North American T-39 Sabreliner

1958

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North American T-39 Sabreliner

Successful in both civil and military markets, the North American NA-246 Sabreliner was developed originally as a private venture although the programme launch, announced on 27 August 1956, was in response to the US Air Force UTX (Utility Trainer Experimental) specification issued ealier in that month. Laid out with a six-seat interior and to be flown by a two-man crew, the civil-registered prototype was completed in May 1958, although the lack of suitable engines delayed the first flight, which took place at Los Angeles, until 16 September. The initial powerplant comprised two 1134kg thrust General Electric YJ85 turbojets and, thus powered, the prototype completed its military evaluation programme at Edwards Air Force Base in December 1958. A month later the Sabreliner won its first order, for seven NA-265 or T-39A aircraft with 1361kg thrust Pratt & Whitney J60 engines. Military production eventually totalled 213 aircraft. All military models of the T-39 series were certificated to civil airworthiness standards, beginning with the T-39A on 23 March 1962. North American then launched the commercial version, which was type approved as the NA-265-40 Sabreliner 40 on 17 April 1963. Since then civil production of all models, including the final model, the Sabreliner 65A, totalled well over 600 aircraft when the last aircraft came off the line in 1981. Rockewell International's Sabreliner Division was acquired in 1983 by the specially formed Sabreliner Corporation of St Louis, Missouri to continue product support. At the end of 1990 the company completed the design of a new version of the Sabreliner designated the Model 85. This has a supercritical wing incorporating winglets, a fuselage stretch of 1.5m, and more powerful TFE731-5 turbofan engines, but further development will require a risk-sharing partner.

Specification 
 MODELSabreliner 65
 ENGINE2 x Garrett TFE731-3-1D turbofans, 1678kg
 WEIGHTS
  Take-off weight10886 kg24000 lb
  Empty weight6420 kg14154 lb
 DIMENSIONS
  Wingspan15.37 m50 ft 5 in
  Length14.30 m47 ft 11 in
  Height4.88 m16 ft 0 in
 PERFORMANCE
  Cruise speed0.81M0.81M
  Ceiling13715 m45000 ft

Comments1-20 21-40 41-60 61-80
Bob Archer, e-mail, 09.03.2020 18:29

I would like to contact John Caton and anyone else who supported the Cuban Missile Crisis with T-39 missions. Please contact me on email carlscroop@aol.com Many thanks Bob Archer

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Rodney Bell, e-mail, 26.02.2018 03:46

My first duty assignment was at Randolph AFB, 1971 T-39 Base Flight....I was Ass't Crew Chief on LGEN George B. Simler's T-39....Got my first stick time in back in 72. Sweet aircraft...!

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William R. Buchanan, e-mail, 20.02.2021 Rodney Bell

Rodney I don't remember you and just happened across this site. You must have came in right after I was sent to the PI.

I was Tech Sgt Robesons assistant from 69 to 71 on 0678 or Gen Simlar's Personal T39. I was the person who painted it over at Kelly AFB when we upgraded it to rival Gen Browns plane, (Off White and Very Light Gray in early 71. I was sent to Scott AFB to learn C9 Hospital Ships and ran the phase Dock at Clark AFB in the Philippines in 72-73. I was also on a first name basis with Maj Gaston O Bush (mentioned in another post) who was one of the finest officers I ever met in my service.

Small World Huh?

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Bill Hallisey, e-mail, 26.08.2017 18:47

Want to share stories and connect with fellow Air Force T-39 crew chiefs and maintenance personnel stationed in Weisbaden from 1969 to 1972. I was a crew chief on flying status. Probably landed in most air bases and airports in Europe at one time or another. whall27425@aol.com

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Dave Hansen, e-mail, 22.03.2017 04:06

as a non flying enlisted, I supported the Scatback mission at NKP after they signed the Pease with Honor Accords.. I have not heard the first discouraging remarks from anyone who was associated with this wonderful airframe. Scatback March 73 to October 73, NKP, in support of the United States Support Activities Group (USSAG)

