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Thread: The First American Jet (1942)

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    Default The First American Jet (1942)

    Here's a pic I just added to the gallery:



    Bell XP-59A Airacomet; America's first jet fighter, 1942

    For kicks, check out this one...1945:



    Northrop YB-49; late 1945

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    the Bell XP-59A Airacomet never went into combat did it or was that the Northrop. i know that on June 5, 1948 the Northrop after being sent to the air force crashed killing its crew. did the Northrop ever make it to combat?

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    Quote Originally Posted by american sniper
    the Bell XP-59A Airacomet never went into combat did it or was that the Northrop. i know that on June 5, 1948 the Northrop after being sent to the air force crashed killing its crew. did the Northrop ever make it to combat?
    Nope. The second one crashed and then they scrapped it and there is not even any samples in museums.

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    wow ok thanks

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    Great pictures!



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    Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star

    A couple P-80'S made it to Italy before the close of the war but didn't see combat. The P-80 had a top speed of 558 mph (slightly faster than the Me262's 540 mph). The P-80's service ceiling was 45,000 feet (the Me262 had service ceiling of 37,565 feet). The P-80 was armed with six .50 caliber (12.7mm) machine guns in nose (Me262 had four 30mm Mk 108 cannon in nose). On November 10, 1950, Lieutenant Russell Brown, flying a Shooting Star, made history when he destroyed a Russian MiG-15 fighter in the world's first decisive all-jet combat.

    Some information follows that I picked up on a quick google search.

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    Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star
    http://www.aviation-history.com/lockheed/p80.html

    Few airplanes in the history of aeronautics have been as successful as the Lockheed Shooting Star. It was the first operational jet fighter in the United States when it went into service in 1945. It emerged as victor in the world's first all-jet combat, and it won the distinction of remaining in production for a full 15 years after the experimental model was first flown.

    The Army Air Force planned to build the Shooting Star in large numbers. However, only two of the machines arrived in Italy before the end of the war in Europe, and these were never used in operations. Despite the cessation of hostilities, production was continued on a reduced scale.

    When war started in Korea, F-80's were sent to the battle area to help the South Koreans. On November 10, 1950, Lieutenant Russell Brown, flying a Shooting Star, made history when he destroyed a Russian MiG-15 fighter in the world's first decisive all-jet combat.

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    P-80 Shooting Star
    http://www.warbirdsresourcegroup.org...otingstar.html

    The P-80 was the first American built jet aircraft that was produced in large quantities and was the first USAF aircraft to exceed 500 mph in level flight. Designed during WWII but arriving too late to see combat, the P-80 eventually saw combat in the Korean conflict. Redesignated F-80 in 1948, the F-80C saw extensive use in the low-level strike fighter role utilizing rockets, bombs and napalm. On Nov. 8, 1950 the F-80 reasserted its interceptor roots and a Shooting Star flown by Lt. Russell J. Brown of the 16th FIS successfully engaged in the worlds first jet on jet combat, downing a Russian-built Mig-15.

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    Jet and Rocket Aircraft WWII
    http://www.ww2guide.com/jetrock.shtml

    P-80 Shooting Star
    Developed in only 143 days, the prototype Lockheed XP-80 Shooting Star, Lulu Belle, makes its first flight on January 8, 1944 at Muroc Dry Lake (later Edwards AFB), Calif., with Milo Burcham at the controls. It is the first American fighter to exceed 500 mph in level flight. If the war had continued the Shooting Star most likely would has seen combat.

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    LOCKHEED F-80 "Shooting Star"
    http://www.fas.org/nuke/guide/usa/airdef/f-80.htm

    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 January 8, 1944. Several early P-80s were sent to Europe for demonstration, but World War II ended before the aircraft could be employed in combat. The aircraft was redesignated in 1948 when "P" for "Pursuit" was changed to "F" for "Fighter." Of 1,731 F-80s built, 798 were F-80Cs.

    Although designated 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. With the beginning of hostilities in June 1950, Warner Robins Air Logistics Center (WR-ALC) modernized F-80s assigned to federalized Air National Guard units in a crash program called "Project Hold-Off." On November 8, 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.

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    Lockheed F-80 "Shooting Star"
    http://www.wpafb.af.mil/museum/research/fighter/f80.htm
    Specs and photo gallery

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    Last edited by George Eller; 07-12-2006 at 12:39 AM.

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    Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star (cont.)


