Supersonic Fighter Pilot Training: “The Year of 53 Weeks” 1966 US Air Force



Pilot Training Film playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLCA6387BA013F9A4D

USAF Training Film playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL8F26D920AA815835

“…Shows the year-long training program of Air Force pilots. Features Mike Farrell.”

USAF film SFP-1384

Public domain film from the US National Archives, slightly cropped to remove uneven edges, with the aspect ratio corrected, and one-pass brightness-contrast-color correction & mild video noise reduction applied.
The soundtrack was also processed with volume normalization, noise reduction, clipping reduction, and/or equalization (the resulting sound, though not perfect, is far less noisy than the original).

http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northrop_T-38_Talon

The Northrop T-38 Talon is a two-seat, twin-engined supersonic jet trainer. It was the world’s first supersonic trainer and is also the most produced. The T-38 remains in service as of 2016 in several air forces.

The United States Air Force (USAF) operates the most T-38s. In addition to training USAF pilots, the T-38 is used by NASA. The US Naval Test Pilot School is the principal US Navy operator (other T-38s were previously used as USN aggressor aircraft until replaced by the similar Northrop F-5 Tiger II). Pilots of other NATO nations fly the T-38 in joint training programs with USAF pilots.

As of 2015, the T-38 has been in service for over 50 years with its original operator, the United States Air Force…

Design and development

…In 1953, representatives from General Electric Aviation’s newly created Small Aircraft Engine Department showed Northrop a relatively tiny engine (around 400 lb installed wt) capable of 2,500 lb of thrust, and Northrop VP-Engineering Edgar Schmued saw the possibility of reversing the trend toward the large fighters. Schmued and chief engineer Welko Gasich decided on a small twin-engine “hot-rod” fighter, the N-156. Northrop began its N-156 project in 1954…

In the mid-1950s the USAF issued a General Operating Requirement for a supersonic trainer, planning to retire its 1940s-era Lockheed T-33s. Northrop officials decided to adapt the N-156 to this competition… Northrop officials convincingly presented life-cycle cost comparisons which could not be ignored, and they were awarded the contract, receiving an order for three prototypes. The first (designated YT-38) flew on 10 March 1959. The type was quickly adopted and the first production examples were delivered in 1961, officially entering service on 17 March that year, complementing the T-37 primary jet trainer. When production ended in 1972, 1,187 T-38s had been built (plus two N-156T prototypes). Since its introduction, it is estimated that some 50,000 military pilots have trained on this aircraft…

The T-38 is of conventional configuration, with a small, low, long-chord wing, a single vertical stabilizer, and tricycle undercarriage… Its nimble performance has earned it the nickname white rocket. In 1962 the T-38 set absolute time-to-climb records for 3,000, 6,000, 9,000 and 12,000 meters, beating the records for those altitudes set by the F-104 in December 1958. (The F-4 beat the T-38’s records less than a month later.)

The F-5B and F (which also derive from the N-156) can be distinguished from the T-38 by the wings; the wing of the T-38 meets the fuselage straight and ends square, while the F-5 has leading edge extensions near the wing roots and wingtip launch rails for air-to-air missiles…

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cessna_T-37_Tweet

The Cessna T-37 Tweet (designated Model 318 by Cessna) is a small, economical twin-engined jet trainer-attack type aircraft which flew for decades as a primary trainer for the United States Air Force (USAF) and in the air forces of several other nations. The A-37 Dragonfly variant served in the light attack role during the Vietnam War and continues to serve in the air forces of several South American nations.

The T-37 served as the U.S. Air Force’s primary pilot training vehicle for over 52 years after its first flight. After completing Primary in the Tweet, students moved on to other advanced Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps or Allied trainers. With a total of 1,269 Cessna T-37s built, the USAF retired its last T-37 in 2009…

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cessna_T-41_Mescalero

The Cessna T-41 Mescalero is a military version of the popular Cessna 172, operated by the United States Air Force and Army as well as the armed forces of various other countries as a pilot training aircraft…

In 1964, the US Air Force decided to use the off-the-shelf Cessna 172F as a lead-in aircraft for student pilots rather than starting them out in the T-37 jet aircraft. The USAF ordered 237 T-41As from Cessna. The first USAF class (67-A) of students began training on the T-41 from the civilian airport in Big Springs, TX in August 1965…

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