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United States' Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star fighter

Design

Design started in 1943 by Clarence L. "Kelly" Johnson.1 The goal was to have it operational in 180 days and it was completed in 143 days.1

Cockpit

The cockpit was a large teardrop style that afforded the pilot excellent views.1 In the reconnaissance version of the P-80 Shooting Star the gun sight was replaced by camera switches.1

Engine

There was a red band painted on the early models of the P-80 that signified where the turbine was, and from that point the fuselage could be removed for maintenance.1

The intakes were mounted low on the fuselage which lead to problems of foreign objects being sucked in, especially on rough runways.1

Wings

Pilots of the P-80 Shooting Stars requested that additional fuel be added to allow for greater range.1 Some models had the fuel tanks added to the wing tips, and even later models under the wings.1

Prototype

One of the prototypes was constructed in 143 days.1

Prototypes were flown at the dry lake beds at Muroc range in California.1

Production

Lockheed wanted to produce 450 P-80s a month during World War II, but the war ended before production could be ramped up.1

Variants

  • XP-80: Had a de Havilland H.1B Goblin turbojet.1
  • P-80: Had a Allison/General Electric I-40 (J33) turbojet.1
  • RF-80A: Reconnaissance version with cameras in the nose.1

Usage

Too Late for World War II

Four P-80 Shooting Stars were sent to England and Italy, two going to each.1 Unfortunately they were hours away from combat when the war in Europe ended.1

Richard Ira Bong

Richard Ira Bong, the P-38 ace, died while test flying a P-80.1

Specifications

  Lockheed XP-80 Shooting Star1
Type Jet fighter1
Crew 11
Engine (Type) de Havilland H.1B Goblin turbojet1
Thrust 2,450 lb1
Dimensions  
Span 36' 11"1
11.27 m1
Length 32' 9"1
10 m1
Height 10' 3"1
3.12 m1
Wing area 240 ft2 1
22.29 m2 1
Weight  
Empty 6,274 lb1
2,852 kg1
Loaded 9,896 lb1
4,498 kg1
Performance  
Speed - maximum 557 mph1
808 kph1
Speed - cruising 429 mph1
692 kph1
Climb from sea level 3,000'/minute1
914 m/minute1
Service ceiling 41,000'1
12,497 m1
Range 1,000 miles1
1,609 km1
Armament  
Nose 6: 12.7 mm MG1

Sources:

  1. Aircraft of WWII, General Editor: Jim Winchester, 2004
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site