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F-80 Shooting Star

The Shooting Star was the first U.S. Air Force aircraft to exceed 500 mph in level flight, the first American jet airplane to be manufactured in large quantities, and the first USAF jet to be used in combat.

Lockheed XP-80 prototype
Lockheed XP-80 prototype S/N 44-83020, nicknamed Lulu-Belle

Designed in 1943 and designated the XP-80, the prototype painted green made its maiden flight on January 8, 1944. The next prototypes were classified as XP-80A aircraft, followed by the YP-80A pre-production planes.

The initial production order was for 344 P-80As after USAAF acceptance in February 1945.

Like most early jets designed during World War II, and before the Allies captured German swept wing research data which showed the promise of much greater speeds, the XP-80 had straight wings similar to previous propeller-driven fighters. It was also unique in that its engine was mounted in the fuselage.

The F-80C was used extensively as a fighter-bomber in the Korean Conflict, as was the RF-80, the photo recon version.

A total of 1,715 F-80 Shooting Stars were manufactured. Variants included the T-33 trainer and the F-94 Starfire.

Technical Specifications of the F-80 Shooting Star

Air Force RF-80A Buzz Number FT-435 on apron
Air Force RF-80A Buzz Number FT-435 on apron

Armament: Six .50-cal. machine guns and eight 5-in. rockets or 2,000 lbs. bombs
Engine: Allison J-33 of 5,400 lbs. thrust (with water-alcohol injection)
Maximum speed: 580 mph
Cruising speed: 437 mph
Range: 1,090 mi.
Service ceiling: 46,800 ft.
Span: 38 ft. 10 1/2 in.
Length: 34 ft. 6 in.
Height: 11 ft. 4 in.
Weight: 16,856 lbs. maximum
Crew: One

Photographs of Surviving F-80 Shooting Stars

F-80 Shooting Star jet fighter at Eglin AFB, Florida
F-80 Shooting Star jet fighter
F-80C Shooting Star, Robins Air Force Base, Georgia
F-80C Shooting Star
F-80B Shooting Star, S/N 45-8490, Buzz Number FT-490, Castle Air Museum in California
(photo by Michael Hoschouer)
F-80 Shooting Star, S/N 45-8490, Buzz Number FT-490, Castle Air Museum in California
F-80A Shooting Star, S/N 44-84999, Buzz Number FT-999, Hill Aerospace Museum, Ogden, Utah
(photo by Michael Hoschouer)
F-80A Shooting Star, S/N 44-84999, Buzz Number FT-999, Hill Aerospace Museum, Ogden, Utah

 

 

F-80B Shooting Star, S/N 45-8612, Pima Air and Space Museum, Tucson, Arizona
(photo by Michael Hoschouer)
F-80B Shooting Star, S/N 45-8612, Pima Air and Space Museum, Tucson, Arizona
F-80C Shooting Star, S/N 49-1872, Buzz Number FT-872, Pueblo-Weisbrod Air Museum in Colorado
(photo by Michael Hoschouer)
F-80C Shooting Star, S/N 49-1872, Buzz Number FT-872, Pueblo-Weisbrod Air Museum in Colorado
F-80C Shooting Star, S/N 49-1853, Buzz Number FT-853, Veterans Memorial Square, Holloman AFB, New Mexico
(photo by Michael Hoschouer)
F-80C Shooting Star, S/N 49-1853, Buzz Number FT-853, Veterans Memorial Square, Holloman AFB, New Mexico
Air Force F-80 jets in Korea, Buzz Number FT-689 in the foreground
Air Force F-80 jets in Korea, Buzz Number FT-689 in the foreground
U.S. Air Force Lockheed F-80D Buzz Number FT-708 on apron
U.S. Air Force Lockheed F-80D Buzz Number FT-708 on apron
Lockheed Shooting Star RF-80 Buzz Number FT-364 in flight
Lockheed Shooting Star RF-80 Buzz Number FT-364 in flight
Air Force RF-80 aircraft in formation, Buzz Number FT-242 in front
Air Force RF-80 aircraft in formation, Buzz Number FT-242 in front

Historic Image of the P-80 Shooting Star from the Airplanes Online Collection

Flight of P-80 Shooting Star jet fighters, with S/N 58568, Buzz Number PN-568, in the foreground,
S/N 58589, and Buzz Number PN-590 seen in the background
Flight of P-80 Shooting Star jet fighters, with S/N 58568, Buzz Number PN-568, in the foreground