World War 2 Aircraft Logo
Home » USA » Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star

Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star

Aircraft Lists

In 1944 the US Army Air Force began gunnery trials in Nevada with the Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star; this design promised to revolutionise air warfare. The P-80 was the first fully operational type in the US to have a jet engine - an innovation already familiar to German and British scientists. The US rushed four P-80s to Europe - two each to England and Italy and they were hours from entering combat when World War II ended.

Work on the P-80 began in 1943 when famous engineer Clarence L. ('Kelly') Johson persuaded his bosses at Lockheed to attempt to build the USAAF's first operational jet fighter in just 180 days. They actually completed the pace-setting first P-80 in 143 days.

The P-80 was a clean design with straight wings and tail surfaces and a tricycle landing gear. Air intakes positioned on the lower fuselage forward of the wing leading edge fed the British-designed de Havilland H.1B turbojet, which was replaced in production examples by the Allison/General Electric I-40 (J33).

Many pilots with propeller experience took to the jet-powered P-80 with enormous enthusiasm. An ambitious programmed progressed toward the goal of getting the Shooting Star into combat.

Several P-80s were lost in tragis mishaps but the aircraft performed well and the USAAF moved rapidly to finalise the configuration of this fighter and to develop a photo reconnaissance version. Had World War II lasted weeks longer, it is certain that the P-80 Shooting Star would have done battle with the top fighters developed by the Axis, including Germany's much-vaunted Messershmitt Me 262.


Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star

Graceful lines of Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star to be used as fighter testing Shooting for success Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star
Before the additional of wingtip tanks and essential service equipment, the Shooting Star was one of the most elegant aircraft ever produced by Lockheed. Pilots marvelled at the design. Known as Lulu Belle, this P-80 was flown against the conventionally powered fighters of the period to explore jet tactics. Having just completed another test flight, an early P-80 is seen parked on one of Muroc's dry lakebeds. A major debrief followed each flight.

Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star (Technical Specification)
Role Single-seat jet fighter
Manufacturer Lockheed
Maximum Speed 808 kmh (557 mph)
Maximum Range 1,609 km (1,000 miles)
Ceiling 12,497 meters (41,000 feet)
Maximum Takeoff

2,852 kg (6,274 lbs)
4,498 kg (9,896 lbs)
Wing Area

11.27 meters (36 ft 11 in)
10.00 meters (32 ft 9 in)
3.12 meters (10 ft 3 in)
22.29 square meters (240 sq ft)
Engines One de Havilland H.1B Goblin turbojet which provides 10.9 kN (2,450 lbs) thrust
Armament Six 12.7 mm (0.50 cal) nose mounted machine-guns

Photo Gallery

Click here to submit your photo

Have A Passion For Aircraft?
Subscribe to our 14 series FREE newsletter
delivered weekly on World War 2 Aircraft factfile...
NB:- We hate spam as much as you do, so your email address will NEVER be shared with or sold to anyone else. That's a Guarantee.

Best 10 Aircraft   Top 10 Favorites   United States   Germany   Great Britain   Japan   Russia  
Italy   Model Gallery   Resources   Contact Us   Guestbook  
Copyright © All rights reserved. Reproduction is prohibited.