Note: This aircraft is located in the Presidential Gallery on a controlled-access portion of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. The gallery will close until further notice beginning May 1, 2013, as part of budget reduction requirements due to sequestration.
The T-39 was developed by North American Aviation Inc. as a private venture to meet a USAF requirement for a twin jet utility trainer. The prototype T-39 made its first flight on Sept. 16, 1958. In January 1959 the USAF placed a production order and on June 30, 1960, the first production T-39A made its initial flight. In all, 143 T-39As and 6 T-39Bs were built for the USAF. Another 62 T-39 variants were produced for the Navy. After the bulk of military contracts had been met, the Sabreliner entered the commercial market where it became a highly successful executive jet transport.
The T-39A on display was delivered to the USAF on June 6, 1963. It was transferred to Europe and flew missions there until it was damaged in a crash in 1966. It was repaired by the manufacturer and returned to service in August 1967. From August 1968 until early 1973, this Sabreliner was assigned to Bergstrom Air Force Base, Texas, in support of former President Lyndon B. Johnson. After undergoing a fatigue life extension program, the aircraft was sent to Andrews Air Force Base, Md., where in 1974 it began flying as a test bed for state-of-the-art avionics equipment and as an administrative airlift support transport. This T-39A was flown to the museum on Oct. 24, 1984.
SPECIFICATIONS: Span: 44 ft. 6 in. Length: 44 ft. Height: 16 ft. Weight: 18,650 lbs. loaded Armament: None Engines: Two Pratt & Whitney J-60s of 3,000 lbs. thrust each Crew: Two plus seven passengers Cost: $810,000 Serial number: 62-4478
Maximum speed: 538 mph Cruising speed: 500 mph Range: 1,348 miles Service ceiling: 42,000 ft.