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P-80 Shooting Star

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F-80/P-80A Shooting Star
Description
RoleSingle-seat fighter
CrewPilot
First flight 8 January 1944
ManufacturerLockheed
Dimensions
Length10.49 m 34 ft 5 in
Wingspan11.81 m 38 ft 9 in
Height3.43 m 11 ft 3 in
Wing area 22.07 m 237.6 ft
Weights
Empty3,819 kg 8,420 lb
Loaded
Maximum takeoff7646 kg 16,856 lb
Powerplant
EnginesOne Allison J33-A-35 Turbojet
Thrust 24.0 kN 5,400 lbf
Performance
Maximum speed966 km/h 600 mph
Cruise speed660 km/h mph
Range1328 km 825 miles
Service ceiling14,000 m 46,000 ft
Rate of climb m/min ft/min
Avionics
Avionics
Armament
Guns6 x .50 cal (12.7 mm) machine guns
Bombs2 x 1000 lb (450 kg) bombs
Rockets10x to 16x rockets

The Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star was the first operational jet fighter used by the United States Army Air Force. The first USAAF jet aircraft was the P-59 Airacomet.

Design work began in 1943 with the design being built around a British de Havilland H1-B turbojet. The powerplant was soon changed to a GE or Allison copy. The design was conventional, an all-metal airframe with a slim low wing and tricycle undercarriage. The first prototype, dubbed XP-80, flew on January 8, 1944 powered by a replacement Halford H1 (later named the 'Goblin') taken from the protoype de Havilland Vampire and shipped to the States after the original flight engine was accidentally destroyed. Lockheed Chief Pilot Milo Burcham was killed on October 20, 1944 while flying the second production prototype. World War II ace Richard Bong was also killed test flying a P-80.

The Shooting Star began to enter service in early 1945, and 45 had been delivered before the war ended. Only four actually made it to Europe, two to England and two to Italy, but when test pilot Major Fred Borsodi, demonstrating the P-80 in England, was killed in a crash caused by a fire in the jet engine, the type was grounded. As a result, the P-80 didn't see combat in World War 2.

After the war production continued, although the initial order for 5,000 was quickly reduced to 2,000 at a little under $100,000 each. 1,715 single-seater P-80A, B or Cs were made up to the end of production in 1950, of which 798 were P-80Cs. A modified P-80B, designated XP-80R, set a record of 623.8 mph (1003.9 km/h) on June 19, 1947. the P-80C began production in 1948 and in June the P-80C was officially renamed the F-80C.

They saw combat service in the Korean War, mainly the more powerful F-80C variant, including the first piloted jet aircraft vs. piloted jet aircraft success on November 8, 1950 when a MiG-15 was shot down. However, they were being replaced with the F-86 Sabre at this time and they were usually out-classed by the superior Russian designed aircraft. When sufficient Sabres were built the Shooting Star was soon relegated to ground attack duties.

Lockheed also produced a two-seat trainer variant with a longer fuselage, the T-33A also known as the "T-bird", which remained in production until 1959 and was produced under license in Japan and Canada. The trainer was used by more than 20 different countries. Almost 7,000 T-33s were built and some are still in service.


Related content
Related development
Similar aircraft
Designation series

XP-77 - XP-78 - XP-79 - P-80 - XP-81 - F-82 - XP-83

Related lists List of military aircraft of the United States
List of fighter aircraft
List of World War II jet aircraft


Lists of Aircraft | Aircraft manufacturers | Aircraft engines | Aircraft engine manufacturers

Airports | Airlines | Air forces | Aircraft weapons | Missiles | Timeline of aviation

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