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F-80 C "Shooting Star" (Lockheed)

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The Shooting Star was the first USAF 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. Designed in 1943, the XP-80 made its maiden flight on Jan. 8, 1944. Several early P-80s were sent to Europe for demonstration, but WW II ended before the aircraft could be employed in combat. (The aircraft was redesignated in 1948 when "P" for "Pursuit" was changed to "F" for "Fighter.") Of 1,731 F-80s built, 798 were F-80Cs.

Although it was designed as a high-altitude interceptor, the F-80C was used extensively as a fighter-bomber in the Korean Conflict, primarily for low-level rocket, bomb and napalm attacks against ground targets. On Nov. 8, 1950, an F-80C flown by Lt. Russell J. Brown, flying with the 16th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron, shot down a Russian-built MiG-15 in the world's first all-jet fighter air battle.

The F-80C on display is one of the few remaining Shooting Stars which flew combat missions during the Korean Conflict. It is painted in the markings of a unit to which it was assigned in 1950, the 8th Fighter-Bomber Group. After service in the Uraguayan Air Force during the 1960s, it was transferred to the USAF Museum in Dec. 1970, where it was restored and then placed on display in 1979.

Courtesy United States Air Force Museum

 

SPECIFICATIONS

Span: 38 ft. 10 1/2 in.
Length: 34 ft. 6 in.
Height: 11 ft. 4 in.
Weight: 16,856 lbs. max.

Armament

Six .50-cal. machine guns and eight 5 in. rockets or 2,000 lbs. bombs
Engine: Allison J33 of 5,400 lbs. thrust (with water-alcohol injection)
Cost: $93,456
Serial number: 49-696
C/N: 080-2444

PERFORMANCE

Maximum speed: 580 mph.
Cruising speed: 437 mph.
Range: 1,090 miles
Service Ceiling: 46,800 ft.

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