The Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star (or T-Bird) is an American jet trainer aircraft. It was produced by Lockheed and made its first flight in 1948 piloted by Tony LeVier. The T-33 was developed from the Lockheed P-80/F-80 starting as TP-80C/TF-80C in development, then designated T-33A. It was used by the U.S. Navy initially as TO-2 then TV-2, and after 1962, T-33B. Despite its vintage the T-33 remains in service worldwide.
Design and development
The T-33 was developed from the Lockheed P-80/F-80 by lengthening the fuselage by slightly over three feet and adding a second seat, instrumentation and flight controls. It was initially designated as a variant of the P-80/F-80, the TP-80C/TF-80C.
Design work for the Lockheed P-80 began in 1943 with the first flight on 8 January 1944. Following on the Bell P-59, the P-80 became the first jet fighter to enter full squadron service in the United States Army Air Forces. As more advanced jets entered service, the F-80 took on another role—training jet pilots. The two-place T-33 jet was designed for training pilots already qualified to fly propeller-driven aircraft.
Originally designated the TF-80C, the T-33 made its first flight on 22 March 1948 with US production taking place from 1948 to 1959. The US Navy used the T-33 as a land-based trainer starting in 1949. It was designated the TV-2, but was redesignated the T-33B in 1962. The Navy operated some ex-USAF P-80Cs as the TO-1, changed to the TV-1 about a year later. A carrier-capable version of the P-80/T-33 family was subsequently developed by Lockheed, eventually leading to the late 1950s to 1970s T2V-1/T-1A SeaStar. The two prototype TF-80Cs were modified as prototypes for an all-weather two-seater fighter variant which became the F-94 Starfire. A total of 6,557 Shooting Stars were produced, 5,691 by Lockheed, 210 by Kawasaki and 656 by Canadair.
The two-place T-33 proved suitable as an advanced trainer, and it has been used for such tasks as drone director and target towing. The U.S. Air Force began phasing the T-33 out of front line pilot training duties in the Air Training Command in the early 1960s as the T-37 Tweet and T-38 Talon aircraft began replacing it under the Undergraduate Pilot Training (UPT) construct. Similar replacement also occurred in the U.S. Navy with the TV-1 (also renamed T-33 in 1962) as more advanced aircraft such as the T-2 Buckeye and TA-4 Skyhawk II came on line. USAF and USN versions of the T-33 soldiered on into the 1970s and 1980s with USAF and USN as utility aircraft and proficiency trainers, with some of the former USN aircraft being expended as full scale aerial targets for air-to-air missile tests from naval aircraft and surface-to-air missile tests from naval vessels. Several T-33s were assigned to USAF F-101 Voodoo, F-102 Delta Dagger and F-106 Delta Dart units, to include similarly equipped Air National Guard units, of the Aerospace Defense Command as proficiency trainers and practice "bogey" aircraft. Others later went to Tactical Air Command and TAC-gained Air National Guard F-106 and F-4 Phantom II units in a similar role until they were finally retired.
===Military Use by Other Nations=== Some T-33s retained two machine guns for gunnery training, and in some countries, the T-33 was even employed as a combat aircraft: the Cuban Air Force used them during the Bay of Pigs Invasion, scoring several kills. The RT-33A version, reconnaissance aircraft produced primarily for use by foreign countries, had a camera installed in the nose and additional equipment in the rear cockpit. T-33s continued to fly as currency trainers, drone towing, combat and tactical simulation training, "hack" aircraft, electronic countermeasures and warfare training and test platforms right into the 1980s.
The T-33 has served with over 30 nations, and continues to operate as a trainer in smaller air forces. Canadair built 656 T-33s on licence for service in the RCAF—Canadian Forces as the CT-133 Silver Star while Kawasaki manufactured 210 in Japan. Other operators included Brazil, Turkey and Thailand which used the T-33 extensively.
In the 1980s, an attempt was made to modify and modernize the T-33 as the Boeing Skyfox, but a lack of orders led to the cancellation of the project. About 70% of the T-33's airframe was retained in the Skyfox, but it was powered by two Garrett AiResearch TFE731-3A turbofan engines.
In the late 1990s, 18 T-33 Mk-III and T-33 SF-SC from the Bolivian Air Force went to Canada to be modernized at Kelowna Flightcraft. New avionics were installed, and detailed inspection and renewal of the fuselage and wings were performed. Most of the aircraft returned in early 2001 and remain operational.
