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Lockheed P-80 compared to Gloster Meteor and DH Vampire

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Lockheed P-80 compared to Gloster Meteor and DH Vampire

Old 11th Mar 2024, 03:00
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Lockheed P-80 compared to Gloster Meteor and DH Vampire

Always wondered how the American Lockheed P-80 (F-80 later) compared to the British Gloster Meteor and DH Vampires of similar vintage? All three had long careers and morphed into night fighters and trainers as well.
The Republic F-84 was a bit later but was assigned mostly to ground attack.
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Old 11th Mar 2024, 06:37
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The P-84 was an escort fighter and only later identified mainly for ground attack.
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Old 16th Mar 2024, 03:52
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You are correct. in saying the P-84 was originally used as an escort fighter. I remember USAF SAC B-36 lugging around straight wing F-84 under their belly's and the attempt to transport them on the wing tips (Tom Tip?). That obviously made them escort fighters at first. Only later did they take on their ground attack function much as the P-47 did in WW-II.
However, I was really interested in how the P-80 would have fared against its contemporaries, the Meteor and Vampire. I have never seen them compared anywhere.
All 3 aircraft have comparable max speeds and Mach limits so I think it comes down to overall maneuverability, structural strength etc.
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Old 16th Mar 2024, 09:26
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I wonder if "Winkle" Brown flew them all?
It wouldn't be a direct comparison, unless he chose to say so, but I know he flew the Meteor and the Vampire and I'd be extremely surprised if he didn't fly the P-80.

The next question is - which book?
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Old 16th Mar 2024, 10:12
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It was along time ago when I flew the single and dual seat Vampire and Meteors, Some RAF Canadian trained Shooting star pilots arrived at RAF Swinderby for UK acclimatisation courses on the Vampire. I remember them saying the Vampire was a lovely little aeroplane which was nicer and lighter to fly than the Shooting Star, but the UK was much more difficult than Canada because of all the Railway Lines , Roads and poor weather, which made navigation difficult! I preferred the Meteor Eight, which seemed more solid and stable and had slightly better performance than the Vampire. Wing loading look interesting with the Vampire at 39.4 lbs/sq foot, the Meteor 44.1 and the F80 51.3.
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Old 16th Mar 2024, 10:25
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Originally Posted by tonytales
...................... I remember USAF SAC B-36 lugging around straight wing F-84 under their belly's and the attempt to transport them on the wing tips (Tom Tip?).
The projects were TIP-TOW and Tom-Tom. I believe that TIP-TOW related to the B-29 with a F-84 on each wing tip and Tom-Tom to the B-36 equivalent. The B-29/F-84 combination crashed with loss of all crew.
The B-36/F-84 experiment was cancelled a few months after this crash.

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Old 16th Mar 2024, 13:48
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The next question is - which book?
It is in the list at the back of Wings on my Sleeve but not in the text.
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Old 16th Mar 2024, 18:29
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I'm guessing the P-80 would be in 'Wings of the Weird and Wonderful vol.2', but I've got vol.1 here....
Edit: I was wrong, it is not in vol.2. I found a screenshot of the contents of that one online. It could be in 'Testing for Combat', I'll need to find my copy. Vol.1 does cover the Vampire and Meteor, although he mostly describes the exotic variants.

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Old 16th Mar 2024, 22:53
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Extracted from Key Aero Forum. Lockheed P-80 44-83026

I've never put this on our Bovingdon thread because doubt was raised on the Key Forum that it was thought to be unlikely that the aircraft would be flown from Burtonwood to Bovingdon and back on its first test flight after re-assembly. (It suffered an in-flight fire and crashed on its second test). I would be very interested if anybody can confirm that it did visit Bovingdon, perhaps for top brass to inspect, not beyond the bounds of possibility . The provenance of the photograph is Col Henry L Badham who was Station Commander at Bovingdon. John Young lists in his diary a P- 80 as being seen at Bovingdon but no date, mark or service number is given. Further interesting link here: https://laituk.org/YP-80A%20%2044-83026.htm

Last edited by OUAQUKGF Ops; 17th Mar 2024 at 00:18. Reason: Tidying Up
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Old 17th Mar 2024, 00:38
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Grrrr!! Totally irrelevant but Bovingdon isn't in London, it's in Hertfordshire.

