by Tommy H. Thomason

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Lockheed P/F-80 Canopy Development

Why do I make a blog post concerning an Air Force fighter? Because the Lockheed P/F-80 was operated by the Navy, including an at-sea evaluation of the P-80A. The Navy also operated some F-80Cs as jet trainers. One subtle difference between the two models (and it must be pretty subtle because it seems to have been recognized only rarely and not by kit manufacturers) is the location of the windscreen and the length of the canopy.

I've covered the carrier-trials P-80A here: http://tailspintopics.blogspot.com/2011/11/lockheed-p-80a-carrier-trials.html ; much of the same material was covered in a Tailhook Topics Draft post here: http://tailhooktopics.blogspot.com/2012/02/lockheed-p-80-shooting-star.html.

Craig Kaston just provided me with photos that he took this weekend of the P-80A at the Planes of Fame Museum in Chino and the P-80C fuselage in the storage yard at the Yanks Air Museum. They provide a direct comparison of the location of the windscreens of the two canopies with respect to panel lines and access doors whose location did not change, e.g. the aft cockpit bulkhead and the instrument panel, when the canopy was redesigned for the installation of the ejection seat.
Note that the Planes of Fame P-80A has the later F-80C canopy resting on the top of the fuselage* (it probably wouldn't fit properly if it was closed because of the different mechanism used to slide it). The extra length of the F-80B/C sliding canopy (the location of the aft end of the canopy remained the same on both the A and the B/C, so the length increase required by the relocation of the windscreen was in the forward part of the sliding canopy) is also evident by the fact that the aft interior structure of this canopy would not rest against the cockpit headrest when the canopy was closed.

Craig also pointed out the difference in the boundary layer vent that I had not noticed.

*It is an example of the occasionally necessary and inobvious kludge by museums that sometimes leads to a blunder by model kit manufacturers.

2 comments:

  1. Excellent article, checking these photos I concluded the 1/32 Czech Model F-80C kit has the windshield too forward. Any pics of cockpit on F-80C? Thanks
    Ed.

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    Replies
    1. Click through the photos here: http://www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=290
      (you'll have to copy that and paste it in your browser). The cockpit picture is the last one. It can be downloaded.

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