A limited number of T-33s have found their way into private hands; some current owners: Michael Dorn of Star Trek: The Next Generation fame, Canadair T-33. and northern California based Greg Colyer of the T33 Heritage Foundation who operates a Canadair CT-133 Silver Star monikered "Ace Maker". Various T-33s are based out of Wendover Airport, Utah. Kay Eckhardt has his T-33s based at Wendover they are a Blue Angels variant and a baremetal USAF version.
On 6 September 2006, Imperial War Museum Duxford's Canadair T-33 (G-TBRD), owned by the Golden Apple Trust, was destroyed in a takeoff accident; the crew survived. G-TBRD was the first jet warbird to be operated from Duxford, arriving in 1975; it was originally registered as G-OAHB.
In 2008, several T-33s in storage at CFD Mountain View, an old World War II era RCAF base south of Trenton, Ontario, were sold to various private collectors. Six airplanes were purchased by a newly formed museum out of London, Ontario, called the Jet Aircraft Museum (JAM), associated with the Canadian Harvard Aircraft Association, which purchased the aircraft on behalf of JAM. The six airplanes, formerly designated #133346, now C-FUPM; #133500, now C-FUPO; and #133573, now C-FUPP, as well as #133052, #133263 and #133441, will be flown in airshows and for memorials across Canada and in parts of the USA. Other T-33s have also been sold to various US and Canadian buyers.
In 2010, a T-33 Shooting Star owned by Boeing was used as a chase aircraft during the maiden flight of the Boeing 787 and Boeing 747-8
- Original United States military designation for the Lockheed Model 580 two-seat trainer for the US Army Air Forces. Designation changed to TF-80C on 11 June 1948 following establishment of the US Air Force as a separate military service in 1947, and then to T-33A on 5 May 1949; 20 built.
US Air Force
- Two-seat jet trainer aircraft for the United States Air Force and delivery to foreign air forces under the Military Aid Program,
- Close support variant of the T-33As fitted with underwing pylons and hard points for bombs and rockets for export.
- This designation was given to a number of T-33As converted into drone directors.
- This designation was given to a number of T-33As converted into special test aircraft.
- This designation was given to number of T-33As converted into aerial target drones for the United States Navy.
- T-33A modified before delivery as a single-seat reconnaissance variant; 85 built, mainly for export under the Military Aid Program.
- U.S. Navy designation of P-80C, 50 transferred to USN in 1949 as jet trainers (not technically T-33 Shooting Star)
- United States Navy designation for 649 T-33As diverted from USAF production. Two-seat land-based jet training aircraft for the US Navy. First 28 were delivered as TO-2s before the Navy changed the designation to TV-2. Surviving United States Navy and United States Marine Corps aircraft were re-designated T-33B on 18 September 1962.
- Re-designation of the TO-2 after the first 28 were built.
- TV-2s modified as drone directors, later re-designated DT-33B.
- TV-2s modified as radio-controlled targets, could be flown as a single-seater for ferry, later re-designated DT-33C.
- Re-designation of the TV-2 in 1962.
- Re-designation of the TV-2D drone director in 1962.
- Re-designation of the TV-2KD target in 1962
- T-33AN/CT-133 Silver Star Mk 3
- The T-33AN is a Rolls-Royce Nene powered-variant of the T-33A for the Royal Canadian Air Force; 656 built by Canadair with the company designation CL-30. Canadian military designation was later changed from T-33AN to CT-133.
- One Lockheed owned fuselage with a more powerful engine. Was later developed in to the T2V SeaStar.
T-33 of the Belgian Air Force
Two T-33s of the Bolivian Air Force
A T-33 Shooting Star of the Hellenic Air Force
T-33 Portuguese Air Force
T-33 Philippine Air Force
T-33 T-Bird of French Air Force in 1980 on the Air Base 705 of Tours
- Bolivian Air Force 34 × T-33. Still in service, the only air force in the world which still operate this aircraft
- Burma (all retired)
- Canada—See Canadair T-33
- Chile (all retired)
- Republic of China
- Dominican Republic
- Ecuador (all retired)
- El Salvador (all retired)
- France (all retired)
- (One is on static exhibit outside the east entrance to the Mundo Maya International Airport near Flores, restored to polished aluminum finish) (all retired)
- Honduras (all retired)
- Indonesia (all retired)
- Iran (all retired)
- Italy (all retired)
- Japan (all retired)
- Libya (all retired)
- Fuerza Aérea de Nicaragua FAN received delivery of four AT- 33A aircraft from the US Government after the failed Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961.Retired from service in 1979 (all retired)
- Paraguayan Air Force operated six AT-33A donated by Taiwan in 1990. The belonged to the Grupo Aerotáctico (GAT) 2nd. Fighter Squadron called "Indios". They were withdrawn from use in 1998.
