewhere. I still nearly break my ankles getting outside fast enough when I hear those radials rumbling. But it was Lefty and White Lightnin' that first got me interested in airplanes, machinery, and engineering in general. Could be said that was what shaped my future career, even though I'm not in the aerospace industry I did follow through on becoming an engineer so I could build "neat stuff" even 1/10th as cool as a P-38.

440_Magnum
12-21-2004, 01:12 PM
I thank my lucky stars that I got to see her fly as Lefty's baby (fond memories of watching him doing one-prop-feathered rolls and passes between races in the 80's, in defiance of the stories of the p-38's poor single engine capabilities).

Lefty, Thanks for the wonderful memories. Bless you.


AMEN to that. I first saw Lefty and White Lightinin' in the early 70s- I'm guessing maybe 1973 or thereabouts- at the annual airshow in San Marcos, TX. Back in those days it was held every year (not just years when money wasn't too tight) and it seemed like the old warbirds could be heard flying in and out for DAYS (probably just my memory as a kid, the show was a 2-day affair over a weekend). These days, about the only thing I ever see is the B-25 "Yellow Rose" rumbling out for an airshow appointment somewhere. I still nearly break my ankles getting outside fast enough when I hear those radials rumbling. But it was Lefty and White Lightnin' that first got me interested in airplanes, machinery, and engineering in general. Could be said that was what shaped my future career, even though I'm not in the aerospace industry I did follow through on becoming an engineer so I could build "neat stuff" even 1/10th as cool as a P-38.

Air Race Addict
12-22-2004, 03:40 PM
I second that motion from KING. Go to that www.flyingbulls.com web site, those are some GOOD :thumbsup: looking airplanes. Merry Christmas everyone, and happy new year from Texas.
Yeah John, but did you catch the fact that their aircraft of note are NOT in the good ol' US of A? Like they are in Germany? Things that make you go hmmmmmmmm? Not trying to incite anything here Wayne, just an observation. I just hope they keep her here in the States. I would love to see them rebuild it and race under their sponsorship, and it could happen, but............ I'm not holding my breath. And like King says, it's their airplane. Maybe all we can hope for is that White Lightning will continue flying, wherever. :dunno: And ditto to everyone on the Merry Christmas. At least we still have Strega in our stocking. Thanks Tiger. You made my Christmas complete. :cool:
All the best for a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Unregistered
12-22-2004, 11:00 PM
The CHAMPLIN P-38 was sold to him by CECIL HARP. He isnt as well known to the "new" warbird fan but he owned several warbirds in the 70's and early 80's. You couldnt meet a nicer person CECIL

AAFO_WSagar
12-23-2004, 02:03 AM
Things that make you go hmmmmmmmm? Not trying to incite anything here Wayne, just an observation. I just hope they keep her here in the States.Understood Addicted one ;)

I'm not sure if the family is aware that all the major magazines are printing this up as gospel and a done deal.. I just got my copy of Warbirds International and they also have this story, in relatively deep detail.. I suspect, someone within the chain of events "leaked" the info but, my information, at this point is, this is not an "inked" deal yet and that too much publicity could adversely effect the deal...

By asking what I did I'm honoring a request by a friend, not being a "board nazi"...

I do promise the story, in detail, from the family, as soon as I can get it.

Thanks,
Wayne

Section3guy
12-23-2004, 07:48 AM
lol wayne is there anyone in air racing you dont know??
:worship: :worship: :worship: :worship:
keep up the good work...let us know when you can

Air Race Addict
12-23-2004, 10:58 AM
Understood Addicted one ;)
By asking what I did I'm honoring a request by a friend, not being a "board nazi"...
Thanks,
Wayne
Hey Wayne, no problem, point taken. I'll be quiet now :deal: Of course that only holds unless I think of something important in my own mind to say, HAH!
Yer welcome,
Bill

mayday51
12-23-2004, 04:45 PM
.......so Wayners,

....does "being a board nazi" mean.....


......ya tie yer shoes in litte nazi's?.....


Glad to see ya coming to speed!

AAFO_WSagar
12-23-2004, 07:40 PM
lol wayne is there anyone in air racing you dont know??
:worship: :worship: :worship: :worship:
keep up the good work...let us know when you canLOL.. yes, there are quite a few people I don't know ;)

I consider myself one of the luckiest people on the planet however, due to the fact that by quirk of fate, I've met and become friends with some of the neatest people, air racers, AND fans AND race administrators..

I hope I never come off like a "name dropper" when I mention things like "the family" in the above referenced message. I got to know one of the family quite well via many phone conversations when I agreed to help them spread the word about their cause in trying to keep the airplane in tha family and as Race 13... unfortunately, it would appear, I did not do a very good job in that publicizing, since they did not ever really get off the ground with the effort.