Despite my current location, I'm Hertfordshire born and bred. Quite a lot of people, and journalists in particular, have either never heard of it, confuse it with Herefordshire or just call it London.

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Old 17th Mar 2024, 08:22
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Old 17th Mar 2024, 08:23
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Originally Posted by DHfan
Grrrr!! Totally irrelevant but Bovingdon isn't in London, it's in Hertfordshire.

Despite my current location, I'm Hertfordshire born and bred. Quite a lot of people, and journalists in particular, have either never heard of it, confuse it with Herefordshire or just call it London.
Its from A US press release or publication - hence the "London, England" line - like Paris, France. You're lucky they got the right country never mind bothering about counties
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Old 17th Mar 2024, 09:57
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Tom-tit is Cockney rhyming slang.although could be relevant if one got too close to a wing tip.
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Old 17th Mar 2024, 11:43
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Originally Posted by DHfan
Grrrr!! Totally irrelevant but Bovingdon isn't in London, it's in Hertfordshire.

Despite my current location, I'm Hertfordshire born and bred. Quite a lot of people, and journalists in particular, have either never heard of it, confuse it with Herefordshire or just call it London.
Quite so and it's Bovingdon, not Bovington which was/is a tank-training place in Dorset and has a museum to remind us of that.
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Old 17th Mar 2024, 12:14
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The presence of an A20 seems to rule it out as Bovingdon, the CCRC used mostly B17s. Any ideas on the '9' on the fin of the A20?
Bovington is where T E Shaw met his end.

Last edited by chevvron; 17th Mar 2024 at 17:56.
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Old 17th Mar 2024, 12:35
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Originally Posted by Allan Lupton
Quite so and it's Bovingdon, not Bovington which was/is a tank-training place in Dorset and has a museum to remind us of that.
Indeed, and like many others I used to get them mixed up too, until it was pointed out to me that it was "T" for tank.

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Old 17th Mar 2024, 17:39
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Another thought; what fuel did these early jets burn? Did they have a special bowser for kerosene trucked in (unlikely for just a one off flight to Bovingdon) or did they burn AVGAS? It would have had to re-fuel if it landed at Bovingdon as those early jets had short endurance.
Why was it taxying on the grass which would have been soggy at that time of year and such a precious aircraft would have sucked FOD into the intakes; there's plenty of hard surface at Bovingdon.

Last edited by chevvron; 17th Mar 2024 at 17:52.
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Old 17th Mar 2024, 20:07
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I quite agree with your last observations chevvron in respect of fuel availability and the state of the airfield. It doesn't look like Bovingdon to me which is one reason why I never bothered to mention it on the Bovingdon Thread. In respect of Douglas A-20 Bostons/Havocs their presence at Bovingdon is mentioned in John Young's Diary in 1943 and 1945. Incidentally the type was based at Bovingdon probably a single example - quoting from that thread: 'A Flight' 8th Air Force HQ Squadron at Bovingdon was I suppose the equivalent of a British Comms Squadron. During The War the following types were used by 'A Flight' at Bovingdon. Beechcraft Expeditor, Bell Aircobra, Cessna Bobcat, Curtiss Tomahawk, Douglas Boston, Douglas Havoc, Fairchild Argus, Lockheed Lightning, Martin Marauder, North American Texan and Republican Thunderbolt.

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Old 17th Mar 2024, 21:41
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It's interesting that I don't remember Eric "Winkle" Brown ever describe the P-80. I have read, I think, all his books but, being 90, no longer have access to them. I don't believe the Canadians ever used the P-80/F-80 itself. They did produce a variant called the "Silver Star" which was a RR Nene powered version of the Lockheed T-33. 656 built (Wiki).
With the extensively modified Lockheed T2V Sea Star 150 built, the T-33/Silver Star were probably the most produced trainer jet ever produced.
Still, which was a better fyghter jet, the Gloster Meteor, The DH Vampire ir the P-80?
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Old 18th Mar 2024, 08:25
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Best one? It very likely depended on the pilot flying the type.
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