Lockheed T-33A Shooting Star

On 17 May 2003, our T-33 arrived on three flatbed trailers bearing a tail section, a wing section, and a fuselage. Those three pieces became became our "six-hour plane." Originally, this T-33 bore a Presidential Unit Citation emblem on the tail.

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Manufacturer: Lockheed
Year/Model: 1953 T-33A Shooting Star
S/N: 601-1708
Tail Number: 0-53-5850
Power Plant: One 5,200 lb thrust Allison J33-A-35 turbojet engine
Wingspan: 38 feet 10.5 inches
Length: 37 feet 9 inches
Height: 11 feet 8 inches
Gross Weight: 12,071 pounds
Maximum Speed: 600 mph
Maximum Range: 1,275 statute miles
Service Ceiling: 48,000 feet
Crew: 2
Status: Static Display
Owner: Estrella Warbirds Museum

The Wonder Team, l to r: Museum members Fred Thacker, Betty Miller, Ron Brooks, John Dolan, Paul Sacks, Dave Geiger, Glen Thomson, Doug Anderson, Conrad Martin, and Al Schade.

Click on this thumbnail photo for an enlarged view, which was taken about 09:00. The picture at the top of the page was snapped at 15:00 — run that through your calculator and you should get six hours as a total. That's how long it took to assemble this "kit" into a recognizable airplane when Al Schade and his manic mechanics were turned loose on it, and that's why we call this outstanding unit our Wonder Team, as pictured above.

T-33A in Flight

A longer, two-place version of the historic P-80 (F-80) Shooting Star, our nation's first operational jet fighter (and the first to score a victory in all-jet combat when one downed a MiG-15 early in the Korean War). Thank you, Lt. Russell Brown! Three feet more were added, plus a second seat and dual controls, to provide the Air Force with a trainer since there was nothing available in which to instruct pilots about the then-new jet technology of the late '40s. In Korea the T-33, nicknamed "Tee-Bird," was adapted as a well-armed attack-fighter, belying its scholarly "trainer" designation.

First flown in March 1948, T-33 has been used to train pilots not only in this country, but in Italy, Greece, Turkey, Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, and Portugal, and was built in volume under license in Canada. The T-33 is one of the world's best-known aircraft, having served with the air forces of more than 20 different nations over several decades.

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