Paul Keppler flies his beautiful
Rolls-Royce powered CT-133, which he
acquired in 2002 from the
Canadian Armed Forces.
(Photo by Aaron Marshall)
History: The T-33 was the most widely used
jet trainer in the world. A two-seat version of the USAF's first jet fighter, the F-80
Shooting Star, the T-33 continues to serve in various armed forces today.
The T-33 is a F-80 with a lengthened fuselage to make room for
the second tandem seat. It entered service during the 1950s, and the US Navy also acquired
the type and had it modified for blue-water operation as the TV-2.
It was the USAFs first jet trainer. It soon was dubbed the 'T-Bird' and was being produced
under license in both Japan and Canada. In Japan, Kawasaki built 210 of these trainers. In
Canada, the T-33 was designated the CL-30 Silver Star and the
Allison turbojets of the original were replaced with Canadian built Rolls-Royce Nene 10
engines. The type still serves as a trainer for both countries. Limited numbers were also
produced for export, some being modified to carry light armament. While only 1,718 P-80
Shooting Stars were built, nearly 7,000 T-33s saw active service around the world.
Until recently, the T-33 continued to serve in Canada as a target tug and general utility aircraft,
having been re-designated the CT-133. Additional examples are
still in active military service in Japan and several other nations. About 50 are in the
hands of warbird operators, mostly in the United States.
Nicknames: T-Bird; Wakataka
("Young Hawk") (Kawasaki-built T-33s in the Japanese Air Self-Defense Force)
Engine: One 5,200-pound thrust Allison J33-A-35 turbojet engine
Weight: Empty 8,084 lbs., Max
Takeoff 14,442 lbs.
Wing Span: 38ft. 10.5in.
Length: 37ft. 9in.
Height: 11ft. 8in.
Number Built: ~7,000
Number Still Airworthy: Unknown number in
active military service; At least 50 operated as privately-owned warbirds.
AeroWeb T-33 Page
Air Combat Warfare International, Breslau,
Ontario, Canada -- Contract T-33s available for test work, training, DACT, etc.
Aviation History Online
Museum -- Lockheed P-80
"Skyfox" history (T-33 variant)
Go Thunderbirds -- Marketing of T-33
"Old Pilots and Old Memories": Joe Connell goes for a nostalgic flight
in a T-33.
Preserved Military Aircraft:
T-33 and F-80
"Red Knight" -- T-33 jet
Heritage Foundation -- Non-profit heritage foundation; flies a T-33.
T-33/T-1/CT-133 Reference Sources
USAF Museum T-33 Page
Special Feature: "A
Ride in a T-33" -- Contributor Gordon Feliciano shares his flight experience.
Lockheed T-33: A Photo Chronicle
By David McLaren
Paperback, 124 pages
Published 1999 by Schiffer Aviation History
This book does an excellent job covering the development,
history and service of the venerable T-Bird. There are also good chapters on foreign use,
and on the civilian warbirds that still fly today.
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Doublestar Group, unless otherwise noted.
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