Manufactured by Lockheed
The T-Bird was the first jet powered trainer to enter service with the USAF. Based upon a lengthened F-80 “Shooting Star” fighter, nearly 5,700 T-Birds were built between 1949 and 1959. This was almost 3 times the number of all F-80 fighter models built.
First flown in March 1948 as the TF-80C, The T-Bird became operational a year later as the T-33A and served in USAF basic jet pilot training throughout the 1950’s. Many were also scattered among the USAF bases to provide transition training to the Jet Age. Still flying for some countries, the last T-Bird fleet was retired from USAF service in 1988. The US Navy also operated a specially modified version of the T-Bird designated the T2V-1 SeaStar. The SeaStar was used to train Naval Aviators in flight operations from both land bases and aircraft carriers.
- Role/Category: Trainer
- Wingspan: 38 feet, 10 1/2 inches
- Length: 37 feet, 9 inches
- Height: 11 feet, 4 inches
- Weight: 15,100 lbs. normal operating weight
- Powerplant: one Allison J33-A-35 turbojet providing 4,600 lbs. of thrust
- Speed: 581 mph (505 knots) or Mach .8 above 4000 feet normal cruise – 466 mph (405 knots)
- Ceiling: 47,500 feet
- Crew: 2 pilots
- Armament: two .50 caliber machine guns on early aircraft