Published December 11, 2008
The Shooting Star was the first American aircraft to exceed 500 mph in level flight, the first American jet airplane manufactured in large quantities and the first U.S. Air Force jet used in combat.
Designed in 1943, the XP-80 made its maiden flight on Jan. 8, 1944. (The aircraft was redesignated F-80 in 1948 when "P" for "Pursuit" was changed to "F" for "Fighter.") Four YP-80s were sent to Europe for service tests, but World War II ended before the aircraft saw combat.
Although designed as a high-altitude interceptor, the F-80C was flew as a day fighter, fighter-bomber and photo reconnaissance aircraft during the Korean War. On Nov. 8, 1950, an F-80C flown by Lt. Russell J. Brown shot down a Russian-built MiG-15 in the world's first all-jet fighter air battle.
The F-80C on display is one of the few remaining Shooting Stars that flew combat missions during the Korean War. Restored and painted as it was in 1950 while assigned to the 8th Fighter-Bomber Group, it was placed on display in 1979.
Armament: Six .50-cal. machine guns and eight 5-inch rockets or 2,000 lbs. of bombs
Engine: Allison J33 of 5,400 lbs. thrust
Maximum speed: 580 mph
Cruising speed: 437 mph
Range: 1,090 miles
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
Serial number: 49-696