NASA 512

Brief history

Both the 109th and the 179th Squadrons of the Minnesota Air National Guard used T-33s at various times. The T-33A was developed from the Lockheed P-80/F-80 by lengthening the fuselage by slightly over three feet and adding a second seat, instrumentation and flight controls. Originally designated the TF-80C, the T-33 made its first flight on 22 March 1948. A total number of 6,557 aircraft were produced. The T-33 was used as an advanced trainer. T-33s were assigned to USAF F-101, F-102 and F-106 units as well as similarly equipped Air National Guard units as proficiency trainers and practice “bogey” aircraft. Some T-33s retained two machine guns for gunnery training. The T-33 has served in over 30 nations and continues to operate as a trainer in smaller air forces.



Cost: $93, 456
Crew: 2
Length: 37 Feet, 9 Inches
Wingspan: 38 Feet, 10.5 Inches
Height: 11 Feet, 8 Inches
Engine: Allison J33-A-35 Centrifugal Compressor Turbojet with 5,400 pounds of thrust
Max Speed: 600 MPH
Range: 1,275 miles (ferry)
Service Ceiling: 48,000 Feet
Armament: 2 50 Cal Browning M3 machine guns, 350 rounds per gun (for AT-33), 2 wing hardpoints with a capacity of 2,000 pounds for bombs or rockets

Interesting Facts

The museum T-33A, at one time, was assigned to NASA and still retains the NASA 512 radio call sign on the instrument panel. Although it is not clear what its mission was with NASA it could have very well have been flown by some of the early astronauts pioneering this countries space program, T-33s assigned to NASA were used for support and flight research. One report shows this aircraft may have been assigned to the Marine Corps Aviation Museum at MCAS Quantico, VA when that museum first started up in the late 1970s. In the 1980s an attempt was made by Boeing to modify and modernize the T-33 as the Boeing Skyfox but a lack of orders cancelled the project. About 70% of the T-33s airframe was retained in the Skyfox. A limited number of T-33s have found their way into private hands. In 2010 a T-33A owned by Boeing was used as a chase plane for the maiden flight of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.