Note: This aircraft is located in the Research & Development Gallery on a controlled-access portion of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Click here for requirements to visit this gallery.
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.