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Patrick Spino, e-mail, 21.02.2017 20:46

Hello to everyone contributing here regarding the T-39 Sabreliner. I was a Sgt stationed USAF Wiesbaden '69-'71, 2063rd Comm Sq. I met Maj. Gus Bush (Texan) who piloted the T-39 (on SAM) and he offered to take me on a trip. A buddy of his who had just rotated out of Sheppard for Wiesbaden co-piloted with Gus; the mission consisted of several touch & goes at various strips in Italy to orient the co-pilot of these airstrips before landing in Athens for a couple of nights. This trip was the highlight of my 4 years served. I loved jets since I was a kid and to be in the T-39 flying over the Swiss Alps, the Leaning Tower of Pisa as well as coming in on final approach to Athens while looking down on the turquoise waters of the Med, are experiences I'll never ever forget! Thanks so much, Major Gus Bush!

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Larry Miller, 28.12.2016 23:29

Bill Hallisey, I was stationed at Wiesbaden during the same time you where there 1970 -1972. I worked in the T-39 Phase Dock doing both Minor and Major Aircraft Inspections along with assisting with aircraft modifications. We put in some long hrs. sometimes and I got to know each aircraft and their crew chiefs. Over all it was Great Duty.

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Marcus White, e-mail, 26.12.2016 18:58

I was stationed at Norton AFB in California from 1975 thru 1979. I was in the 63 OMS and I was the crew chief for aircraft 610647. Used to polish the leading edge slats almost daily. Whenever the pilot requested me to empty the blue water from the toilet I knew what their plans were. Or if they were to request for me to fly the plane but for me to bring an overnight bag for what was to be a 4 hour flight I knew we were going to flying near Nellis. As soon as we got near Nellis they would call me to the cockpit and stare at one of the gauges. Fuel flow was one of their favorites. It would bounce around and for a split second exceed the maximum. I would red X the aircraft and we would land at Nellis. Of course I would call my squadron and inform them I needed a engine specialist. It would take two days to get him there. So of course I would spent those two days in Las Vegas. The specialist would arrive and I would run the engines for him. He would inform his people that he needed a replacement fuel flux flow transmitter or something of the like and it would take two days to arrive. Another two days in Vegas. What a life. I also was TDY in Japan at Yokota AB for a few months to assist with some T39's there. Best times of my life.

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Jess Hennell, e-mail, 25.11.2016 23:36

I was asst crew chief and flight mech on the T-39A aircraft 62-4453 at Peterson Field and crew chief on 624474 then 624462 at RAF Lakenheath then they moved 62-4462 RAF Mildenhall. I had 5 years on these aircraft it was the best 5 years of my 21. I have a face book groupe
T-39A Flight Mech and Crews it's open to all T-39 guys do come and join it would be great to hear from you. Also if any of the guys I worked with see this do drop an e mail

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Ron Obernier, e-mail, 11.02.2021 Jess Hennell

What happened to 62-4462? I worked on it at Wethersfield in the 62-65 timeframe.

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Wayne Tisdale, e-mail, 30.09.2016 00:18

I was fortunate enough to fly on T-39's as a inflight crew chief at Westover AFB, from 67 -68. Worked for Msgt Ledger. In 1970 I was assigned to Tan Son Nhut, Viet Nam, and once again was an inflight crew chief for the Scat Back Airlines. That was a real busy assignment, flew 6 days in a row hustling courier material to ever base with an improved runway up and down Viet Nam and over to the bases inThailand. The long hours helped pass the time.

