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United States' Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star fighter

Design

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

Cockpit

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

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.

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

Wings

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

Prototype

One of the prototypes was constructed in 143 days.

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

Production

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

Variants

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

Usage

Too Late for World War II

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

Richard Ira Bong

Richard Ira Bong, the P-38 ace, died while test flying a P-80.

Specifications

  Lockheed XP-80 Shooting Star
Type Jet fighter
Crew 1
Engine (Type) de Havilland H.1B Goblin turbojet
Thrust 2,450 lb
Dimensions  
Span 36' 11"
11.27 m
Length 32' 9"
10 m
Height 10' 3"
3.12 m
Wing area 240 ft2
22.29 m2
Weight  
Empty 6,274 lb
2,852 kg
Loaded 9,896 lb
4,498 kg
Performance  
Speed - maximum 557 mph
808 kph
Speed - cruising 429 mph
692 kph
Climb from sea level 3,000'/minute
914 m/minute
Service ceiling 41,000'
12,497 m
Range 1,000 miles
1,609 km
Armament  
Nose 6: 12.7 mm MG

Sources:

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