Shooting Star Over The Ocean
Doug Matthews flies his beautiful Vintage T-33 Thunderbird/F-80 Shooting Star at the 2013 Lauderdale Airshow. Background: In World War II, Allied intelligence discovered that Germany had a jet fighter, the ME-262. This prompted the US Army Air Force to come up with its first operational jet fighter. That aircraft became the Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star. The Air Force would later drop all P-designations (Pursuit) in lieu of F-designations (Fighter). Thus, the P-80 became the F-80 Shooting Star. As the F-80 became the first operational jet for the USAAF, the demand for a two-seat trainer version grew. When production for the two-seat trainer began, the designation was changed to T-33A. That began a long tenure for the Shooting Star, which was produced from 1948-1959 when 6,557 aircraft were built. The T-33 has served with over 30 nations, and continues to operate as a trainer in smaller air forces including Japan, Brazil, Turkey and Thailand.
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