T-33A Shooting Star

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Military History


The Lockheed P-80 became the first jet fighter to enter full squadron service in the United States Army Air Forces. The aircraft had straight wings, and it was the first operational jet fighter to have its engine contained in the fuselage. The aircraft made its first flight on January 8, 1944. Development and production of the P-80 continued on after World War II. The P-80 was re-designated "F-80" in 1948 after the U.S. Air Force split off from the U.S. Army.

A large number of accidents with the F-80 demonstrated the need for a two seat trainer version. Lockheed reached an agreement with the United States Air Force to produce a prototype two seat TF-80C. Unlike most prototypes, the TF-80C was not built to any official specification or order, and funding was entirely supplied by Lockheed. Appointed to lead this project was Lockheed designer Clarence "Kelly" Johnson and the Skunk Works team, also responsible for the P-80 Shooting Star fighter. The trainer version was derived from the Lockheed F-80C by lengthening the fuselage by slightly over three feet and adding a second seat, instrumentation, and flight controls.

The trainer made its first flight on March 22, 1948. It was designated T-33A (Popularly nicknamed the "T-Bird") soon after, with U.S. production taking place from 1948 to 1959. In addition to being operated by the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps operated several variants, including a carrier-capable one. The aircraft was also operated by Canada, Japan, Germany, and a total of over 30 nations. It was licensed to be manufactured by Canadair and by Kawasaki in Japan.

A total of 6,557 Shooting Stars were produced, 5,691 by Lockheed, 210 by Kawasaki and 656 by Canadair.

For more information on the T-33 Shooting Star from the free 'Wikipedia' click here



T-33A-1-LO - Constr #: 580-6911 - Serial No: 51-9127 (U.S. Air Force)

The known history of this aircraft is listed below.

Date Squadron Squadron Name Location
1953 May 8 Delivered    
1953 May 3525th Flying Training Wing (Air Training Command)   Tyndall AFB, FL
1955 May 3525th Combat Crew Training Wing (ATC)   Tyndall AFB, FL
Deployment to Edwards AFB, CA
1956 Nov 3600th Combat Crew Training Wing (ATC)   Luke AFB, AZ
1957 Aug 3550th Combat Crew Training Wing (ATC)   Moody AFB, GA
1958 Aug 3550th Flying Training Wing (ATC)   Moody AFB, GA
Deployment to Nellis AFB, NV
1958 Sep 3575th Pilot Training Wing (ATC)   Vance AFB, OK
Deployment to Reese AFB, TX
1961 May 4520th Combat Crew Training Wing (Tactical Air Command)   Nellis AFB, NV
Deployment to England AFB, LA
1968 Mar 25 Stricken from Inventory   AF Logistics Command
Oakland, CA

Date Squadron Squadron Name Location
1968 Mar     Transferred to other agency
....     ....
1969     Private Ownership - Richmond, CA
         Ralph Johnson
      Registered as N123MJ
1972     Private Ownership - Oakland, CA
         American Air Museum
1977     Private Ownership - San Francisco, CA
         Archie Baldocchi
1978 Oct 2     Certificate of Airworthiness Issued
Registered as NX9127
1984     Private Ownership - West Palm Beach, FL
         A. H. Massey
1986     Private Ownership - Deer Valley, AZ
         Thunderbird Aviation
1988     ....
1990 Jun     Private Ownership - Hampshire, IL
         Louis Antonacci
1992 Feb 25     Private Ownership - Oxford, OH
         Rolf F. Brunckhorst
1998 Jun 29     Private Ownership - Burr Ridge, IL
         Tee Bird Corporation
2015 Jan     Warbird Heritage Foundation