to turn on the auxiliary fuel pump. He bailed
out over North Hollywood, too low for his chute
None of the three losses were attributable to
the aircraft. Pilots learned the hard way to pay
extra attention to the engine.
Following formal acceptance of the type in
February 1945, the AAF ordered 344 production
P-80As. In all, 83 P-80s were delivered by the
end of July 1945, with 45 assigned to the 412th
The Navy received P-80s in June 1945, leading
to carrier tests the next year. By then, the Navy
had begun evaluating two other aircraft: Ryan’s
dead-end FR-1 Fireball, with a jet augment-
ing a Wright radial (flown in June 1944), and
McDonnell’s promising twin-engine FD-1 Phan-
tom (flown in January 1945), which entered ser-
vice in 1947.
Britain’s other notable jet was the twin-boom
de Havilland Vampire, flown in September 1943,
but at war’s end, only about six had been delivered. In late 1945, it made the world’s first jet
landing on an aircraft carrier.
Jets in Combat
In April 1944, the Luftwaffe formed
Erprobungs-kommando 262, an operational development unit
“White 1,” a replica Me 262B-1C,
was built by Stormbirds of Everett,
Washington, and is based at the
Houston Hobby Airport in Houston,
Texas, where it is operated by
The Collings Foundation. It is an
exact reproduction of “White 35,”
which was handed over to the U.S.
Navy after WW II. This aircraft, sat
outside in the elements at NAS
Willowgrove in Pennsylvania for
decades before being rescued by
the late enthusiast/entrepreneur
Steve Snyder. He had it reverse-engineered to give birth to a handful of nearly exact flying Me 262s.
(Photo by David Leininger)