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ROBERT S, e-mail, 04.07.2016 04:15

WAS ACREW CHIEF FLIGHT MECHANIC FROM 63TO66 Langley AFB VA WAS CREW CHIEF FOR 17 AF COMMANDER RAMSTEIN GERMANY 67 TO 70 FLEW ALL OVER EUROPE FLEW WITH GEN YEAGER SEVERAL TIMES WAS BACK AT LANGLEY FROM71TO79 WHEN RETIRED FLEWAGAINE AS FLIGHT MECHANIC ALL OVER THE US REALLY A GOOD AIRPLANE TO FLY ON AND WORK ON WHILE AT LANGLEY WORKED ON TAC COMMMANDERS AIRCRAFT HAVE BEEN TRYING TO FIND OUT WHERE SER NO 624477 IS AAND 624470 THE TWO PLANES I HAD IN GERMANY

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John caton, e-mail, 24.04.2016 20:18

If there is anyone that wants to know where the T39 they use to work on is, write me at jfc0600@aol.com I found a cite that gives its location or if it was sold to a foreign country. Love to hear from any T39 enthusiast . This plane had a role in the cuban missel crisis that was not known but by a very few individuals.

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john caton, e-mail, 24.04.2016 20:02

I spent 14 years out of 20 working and flying on T39s. For those who also did the same I understand the relationship with this aircraft. Met so many great crew chiefs , they had pride in their plane and work. I was so greatful to have assignments that allowed me to work on and fly with over 2600 loged hours. The tail # 61638 that Carl Arend was asking about is in Laredo Texas as of Apr 2006

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Bill Hallisey, e-mail, 04.03.2016 01:19

I was a crew chief /flight mechanic on T-39's at Wiesbaden Germany from 1970 thru 1972. We referred to our mission as the Wiesbaden Air Base Taxi Stand. Worked with a great group of fellow Air Force personnel.

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DALE, e-mail, 03.02.2016 04:37

I worked on t39s at tan son nhut vietnam 68-69 scatback det 1 460 trw tail #504 the picture above looks like 675 at tan son nhut

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Granpa, e-mail, 26.05.2015 18:36

The text omits mention of the Sabre 75 and 75A.

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J. J. Henderson, e-mail, 19.03.2015 21:25

C.M.Koskowski, I also was at Andrews AFB from 1969-1972 assigned to the T-39's. I was the crew chief for two years on T-39 call sign "Pacer 94". I also remember General Daniel "Chappie" James and you are right, he was a great guy that treated all of us the same.

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C.M.Koskowski, e-mail, 19.02.2015 17:50

I was a crew /flight mech. on the t-39 at Andrews from 1969-1971.Flow with Senator Barry Goldwater and General Danie "Chappie James jr first African American four-star general what a nice person, many a store to tell. Lots of good times at Andrews and flying around country on the T-39.

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Carl Arend, e-mail, 08.01.2015 06:56

I was a crew chief on tail # 10638 @ Offutt Nebraska in 1980 &1981, Does anyone know where she might be resting now? She was a scrap yard in Nevada but heard she other saved,to e a gate relic at Kessler AFB

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Dave Clipner, e-mail, 01.12.2014 02:16

I had for 2 years from July 65 to Jul 67 on a slow Saturday morning at Ramey AFB,Puerto Rico to fill the ramp with VC-39's and VC140's. Flight time for desk pilots to get hours for pay. They came to play the Golf Course at the base.. Many came during the fall into spring time. I can remember many GCA's and ILS's into the base. Those 2 types came the closest to controlling a fighter that I had. As Ramey was a SAC base with BUFF's and Gas Passers. I don't think that Andrews had any of those type left at home..When the thoughts turned to golf at Ramey...Very fond memories of an Approach Controller /Air Traffic USAF..

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deaftom, e-mail, 24.11.2014 05:23

Frank Alford: The "Capitol dome" marking you remember on the T-39's tail was that of USAF's Headquarters Command, reflecting the plane's mission of supporting the transportation needs of high USAF brass.

However, you cannot be correct about Barry Goldwater's flying the T-39 "alone and by himself", as it was a two-pilot aircraft--a co-pilot was mandatory. In addition, most of Goldwater's T-39 flights made during his presidential campaign period were with my father in the other pilot's seat. In appreciation, Goldwater had his office send my family a complimentary subscription to the magazine "Arizona Highways" for years afterwards.

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