F-80s Had Their Problems
I was a radio mechanic in the 65th Fighter Squadron, 57th Fighter Group in Alaska from January 1947 to December 1948. We had P-51H models until the summer of ’48, then we got F-80s, which I think were one of the best-looking airplanes ever built. But as your article “P-80 Jet Jockey” states (August 2017), they did have engine trouble. It took three days to change an engine in a 51 and three hours in an 80. We had 80s disintegrate in midair, and the pieces were so small they had not figured out for sure what caused it. Some pilots would ask the crew chief for the go/ no-go gauge and crawl up the tailpipe themselves to check the clearance between the tips of the turbine blades and the case.
It doesn’t inspire confidence in your aircraft when you have to crawl up the tailpipe.—BD