Lockheed YP-80A Shooting Star

Last revised July 16, 1999

Thirteen YP-80A service test aircraft were ordered on March 10, 1944. Serials were 44-83023 through 44-83035. They were generally identical to the XP-80A and were powered by the General Electric I-40 turbojet, the production model of which was designated J33-GE-9 or -11. Armament was increased to six 0.50-in machine guns in the nose.

The USAAF wanted a photographic reconnaissance aircraft with the performance of the P-80, and, on September 23, 1944, they ordered that the second YP-80 (44-83024) be completed as an unarmed photo-recon ship. It was assigned the designation XF-14, the F designation being in the pre-1948 F-for-photographic reconnaissance series. In converting the aircraft to XF-14 configuration, the six 0.50-in machine guns in the nose of the YP-80A were taken out and replaced by a set of cameras. A window for the camera was built into the lower nose section in front of the nosewheel. The sides of the nose were left unblemished, unlike later P-80 reconnaissance models which had cameras on the side of the nose ahead of the air intakes. The career of the XF-14 was rather brief--it was destroyed on December 6, 1944 in a midair collision with a Lockheed-owned B-25 Mitchell during a test flight.

The first YP-80A took off on its maiden flight on September 13, 1944, beginning the manufacturer's trials. The trials got off to a horrible start. The third YP-80A (44-83025) crashed on its maiden flight on October 20, 1944, killing the well-known test pilot Milo Burcham.

In spite of the loss of the third YP-80A, four YP-80As were deployed to Europe in order to demonstrate their capabilities to combat crews and to help in the development of tactics to be used against Luftwaffe jet fighters. YP-80As 44-83026 and 44-83027 were shipped to England in mid-December 1944, but 44-83026 crashed on its second flight at Burtonwood, England, killing its pilot, Major Frederick Borsodi. 44-83027 was modified by Rolls-Royce to flight test the B-41, the prototype of the Nene turbojet. On November 14, 1945, it was destroyed in a crash landing after an engine failure. 44-83028 and 44-83029 were shipped to the Mediterranean. They actually flew some operational sorties, but they never encountered any enemy aircraft. Both of them fortunately managed to survive their tour of duty in Europe, but one of them crashed on August 2, 1945 after returning to the USA. The other one ended its useful life as a pilotless drone.

The remaining nine YP-80As were used for a variety of purposes, including operational evaluation and service trials. The first YP-80A was specially instrumented and was used by NACA at the Ames Aeronautical Laboratory at Moffett Field in California for high-speed diving trials. The tenth, eleventh, and twelfth YP-80As were delivered in 1945 to the 31st Fighter Squadron of the 412th Fighter Group at Bakersfield Municipal Airport in California for service tests.

Serial numbers:

44-83023	Lockheed YP-80A Shooting Star
			c/n 080-1002
44-83024	Lockheed XF-14 Shooting Star
			c/n 080-1003
			Originally YP-80A No 2, redesignated during
			production.  Destroyed in mid-air collision
			with B-25J 44-29120 near Muroc AB Dec 6, 1944.
			All crew on both planes killed.
44-83025/83035	Lockheed YP-80A Shooting Star
			c/n 080-1004/1014
			83025 crashed Oct 20, 1944 Burbank, CA, killing Milo
			83026 crashed Burtonwood, England, killing pilot
				Maj. Frederick Borsodi
			83027 fitted with Rolls-Royce Nene. Damaged beyond
				repair in accident Nov 14, 1945.


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