    F-80 "Shooting Star"
    http://www.globalsecurity.org/milita...raft/f-80a.htm

    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 January 8, 1944. Several early P-80s were sent to Europe for demonstration, but World War II ended before the aircraft could be employed in combat. The aircraft was redesignated in 1948 when "P" for "Pursuit" was changed to "F" for "Fighter." Of 1,731 F-80s built, 798 were F-80Cs.

    Although designated 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. With the beginning of hostilities in June 1950, Warner Robins Air Logistics Center (WR-ALC) modernized F-80s assigned to federalized Air National Guard units in a crash program called "Project Hold-Off." On November 8, 1960, 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.

    "Frantic" best describes the pace of some aircraft development programs during World War II. Surely falling into this category was the Lockheed F-80 Shooting Star program. By the summer of 1943, the poor performance of the Bell Airacomet spelled the need for the development of a new U.S. jet fighter. Lockheed had been making design studies of such an aircraft and in June 1943 was awarded a prototype development contract with the stipulation that the aircraft be ready for flight in 180 days. Completion of the aircraft actually required only 150 days, but first flight was delayed by engine problems until January 1944. The intitial contract was for one plane, at a cost of $515,000. Production of the F-80A, using a different engine (the J-33) began in 1945.

    Conventional in basic configuration, the F-80 featured an unswept wing of 13-percent thickness mounted in the low position and, unlike the twin-engine Meteor and the Me 262, had a single engine located in the fuselage behind the pilot. Air was delivered to the engine by side inlets located on the fuselage just ahead of the wing root, and the jet exhaust nozzle was at the extreme end of the fuselage. Adjacent to the fuselage side may be seen the bleed slots that removed the fuselage boundary layer from the engine intake air and thus prevented flow separation inside the inlet. No such slots were provided on the prototype, and intermittent separation did occur in the inlets. "Duct rumble" was the term used to describe this phenomenon because of the alarming noise heard by the pilot. Evident in the photograph is the deployed speed brake located on the bottom of the fuselage. Like the P-38 , the F-80 had a small dive-recovery flap near the leading edge of the lower surface of the wing. Again like later versions of the P-38, the F-80 had power-operated ailerons. The other controls were manually operated. Split trailing-edge flaps provided lift augmentation at low speeds.

    The cockpit of production models of the Shooting Star was pressurized and air-conditioned. In the prototype, no air-conditioning was provided so that the temperature resulting from a combination of the high temperatures of the California desert and sustained high Mach number flight at low altitude caused the interior surfaces of the cockpit and controls to become uncomfortably hot. For example, with an ambient temperature of 90° some parts of the aircraft would reach a temperature of 150 in prolonged flight at a Mach number of 0.73. Another advance in cockpit equipment was the ejection seat incorporated in the F-80C model of the Shooting Star. (The first successful manned test of an ejection seat took place in July 1946.)

    Although the F-80 was conventional in appearance, the aircraft was the result of a careful synthesis of weight, size, and thrust parameters, as well as close attention to aerodynamic refinement. As a consequence, it had performance far superior to that of the P-59A although the thrust-to-weight ratio of the earlier aircraft was actually about 12 percent greater than that of the F-80A. For example, the maximum sea-level speed of 558 miles per hour was 145 miles per hour greater than that of the maximum speed of the P-59A, which occurred at 30 000 feet. As seen in table V, the climbing performance of the F-80A was also far superior to that of the earlier aircraft; the much smaller wing and resultant drag area of the F-80A no doubt played a significant role in ensuring the higher performance of the Shooting Star. In comparison with the drag area of the famous World War II Mustang, the drag area of 3.2 square feet of the F-80A was about 15 percent lower than that of the earlier propeller-driven aircraft.

    The F-80 came too late for operational service in World War II, but the F-80C did see action in the Korean conflict of the early 1950's. Designed as an air-superiority fighter, the F-80 could not compete in that role with the Soviet-built MiG-15 supplied to the opposing forces by the Soviet Union. It was, however, extensively employed in the ground-attack mode. Armament consisted of six .50-caliber machine guns in the nose and externally mounted bombs and rockets.

    The F-80 was withdrawn from first-title United States Air Force (USAF) service in 1954; production of the aircraft consisted of about 1700 units. But, this is not quite the end Of the F-80 story. A two-seat trainer version of the aircraft appeared in 19-18. Known in the USAF as the T-33 and in the Navy as the T2V, over 5000 of these trainers were built; a number of them are still in service and can be seen frequently at air bases in different parts of the country. Certainly a long and useful life for an airplane developed in the closing years of World War II.

