P-80 Shooting Star

First US jet fighter Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star from World War II.
History, development, service, specifications, pictures and 3D model.

Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star
Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star. This is a surviving trainer T-33.

Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star.
Type: US jet fighter.


The Lockheed company was starting early with the development of a jet fighter. Although, the first draft was rejected, but nevertheless the Lockheed team had continued on this project.
During one of his visits at Wright Field, the former technical trial center of the USAAF, Clarence L. Johnson from the Lockheed company was asked if he could develop a jet fighter with one of the new British jet engines.
Within a few days the first drawing sketches were done, and in June 1943 Johnson was ordered by the USAAF to continue with the work on the Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star.
On the farthest edge of airfield from the Lockheed plant in Burbank, California, a building was erected for this project.

After the contract, Johnson and his team had exactly 180 days to design, build and start with flight tests for the XP-80. The men were finish earlier: after 143 days the aircraft was ready for flight tests.
But the first flight was delayed, because the jet engines were not available. And so it took until January 8, 1944, before Lockheeds chief test pilot Milo Burcham could start the XP-80 the first time from the desert of California.

But now Lockheed had to start again nearly from scratch, because it was decided that the P-80 should become the new General Electric I-40 jet engines. They were also based on a British design. Back at Burbank, Johnson and his team went on to revise the design. 139 days later, the new prototype with des designation XP-80A was ready.

The first flight took place on June 11, 1944, and until the end of WW2 a total of 45 jet fighters of the Lockheed P80 Shooting Star were delivered to the USAAF.
Some of them were used operational from bases in Britain and two of them were used under combat conditions in Italy since January 1945. However, but they were held back everywhere, where it could have come to air combat with enemy planes.


But in the following Korean War from 1950 on, the Lockheed F-80C Shooting Stars had the burden of fighting at the beginning and were flown over 15,000 missions in the first four months. The shot down of the first MiG-15 on November 8, 1950, by a Shooting Star is considered the first aerial combat victory between two jet fighters.
Overall, 1718 Shooting Star were produced.

The T-33, which was developed from the Shooting Star, was the first jet trainer in history and was used for twenty years around the world. From the T-33 Lockheed build 5,820 and in Canada another 656 were produced for the post-war Japanese air force.

3D Model of Jet trainer version from Lockheed Shooting Star (T-33 A)

Specifications Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star


Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star Specification
TypeJet fighter
Power plant one Allison J33-9 turbojet with 4,607 lb
Wing span38 ft 10.5 in
Length overall33 ft 4.5 in
Height overall11 ft 7.75 in
Weight empty 8,245 lb
Weight loaded 15,346 lb
Maximum speed 500 mph (XP-80), 590 mph (F-80C)
Initial climb 5,000 ft/min.
Service ceiling 48,000 ft
Range 1,100 miles


Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star Specification
under nose 4 x 0.50in machine guns

Service statistics:

Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star figures
First flight XP-808 January 1944
Service deliveryOctober 1944
Final delivery1959
Production figures 45 during WW2; total: 1,718

References and literature

Das große Buch der Luftkämpfe (Ian Parsons)
Düsen-Kampfflugzeuge (David A. Anderton, John Batchelor)
Kampfflugzeuge (Bill Gunston)
Militärflugzeuge der Gegenwart aus aller Welt (Buch und Zeit Verlagsgesellschaft mbH, Köln)

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2 thoughts on “P-80 Shooting Star”

  1. strange story, my dad was in the pacific during ww2. he told me a story that in the last few days of the war and they were
    coming back from patrol they came under attack from 2 japanese fighters. they were in some serious trouble.he said and he will never forget it that they heard a strange noise and out of nowhere came an american jet that ran off the attackers. came back over tipped his wings and was gone. they had never seen an american jet till then. i believe my dad ,he never told war stories. iv looked but cant find any confirmation that the p80 was active in the pacific. any thoughts

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