It was and would be a really tough hill to climb though, with the amount of money that was needed to do a really first class resto on WL...

Anyway...

I am a lucky guy who was a fan in the stands since I was in my twenties... and a neighborhood "kid at the airport fence" prior to that when I was growing up in the area. Due to moving a lot and changing schools a lot when I was a kid I never had many long term friends throughout my life.... until now and I feel blessed now. Not only can I count a great many visitors to this board as FRIENDS, again, I've made a few really good friends who are racers and crews of racers...

And I am, indeed blessed... I will post a new thread on the main board menu in a minute to tell ya why further..

Wayne

cactus187
12-08-2005, 03:38 AM
my father sylvan g. lair and vernon e. thorpe originally owned n22y and sold itto lefty in i believe 62-63. my dad is who the n number was issued to and he is still alive at 87 as we live here in yukon okla together. would like to hear from folks about this. when they had it it was polished alum.

gobeargo
12-08-2005, 12:33 PM
Looking at the redbull website it mentions that "white lighting" will be stationed at Hanger 7. Thats in Germany. Maybe they can hold out shipping her to Germany until the end of Sept 06'. One last Hurrah??? One can only hope....

Unregistered
12-08-2005, 04:19 PM
Found this in the "Remember the time" thread posted by Magnum_440...

Thought it might be at home here too...

http://p38whitelightnin.com/gallery/vid/LEFTY-384K.WMV
http://p38whitelightnin.com/gallery/vid/LEFTY-56K.WMV

Air Race Addict
12-09-2005, 12:37 PM
Looking at the redbull website it mentions that "white lighting" will be stationed at Hanger 7. Thats in Germany..........
Yup, just as I predicted. But I'm with you, I do hope they will at least let her make one more appearance at Reno with at least a performance like Lefty used to do. Of course it would be nice to see her race, but THAT would be highly unlikely and better left as a fantasy. I'm just happy that #13 will not retire as a museum piece. Red Bull flies their aircraft, right? :dunno:

cactus187
12-10-2005, 06:04 AM
i mis typed the n number on my posy 12-8-05 --i meant n25y -- still would like to hear from anyone who is familiar with n25y's early days--also from anyone who knew vernon thorpe. thanx

Race5
01-19-2006, 05:40 PM
The site is updated. I like the fact they appear to be building all of the tooling to reproduse most of the parts.

AirDOGGe
01-19-2006, 06:22 PM
UPDATE is the right word! Not only are there new pics of the reconstruction, but it appears that Ezell has a whole new website for 2006...

http://www.ezellaviation.com/p38.htm

,

matt
01-19-2006, 07:44 PM
WHOA, is that an sb2c in the "in shop" photo section?

laminar
01-19-2006, 10:50 PM
Big Ups to Redbull for preserving air race history

Chad Veich
01-20-2006, 05:16 AM
WHOA, is that an sb2c in the "in shop" photo section?

Yep, the CAF bird which Ezell put back together after the wreck that nearly destroyed the airplane.

John H
01-21-2006, 02:37 AM
i mis typed the n number on my posy 12-8-05 --i meant n25y -- still would like to hear from anyone who is familiar with n25y's early days--also from anyone who knew vernon thorpe. thanx

Search for Kevin Grantham he posts mostly on WIX and at the moment I cant remember his name there.....I think it's Lighning Historic Research.Edit.....oh well duh he has post at the top of this page under his own name as he is also an air racing historian. He has met Vern for his book on the history of civilian P-38s... called P-Screamers, I had the pleasure of having several of my pics in it. Of course Vern was killed in the crash of the CAF B-26 28 Sept, 1995.

John

Fence Sence
01-23-2006, 08:33 AM
So are they restoring it back to stock or is it going to be "White Lightning"?

Wild Bill Kelso
01-23-2006, 09:14 AM
I heard stock... That's why there is some bitterness for Red Bull buying it.

Unregistered
01-23-2006, 11:15 AM
That'S the best thing that Can happen tO ThaT airplane.

Little Pylon Guy

MRussell
01-23-2006, 02:06 PM
I heard stock... That's why there is some bitterness for Red Bull buying it.
It sucks.

Bill@Interstell
01-23-2006, 10:33 PM
It sucks.
Well maybe, but the work they are doing is first class. Sure beats bent metal. :thumbsup:

Fence Sence
01-24-2006, 10:17 AM
I'm sure they'll listen to me if I contact them and tell 'em to bring back WL right. :rolleyes: