Published January 26, 2016
The NT-33A was an in-flight simulator operated for decades in support of numerous Department of Defense projects. The NT-33A was used to study flying qualities, cockpit displays, control sticks, and flight control design of many, widely-varied aircraft, including the X-15, A-10, F-15, F-16, F-18, F-117, and F-22. It also trained hundreds of U.S. Air Force and Navy test pilots.
Modified from a standard T-33 trainer in the late 1950s, the NT-33A could be programmed to simulate the flight of a completely different aircraft. It also had an “artificial feel” system that replicated the characteristics of the stick and rudder controls of the aircraft being simulated.
A civilian contractor -- the Calspan Corp. (formerly the Cornell Aeronautical Laboratory) -- modified, operated and maintained the aircraft. During the NT-33A's 40 years of distinguished service, Calspan performed numerous research programs around the country. The NT-33A conducted its last research project in April 1997, and it was placed on display at the museum in August 1997.
Maximum speed: 525 mph
Cruising speed: 455 mph
Range: 1,000 miles
Service ceiling: 45,000 feet
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