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    Last edited by George Eller; 07-12-2006 at 12:38 AM.

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    Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star (cont.)


    EARLY JET AIRCRAFT MECHANIC
    By Richard W. Kamm
    http://www.enginehistory.org/stories_&_essays_3.htm
    Extensive Article

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    P-80 and P-47 photo
    http://1000aircraftphotos.com/Contri...Brink/2267.htm

    Remarks by Jim Brink: "Taken January 1950 near Garmisch, Germany. Two P-80's of the 36th Fighter Group, Furstenfeldbruck, and two P47's of the 86th Fighter Group Munich Rheim, Germany. Taken as a publicity picture for the upcoming World Wide Gunnery Meet to be held at Nellis, AFB, Nevada.

    P-80 #42 Pilot Jim Brink, Captain of the 36th FG Gunnery Team
    P-80 #50 Ben Fithian.
    P-47 #985 Schueler, Captain of the 86th FG Gunnery Team
    P-47 #457 Gaddis

    A few months after this photo was taken, Lt. Phil Fryberger was flying my #42 when he was run into in a mid air collision by Maj. Willis flying another P-80. Phil bailed out of #42 and was uninjured on landing and Willis went back to flying the base Gooney Bird (C-47)."
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    P-80-01
    http://1000aircraftphotos.com/APS/3190.htm

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    From: The War: An Overview, Barrie Pitt
    BPC Publishing Ltd. 1966
    First Edition 1966
    Second Edition 1972
    Published by
    Marshall Cavendish Promotions Ltd. 1975

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    Last edited by George Eller; 07-12-2006 at 01:49 AM.

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    George Eller you are a textbook of info thanks for the posts!

    101st Airborne

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    Yea, I read about the P-80...pretty neat. I have yet to find any color pics taken from the WWII years. Stand by...

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    It would be interesting to see a dog fight between some of the early American jets and the Me262.



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    Quote Originally Posted by SS Tiger
    It would be interesting to see a dog fight between some of the early American jets and the Me262.
    When researching those color photos, I read that the US actually sent P-80 fighters up in a mock dogfight against Mustangs and P-38 Lightnings, but the results were so disasterous for the fighters, they never saw combat at the time. They needed more time finetuning.

    Not to mention that the jets were barely around the mid to late 400mph speeds....not much difference than the fastest piston prop fighters at the end of the war (Corsair, etc were almost pushing high 400s).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gen. Sandworm
    George Eller you are a textbook of info thanks for the posts!
    You are most welcome General

    Quote Originally Posted by ww2admin
    When researching those color photos, I read that the US actually sent P-80 fighters up in a mock dogfight against Mustangs and P-38 Lightnings, but the results were so disasterous for the fighters, they never saw combat at the time. They needed more time finetuning.
    ww2admin, I would be interested to read that. Do you have any sources? I guess as with any new system, there will be teething problems.

    Quote Originally Posted by SS Tiger
    It would be interesting to see a dog fight between some of the early American jets and the Me262.
    You might find the following interesting.

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    P-80 Shooting Star (cont. from previous page)

    Lockheed in Mid-Century
    http://www.centennialofflight.gov/es...ury/Aero15.htm
    Partial Quote:
    The Lockheed P-80 "Shooting Star" (based on the XP-80) was America's first production jet fighter and first flew in 1944. Plans had been to produce some 5,000 of the planes, but it was not ready for combat until December 1945, after the war had ended.

    (although two of the machines arrived in Italy before the end of the war in Europe, these were never used in operations)

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    F-80/T-33 History
    http://www.ccminc.com/vintage/history.html

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    Lockheed XP-80 Shooting Star
    http://www.nasm.si.edu/research/aero...kheed_xp80.htm

    Partial Quote:
    The XP-80 flew much better that the more primitive Bell XP-59. "Lulu-Belle" was not only the fastest aircraft in America at that time, but it could also climb very fast to high altitude. The XP-80 roll rate was very rapid too. By July 1944, just as Allied pilots began to encounter the first Me 262s over Europe, "Lulu-Belle" starred in a series of exercises conducted to develop tactics that American heavy bomber crews could use against attacks by jet fighters. The trials showed that enemy jet fighter pilots would much prefer rear aspect attacks. In attacking from the front, jet and bomber merged very rapidly and the enemy jet pilot had almost not time to shoot accurately. Based on these findings, AAF planners moved the formations of American fighters protecting the bombers to higher altitudes. This gave the fighter crews space to dive and gain speed on the German jets when they attacked from the bombers from behind. These tactics proved effective in fending off Me 262 attacks during the last months of the war and undoubtedly saved the lives of many American bomber crewmen.