- Peru (all retired)
- Saudi Arabia (all retired)
- South Korea
- United States
- Uruguay (all retired)
- Yugoslavia (all retired)
A Lockheed T-33 in Reno, Nevada in 2004
Numerous T-33s have been preserved as museum and commemorative displays including:
- RT-33A-1-LO, 14413 (AF Ser. No. 51-04413), USAF aircraft forced to land in December 1957 at Rinas Airport (Albania) by a squadron of 2 Albanian MiG-15bis - in static display at Gjirokastra Museum -
- Unknown T-33, on static display in Armed Forces Museum(တပ္မေတာ္စစ္သမိုင္းၿပတိုက္)in Yangon .
- Unknown T-33, on static display in the Brazilian Museu Aeroespacial - Musal in Rio de Janeiro.
- Unknown T-33, on static display in front of Assis Airport in Assis.
- Former Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) #133346,#133500,#133573 respectively registered as C-FUPM,C-FUPO,C-FUPP restored to flying condition with the Jet Aircraft Museum, London, Ontario.
- Former Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) #133052,#133263,#133441 under restoration to flying condition with the Jet Aircraft Museum, London, Ontario.
- Former Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) on a plinth, Pictou, Nova Scotia.
- First RCAF T-33 21001 purchased by Lynn Garrison in 1964 for display. Now on a plinth in Edmonton, Alberta.
T-33A Royal Danish Air Force - Now gate guard at the Air Force Flying School
- T-33A DT-102 #51-9102 On static display at Danmarks Flymuseum, Stauning
- T-33A DT-104 #51-8404 In storage at Aalborg Air Force Base
- T-33A DT-289 #580-7073 On static Display at Garnisonsmuseet, Aalborg
- T-33A DT-491 #51-4491 On static display at Danmarks Tekniske Museum, Helsingør
- T-33A DT-497 #51-6497 Gate Guard at RDAF Flying School
- T-33A DT-884 #51-8884 Under restoration at Skrydstrup Air Force Base
- T-33A DT-905 #51-8905 On static display at Gedhus museum
- T-33A DT-923 #51-8923 In storage at Danmarks Tekniske Museum, Helsingør
- Various T-33s are on static display at the Mexican Air Force Museum, Mexican Army and Air Force Museum and individual air bases.
- T-33 on display on Philippine Air Force Museum at Villamor Air Base
- T-33s on display at Clark Air Base and Basa Air Base in Pampanga Province.
- T-33A on display at Las Palmas Air Base, Lima.
A retired RSAF's T-33A 364 on static display
- T-33A, 53-5929, on display at Royal Thai Air Force Museum, Don Muang AFB.
- T-33A, 53-6140, on display at Chitladda Palace.
- T-33A, c/n 580-5581, USAF serial 51-4286, also ex French Air Force - Imperial War Museum, Duxford (American Air Museum) - suspended from ceiling.
One of 1,970 "T-Bird" 2-seat trainers, ordered in US Fiscal year 1951, c/n 580-5581 was built at Burbank, California and was allocated USAF serial 51-4286. Apart from test flights, it did not serve with the USAF and was shipped to the French AF in 04.52 under the Mutual Defense Aid Program (MDAP). Served with CIFAS 328 Training Establishment at Cognac and later at Bordeaux/Merignac. Coded WK. At end of French service it was flown to RAF Sculthorpe 25.01.78 for storage and eventual disposal. Roaded to Duxford on 08.04.79 for the IWM.
- T-33A-1-LOA, USAF S/N 53-5205, on display at Aerospace Museum, McClellan PArk (former McClellan AFB) Sacramento, Ca.
- T-33A-1-LO, 53-5974, is on display at the National Museum of the United States Air Force at
Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH.
- T-33A-1-LO, 51-4301 is on static display at Vance Air Force Base, Oklahoma.
- T-33A-1-LO, 58-0629 is on display at Castle Air Museum at the former Castle Air Force Base in Atwater, California.
- The town of Othello, Washington in the United States has a decommissioned T-33 on display in a park near the City Hall.
- T-33A-1-LO, 58-2106 is on display at McChord Air Museum, McChord Air Force Base, Washington.
- T-33A-1-LO, 51-2129? is in display at the Collings Foundation in Stow, Massachusetts.
- T-33A-5-LO, 53-5226N is on display at the National Air and Space Museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center.
- T-33A Greenville, Mississippi airport on static display.
- T-33A, 52-9497 is on display at the Air Mobility Command Museum, Dover Air Force Base, Delaware
- T-33A, 58-0542 is mounted outside the JROTC Gen C Powell Hall (Central High School JROTC, TX-936) on Highway 67 in San Angelo, Texas. Formerly N10265 at Texas State Technical College in Waco.
