The challenge of aircraft range and endurance exists since almost the beginning of Aviation history. Among the various systems tested to solve it, the concept of jettisonable auxiliary fuel tanks, ready to be quickly attached to an aircraft, started in 1923. It was first tested with success on Boeing MB-3A but the focus done at this time on bomber aircraft development stalled the usage of the drop tank.
It is with the Spanish Civil War and mainly the Second World War that a generalized usage associated with an industrial production really started.
Starting from these years, the omnipresence on all airfield of these tanks, make them a favorite target for imagination and recreation usage as you can discover below..
165-gallon "teardrop" auxiliary fuel tanks - also used for napalm. Marianas Island.
An improvised bathtub for this airman, with a jerrycan as shower....
It's not a jettisonable tank ! This modified tank was tested on a P-38 in order to transport wounded soldiers... Can you imagine the ride ?
The P-38 Air Ambulance in action
If you don't know which furniture will suit your living room, why you do not try these shelves ?
A Ground Crew Member Of The 94Th Fighter Squadron, 1St Fighter Group, Poses In His Self-Styled Auto Made From Salvaged Lockheed P-38 Lightning Parts Including A Fuel Tank With Wheels Added And A Plexiglass Windshield. Italy.
In Their Boat Made From Lockheed P-38 Lightning Fuel Tanks, Two Members Of The 94Th Fighter Squadron, 1St Fighter Group, Paddle About In Waters Near Their Base Somewhere In Italy.
Built From Auxiliary Gas tank of A Lockheed P-38 Fighter, This Sail boat Is Seen On One Of The Many Canals Of Kunming, China. The Builders Are Seen Enjoying A Ride. L To R Are: S/Sgt Anthony A. Garra, Weatherly, Pa., And Cpl. Vernon G. Woods, Brooks, Pa.
Another off-duty modification to the 165 gal. drop tanks utilized by P-38s and P-47s in the Pacific theater. Note the oxygen tanks as water wings.
To conclude, another modification, this time powered by sail...
....Ready for a race !