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    Lockheed P-80A vs Messerschmitt Me 262A
    http://ourworlds.topcities.com/black...80vsme262.html

    The P-80 and the Me 262 never met in combat, but many students of aerial combat have debated what the outcome of such a battle might have been.

    The Me 262 was an amazing aircraft, well ahead of its time in many ways, but it was also an aircraft that was rushed into production before all its bugs had been worked out. In the Earth-X timeline, I suppose that some, but not all, of those problems have been fixed, making it a more reliable aircraft than it was in reality. But it still has handling problems and a slow throttle response.

    The P-80 had some development problems, also. Most notorious was the primary fuel pump that was powered by the main engine. This could cause engine failure if the auxilary pump was not engaged for take-off, as happened to several pilots, including America's top ace, MAJ Richard Bong. But the P-80 was a more advanced design that took advantage of the work done on earlier jet aircraft. It had power-boosted ailerons and a speed brake, both of which contributed to superior maneuverability. It was faster than the Me 262, though not by a lot, and it had greater range, much greater with its wingtip tanks that actually decreased its aerodynamic drag and improved its control response.

    Although the two aircraft never met in combat, they were flown in a comparison test at Wright Field after the war. According to reports from that test, the Me 262 had a speed advantage in a dive, but the P-80 was superior in all other respects. In the Earth-X timeline, I've improved the Me 262 to make it a more even contest, but in the hands of the Blackhawks, the best pilots in the world, smart money will still go on the P-80.

    See the table below for a direct comparison of the specifications and performance of the actual aircraft.



    Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star
    http://www.aviation-history.com/lockheed/p80.html
    Performance:
    Max. Speed: 558 mph (898 km/h) @ Sea Level
    Max. Speed: 492 mph (792 km/h) @ 40,000 ft (12,192 km)
    Climb Rate: 4,580 ft/min (1,396 m/min)
    Climb: 5.5 minutes to 20,000 ft (6,096 km)
    Service Ceiling: 45,000 ft (1,3716 m)

    Me 262A-1a Schwallbe (Swallow)
    http://www.ww2guide.com/jetrock.shtml#262
    Performance:
    Max. Speed: 540 mph 469 knot (870 km/h) at 19,685 ft (6000 m)
    Max. Speed: 514 mph 446 kt (827 km/h) at Sea Level
    Climb Rate: 3,937 ft/min (1200 m/min)
    Climb: 6 minutes and 48 seconds to 19,685 ft (6000 m)
    Ceiling: 37,730 ft (11500m)

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    P-80 vs. Me-262 - Which was the superior jet-fighter of WWII
    http://p214.ezboard.com/ffighterplan...cID=9123.topic
    An interesting thread and read.

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    F-80 vs ME262
    http://www.ww2aircraft.net/forum/pos...e262-1688.html
    Another thread on the topic.

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    Last edited by George Eller; 07-13-2006 at 09:01 PM.

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    Hi George,
    Thanks for that info, it was great. As for my claim that the P-80 was used in a mock dogfight with convential fighters, I was wrong. It was the Bell XP-59, not the P-80. Here's the info:

    "The performance of these airplanes, which were representative of the projected production models, was disappointing. Overweight and underpowered, they achieved a top speed, for example, of only 409 mph which was no better than the best prop-driven fighters of the day. And, indeed, in operational suitability tests during which it was flown in mock combat against P-38s, P-47s, and P-51s, it was outclassed in virtually every category by the conventional fighters. Judged not suitable for combat, the 50 production model P-59A and -B aircraft that came off the Bell assembly line were used to train America's first cadre of jet pilots. Although the performance of the Airacomet proved to be disappointing, it nevertheless served as a useful test bed to explore the potential advantages of a radical new technology and it represented a start--the first of a long series of aircraft that would make Muroc (and later Edwards Air Force Base) synonymous with the turbojet revolution in America."
    Source: http://www.edwards.af.mil/history/do...l_testing.html

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    Thanks guys, I'm glad to see I wasn't the only one who wondered which would have won in a dogfight. I wonder what the Germans would have done if the war had gone on or if the American's got the P-80 up sooner? Maybe pushed for some of thier more conceptual aircraft to be built? Like Some of the Horton stuff maybe.



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