Tag Archives: t-38

One Dead, One Injured after T-38 Crash

UPDATE: The pilots have now been identified by the Air Force. Capt. Paul J. Barbour, 32, was killed in the crash.  Capt. Joshua Hammervold was injured.  Both were instructors with the 87th Flying Training Squadron.


A US Air Force T-38 flying out of Laughlin AFB, Texas, crashed on Monday. One of those onboard survived; the other did not.  The Air Force withheld the names.

Witnesses cited by the Del Rio News-Herald said they saw a parachute and a lone pilot descend to the ground near the crash.

The aircraft should have been a T-38C, which should have Read more

Pilot in Limbo after 60 Minutes Interview

Two years ago, two pilots took to 60 Minutes — with a Congressman for protection — to declare the F-22 had serious oxygen problems and the Air Force wasn’t acting with a sense of urgency to fix them.

Now, the lower ranking of the two, Capt Joshua Wilson, is still wondering if he’ll ever get back in the cockpit:

A member of the Virginia Air National Guard’s 149th Fighter Squadron, Wilson hasn’t been permitted to fly the jet since early 2012. He’s fighting disciplinary actions that he sees as retribution for going public.

Wilson has reportedly had his promotion revoked, been prohibited from serving in a full-time position with ACC, and told he would face an FEB — a flying evaluation board that would likely take away his wings.

According to the report, Read more

Bird Strike Responsible for T-38 Crash in July

The Air Force has reported that a T-38 that crashed in July near Sheppard Air Force Base was brought down by a bird that shattered the canopy and took out an engine:

Sheppard officials said Tuesday the bird struck the jet’s canopy, shattering it and sending fragments into an engine that then failed.

The incident was compounded by the pilots’ attempts to execute a turn that increased drag. The jet lost airspeed, then stalled.

The crew safely ejected.

The Air Force recently began researching the possibility of updating the canopies on the 50+ year old T-38 fleet. Their T-X replacement trainers have reportedly been held up by government budget issues.

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Air Force Hosts Pilot Training Student Journal

Vance Air Force Base has posted an ongoing pilot training journal written by 2Lt S. Tucker Browne.  Lt Browne started his training in August of last year, first flying T-6A Texan IIs and then T-38C Talons.  His graduation from the year-long course should be soon.

His journal should have some interesting tidbits, including a look into some ongoing pilot traditions, like the solo dunk tank (recounted by another pilot here, and copied here):

On Monday, our class had the privilege of sending one of our own up into the pattern alone. The pilot, 2nd Lt. Latessa Bortner, said it was a really fun experience…

When she landed, we were ready for the age-old tradition of Read more

T-38 Crashes in Texas, Crew Ejects

The two-man crew of a T-38C at Sheppard AFB ejected with minor injuries on Friday. As with the prior F-16 mishap a few weeks ago, there are already reports that the jet was downed by a birdstrike.  One of the pilots reportedly descended through the fireball.

The Air Force took the unusual approach of rapidly identifying the crew:

Maj. Christopher Thompson was instructing a member of the German Air Force, identified…as 1st Lt. Julius Dressbach.

As with all mishaps, the Air Force will investigate and report on its outcome.  Until then, a video of the wreckage has already made the internet.

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Air Force Continues Trainer Jet Replacement Program

The Air Force is continuing steps necessary to replace the venerable T-38, a 50-year-old jet trainer originally conceived as a lead-in to the century-series fighters (F-100, F-102, etc.).

The winner of the T-X competition will replace Northrop Grumman’s T-38 Talon, in use since 1959. “The T-38 needs a replacement system by sometime in the 2020s,” a deadline that means the replacement program needs to be up and running “by the end of this decade” at the latest, Aboulafia said.

Because the US Congress hasn’t passed a budget in years, new programs are still not funded.  The “program” is essentially administrative research until the venture is appropriated.

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F-22s Target T-38s near DC

A local paper covers the new “professional adversaries” for Langley Air Force based F-22 Raptors.

[Lt. Col. Derek] Wyler and several other pilots at Langley Air Force Base fly the T-38 Talon. First used in the 1960s as a trainer, the Talon has been given new life at Langley and two other Air Force bases. It plays the role of enemy aircraft in training exercises with the F-22 Raptor, now the top-line fighter in the fleet.

While there are some challenging characteristics of the T-38s which make them desirable adversaries, it probably comes down to money: it’s just cheaper.

Report of Too-Low Fly-by Released

The Air Force Times obtained the investigation report of the T-38 fly-by of the Iowa-Ohio State football game that was deemed too low to be legal.  The report is not flattering of the pilots, but does reveal there was at least one mitigating factor:

An Air Force pilot who led a dangerously low flyover before an Iowa football game told investigators he descended to avoid other air traffic and then lost track of his altitude because he was busy with other tasks, according to a report documenting missteps in the flight’s planning and execution…

Two small planes had taken off without clearance Read more

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