Note: This aircraft is located in the Research & Development Gallery on a controlled-access portion of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. The gallery will close until further notice beginning May 1, 2013, as part of budget reduction requirements due to sequestration.
After World War II, the AAF's quest for the world's speed record (then held by a British Gloster Meteor) brought about the creation of this specialized airplane, the P-80R. It is a high-speed variant of the standard P-80A Shooting Star, with a smaller canopy, redesigned air intakes and a shorter wing with an extended leading edge. In addition, the engine was modified, the armament removed and replaced by a fuel tank, and all drag-producing openings sealed. On June 19, 1947, at Muroc Army Air Field (now Edwards Air Force Base), Calif., Col. Albert Boyd flew the P-80R to a new world's speed record of 623.753 mph, returning the record to the United States after nearly 24 years.
The P-80R is a descendant of the original Shooting Star, the XP-80, which in 1943 was designed and built in only 143 days by a special team headed by Lockheed's Chief Research Engineer, Clarence L. "Kelly" Johnson. First flown on Jan. 8, 1944, the XP-80 was the first American airplane to sustain speeds in excess of 500 mph in level flight. Although WWII ended before any P-80s reached combat, the Shooting Star became the first American jet to enter large-scale production.
The P-80R on display is the only one built. It was shipped to the museum from Griffiss Air Force Base, N.Y., in October 1954.
SPECIFICATIONS: Span: 37 ft. Length: 34 ft. 6 in. Height: 11 ft. 4 in. Weight: 12,054 lbs. maximum Armament: None Engine: Modified Allison J-33-A-21 of 5,079 lbs. thrust (with alcohol-water injection) Crew: One Cost: $168,000 Serial number: 44-85200 C/N: 080-1223
Maximum speed: 623.753 mph Range: 1,045 miles Service ceiling: 45,000 ft.