On June 23, 1943 General Hap Arnold approved a letter contract for Lockheed to build the XP-80. The first XP-80, nicknamed Lulubelle, was built in the security of a temporary structure thrown together in 10 days from old engine packing crates. An entire machine shop was purchased so that the tools needed to build Lulubelle would not be taken away from the Lockheed assembly line currently in wartime production. 123 men, 23 engineers and 105 shop men worked 10 hours a day, 6 days a week to build the first XP-80. The head designer was non other than the famed Clarence L. "Kelly" Johnson. On January 8, 1944, just 203 days after the contract was signed the XP-80 lifted off the dry lake bed with Milo Burcham at the controls. Lulubelle flew! Top speed was 502 mph.
On November 8, 1950, the first jet-vs-jet aerial combat took place between a P-80 Shooting Star and a MIG-15 in the area in northwest Korea later known as "MIG Alley." Several days prior to the fateful day, MIG-15 jets had been encountered by U.S. AF F-51Ds on patrol near the Yalu River area. On the afternoon of 8 November, Lt. Russell Brown piloting his Shooting Star of the 16th Fighter Squadron, outmaneuvered two attacking MIG-15s, tacked onto the tail of one of them, and poured .50 caliber fire into him until the MIG exploded. It was the first of 827 MIGs to be shot down in Korea and the first jet-vs-jet victory ever.
Ace Maker aAirshows is proud to present the T-33 Shooting Star. As America's first operational jet fighter and jet trainer, these aircraft represent a piece of American history that ushered us into a new generation, and have helped pave the way for the lives and freedom we enjoy today.
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