Northrop T-38A Talon
In the mid-1950s, the USAF
required a trainer with higher performance than the T-33 to better prepare
student pilots for the latest tactical aircraft that were then coming into
service. The aircraft chosen was the T-38A which offered high performance
with low maintenance and operating costs. The T-38A became the USAF's
first supersonic trainer. The T-38A prototype first flew on 10 April,
1959, and production continued until 1972. A total of 1,189 T-38As were
built. Some were later modified into AT-38Bs with external armament for
weapons training purposes.
Jacqueline Cochran set
eight performance records in the fall of 1961 flying a production T-38A
and in February 1962 a T-38A set four international time-to-climb records.
The USAF Thunderbirds used T-38As from 1974 to 1982 because of their
economic operation and high performance. Other users of the T-38A include
the U.S. Navy in their Top Gun combat simulation program and the National
Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The aircraft on display is
painted and marked as a trainer in the USAF Air Training Command.
Span: 25 ft. 3 in.
Length: 46 ft. 4 1/2 in.
Height: 12 ft. 10 1/2 in.
Weight: 11,761 lbs. loaded
Engines: Two General Electric J85-GE-5A turbojets of 3,850 lbs.
thrust each with afterburner
Serial Number: 65-10441
Maximum speed: 812 mph.
Cruising speed: 578 mph.
Range: 1093 miles
Service Ceiling: 45,000 ft.