Yolo County, CA
Operation: Western and Central USA
Wing Span: 42' 5"
Length: 37' 9"
Height: 11' 8"
Max Speed: 505 kts/.80 Mach
Gross Weight: 16,800 lbs
Power Plant: Rolls-Royce Nene 10
Thrust: 5,400 lbs
Armament: Two M3 .50 caliber machine
Heritage Foundation's T-33 Silver Star "Ace Maker"
Greg Colyer and
T-33 Heritage Foundation (a not for profit
organization) are the
operators of this Lockheed/Canadair T-33 Silver Star "Ace
Maker", which is available for airshows, flybys, film,
and for a 10-15 minute jet aerobatic airshow routine.
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 shopmen 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.
The Air corps wanted it and many more but de
Havilland could not deliver the engines needed. General
Electric proposed that Lockheed use their refined
"Whittle" engine called the I-40. But due to it's larger
size, Lockheed would have to build and almost entirely
new airframe. Lockheed built the new airframe as the
XP-80A, and Tony LeVier test flew it on June 10, 1944.
With 1600 lbs. more thrust and a slick new gray paint
job, the XP-80A flew at 561 mph.
Army Air Corps did two things - put the P-80A into
full production, and sent two YP-80As to Great Britain
and two more to Italy for the purpose of combat testing
and to build the sagging moral of bomber crews that
faced the German Jet threat every day from the ME262.
Both aircraft sent to England suffered problems - one
being totally destroyed and the other being fitted with
a Rolls-Royce engine. The two sent to Italy performed
well. They did get in a few combat missions, but VE day
closed out any chance of their meeting the vaunted
German Jets. Army Air Corps ordered 4390 F-80As.
The P-80A was essentially the same aircraft as the
YP-80A. dive brakes and boundary layer bleed ducts had
now been installed and the armament bay redesigned. The
GE I-40, now designated the J-33 was replaced by the
Allison-built J-33-9/11, and later F-80A-5s by the
Lockheed pushed the Army Air Corps for a jet trainer
version but the Air Corps saw no need for such an
aircraft and they didn't want to "waste" any fighter
airframes. The methods for training jet pilots in 1947
was 180 hours in the T-6, 50 hours in P-51 mustangs, and
about 25 hours in a "captive" P-80.
Finally in January 1948 a cost-conscious Air Force
awarded a contract for 20 TF-80C jet trainers and the
designation was later changed to T-33A.
The original trainer version was an F-80B fuselage
with a 26 inch section added forward of the wingroot.
Another 12 inch section was added forward of the rear
fuselage for balance and stability. Additional
differences between the P-80B and the TF-80C were:
smaller 85 gallon fuselage fuel tank, nylon fuel cells,
two .50 caliber guns instead of six, improved air
conditioning, and of course dual fight controls. Also a
six gun nose could be fitted to the T-33. Early models
even had 1000 lb. bomb shackles on the wings. The only
major change to the T-33 was the addition of
Fletcher-type wingtip tanks. Almost 6000 T-33s were
built, including 649 for the Navy and 1058 for foreign
air forces. Canadair built 656 MKIIIs under license and
Kawasaki built 210.
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 USAF 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
FISq, 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. Units in Korea also used the TF-80C/T-33
and the RF-80. TF-80C's and T-33's were used for
photo-recon and pilot familiarization flights.
The T-33 Heritage Foundation is
dedicated to restoring, preserving, and maintaining
Lockheed's T-33 and America's other Korean War era
aircraft to honor the brave young airmen who flew our
first generation of jets. Come see and hear the sound of
freedom and America's proud history at an airshow near
you or schedule us to attend your airshow or special
Ace Maker Airshows
Phone: (415) 531-0970
Please fill out your contact information
below if you are interested in contacting
the operator, or representative,
of this Warbird and you require more information for booking this
aircraft at your Airshow