- T-33A on display at Jacksonville Air National Guard Base, Florida
- T-33A-1-LO, 51-6612 on display at Masonic Lodge Willacoochee, Georgia, on U.S. Route 82
- T-33A on display at National Guard Armory Waynesboro, Georgia
- T-33, 53-421, Modified as a play structure at Oak Meadow Park Los Gatos, California.
- T-33 located at Southeast Iowa Regional Airport in Burlington, Iowa.
T-33A, Jackson County Airport
- 2 unknown T-33s, on static display at the Naval Air Station Wildwood Aviation Museum, Cape May, New Jersey
- Unknown T-33, is under restoration to flying condition with the Collings Foundation out of their Houston, Texas facility.
- Unknown T-33, on static display, city park Hart, Michigan.
- T-33A tail #80509 serial #58-509 on static display at Jackson County Airport (Michigan)
- Unknown T-33, on static display at the Franklin Institute, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; painted as USAF tail number 0-36038.
- T-33 on static display at Harrison County Airport, Cadiz, Ohio, USA, tail USAF #29785.
- T-33, TR-932 on static display at Wood County Regional Airport, Bowling Green, Ohio, USA, tail USAF #34932. Wood County Regional Airport.
- T-33 USAF tail #36053 on static display at Tiger Stadium, Louisiana State University Campus, Baton Rouge.
- Unknown T-33 on static display at a VFW post in Wilmington, North Carolina.
- Unknown T-33 tail #14505 on static display at a Tri-County Airport west of Ahoskie, North Carolina.
- Unknown T-33 in storage at Carolinas Aviation Museum, Charlotte-Douglas International Airport, Charlotte, North Carolina.
- 2nd Unknown T-33 in storage at Carolinas Aviation Museum, Charlotte-Douglas International Airport, Charlotte, North Carolina.
- T-33A 35979 is on display at the Prairie Aviation Museum in Bloomington, Illinois.
- T-33 on display at the Palm Springs Air Museum, Palm Springs, California.
- T-33A USAF Tail #19263 on static display at City Hall of Brooklyn, Ohio, USA.
- T-33A USAF Tail #0416988 on static display in Williams Park in Gibsonburg, Ohio.
- T-33A USAF on static display at Hector Municipal Airport in Hector, Minnesota.
- T-33A on display at Vintage Flying Museum, Meacham International Airport, Fort Worth, Texas.
- T-33 on static display at Kansas Aviation Museum, Wichita, Kansas.
- T-33 56-1747 on static display at American Airpower Museum, Farmingdale, New York
- T-33 51-09091 on static display in Houma, Louisiana, since May 1970
- T-33 53-06073 on static display at Kindley Park in Gravette, Arkansas, since June 1966
- Unknown T-33 as Gate Guard display at Davis Field, Muskogee, OK
- T-33 on display at Illinois Aviation Museum in Bolingbrook, Illinois
- T-33 on static display in Moline, KS
- T-33 Used as storage facility sign. On US 23 south of McDonough, GA
- T-33A 58-0548 on display at Strategic Air & Space Museum, Ashland, Nebraska
- Four unknown T-33s, on static display at:
- Uruguayan Air Force Airbase #2 (St. Bernardina, Durazno)
- Airbase #1 (Carrasco Intl. Airport)
- ETA (Technical Air School)
- Cnel. (Av.) Jaime Meregalli.Museo Aeronáutico (Air Museum)
- Guns: 2 × 0.50 in (12.7 mm) Browning M3 machine guns with 350 rpg (for AT-33)
- Hardpoints: 2 with a capacity of 2,000 lb (907 kg) of bombs or rocket pods
- Related development
- Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
- Related lists
- Baugher, Joe. "Lockheed P-80/F-80." Lockheed P-80/F-80. Retrieved: 11 June 2011.
- Davis, Larry. P-80 Shooting Star. T-33/F-94 in action. Carrollton, Texas: Squadron/Signal Publications, 1980. ISBN 0-89747-099-0.
- Dorr, Robert F. "P-80 Shooting Star Variants". Wings of Fame Vol. 11. London: Aerospace Publishing Ltd., 1998. ISBN 1-86184-017-9.
- Hiltermann, Gijs. Lockheed T-33 (Vliegend in Nederland 3) (in Dutch). Eindhoven, Netherlands: Flash Aviation, 1988. ISBN 978-90-71553-04-2.
- Pace, Steve. Lockheed Skunk Works. St. Paul, Minnesota: Motorbooks International, 1992. ISBN 0-87938-632-0.