In the third installment of an unplanned series on the navalized Lockheed P-80A, Serial No. 1028/Navy Serial 29668, we present a U.S. Naval Air Test Center (NATC) report dating from June 23, 1947 on flight tests of the Shooting Star as an overload fighter with wing tip auxiliary fuel tanks installed—project TED No. PTR 1116. I had scanned this report several years back and forgotten about it until accidentally coming across it while searching for another subject; it’s amazing how well-documented this obscure P-80A has become.
According to the introductory summary, the report was limited to performance and flight handling characteristics of the test aircraft as an overload fighter with wing tip auxiliary fuel tanks installed. Tests of the P-80A as an overload fighter began December 10, 1946 and were completed on April 24, 1947. From these tests, the following conclusions were reached:
- Although the stalling speeds were high, the general stalling characteristics were good.
- Because of the poor take-off performance and because of structural considerations, it was impossible to launch this aircraft as an overload fighter, either assisted or unassisted, from the decks of contemporary aircraft carriers.
- The level flight performance was good.
- The climb performance was satisfactory.
- Lateral stability was unsatisfactory; lateral control was satisfactory.
- Longitudinal and directional stability and control were satisfactory .
- Longitudinal trim change characteristics with change of power, landing flaps , and gear were good .
This summary only scratches the surface of the evaluation; to read the test report in depth, please click through the gallery above, which includes several rare photos of the navalized P-80A with wing tip auxiliary fuel tanks installed.
All images from NARA Archives II, College Park, MD, RG 72