F-80C “Shooting Star”
The Shooting Star was the first USAF aircraft to exceed 500 mph in level flight, the first American jet airplane to be manufactured in large quantities, and the first USAF jet to be used in combat. Designed in 1943, the XP-80 made its maiden flight on 8 January 1944. Several early P-80s were sent to Europe for demonstration, but WWII ended before the aircraft could be employed in combat. The aircraft was redesignated in 1948 when the “P” for “Pursuit” was changed to “F” for “Fighter”. Of 1,731 F-80s built, 798 were F-80Cs.
Although it was designed as a high-altitude interceptor, the F-80C was used extensively as a fighter-bomber in the Korean Conflict, primarily for low-level rocket, bomb, and napalm attacks against ground targets. On 8 November 1950, an F-80C flown by Lt. Russell J. Brown, flying with the 16th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron shot down a Russian-built MiG-15 in the world’s first all-jet fighter air battle.
Warner Robins Air Logistics Center (WR-ALC) performed depot maintenance on the F-80 late in the 1940s and during the Korean Conflict. With the beginning of hostilities in June 1950, WR-ALC modernized F-80s assigned to federalized Air National Guard units in a crash program called “Project Hold-Off.”
The F-80C on display is one of 16 aircraft to participate in the first overseas jet fighter deployment to Europe in 1948. Assigned to the 56th Fighter Group, 62nd Fighter Squadron, Selfridge AFB, Michigan, the aircraft is marked in the same colors as it wore during this historic deployment. It is the only remaining aircraft in existence of the original sixteen F-80s. It was recovered for display and moved to the Museum in 1984.
Span: 38 ft. 10.5 in.
Length: 34 ft. 6 in.
Height: 11 ft. 4 in.
Weight: 16,856 lbs. max.
Armament: Six .50-cal. machine guns and eight 5-inch rockets or 2,000 lbs. of bombs
Engines: Allison J33 of 5,400 lbs. thrust w/water-alcohol injection
Serial Number: 45-8357
Maximum speed: 580 mph.
Cruising speed: 437 mph.
Range: 1,090 miles
Service ceiling: 46,800 ft.