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 World War 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 National Museum of the United States Air Force has an F-80C and an XF-80B (P-80R) on display.
Prototype with British jet engine
Improved XF-80 with J-33-GE-5
Service test; one XF-80 conversion
First production USAF jet
Speed record conversion; P-80R
Modified F-80A with J-36
Improved F-80A with J-33-A
TECHNICAL NOTES (F-80C): 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