Today in 1958 the T-2 Buckeye flew for the first time. If you were a US Navy or Marine Corps jet pilot or Naval Flight Officer (NFO) from the late 1950’s until 2004 you received training in the T-2 Buckeye. Affectionately called the ‘Fightin Buckeye’ or ‘Pregnant Guppie’ because of its fuselage shape the T-2 served almost 50 years before it was officially retired in 2008.
The Buckeye was the first jet that carrier pilots in training used to initially land on the ship learning the trademark skill of Naval Aviation. The jet was designed to be a multi-role training aircraft and was utilized by the Navy in the intermediate jet training stage. Student pilots completed the intermediate jet training stage flying the T-2 when they successfully landed on the aircraft carrier for the first time. Then student pilots moved on to advanced jet training flying the A-4 Skyhawk.
All T-2 Buckeyes were manufactured by North American at Air Force Plant 85, located just south of Port Columbus Airport in Columbus, Ohio. 273 aircraft were built during its production run. The name Buckeye refers to the state tree of Ohio, as well as the mascot of the Ohio State University. – Wikipedia
Aviation is inherently dangerous but carrier aviation especially so. October 29,1989 a US Navy T-2C Buckeye piloted by a student pilot, crashed on the training carrier USS Lexington (AVT-16). Five people were killed including the pilot. Note that student pilots fly solo on their first carrier landings.
Watch the T-2 Buckeye Crash on the Lexington
Watch: T-2 Buckeye
Length: 38 ft 3 1⁄2 in (11.67 m)
Wingspan: 38 ft 1 1⁄2 in (11.62 m)
Height: 14 ft 9 1⁄2 in (4.51 m)
Max. takeoff weight: 13,179 lb (5,977 kg)
Powerplant: 2 × General Electric J85-GE-4 turbojets, 2,950 lbf (13.12 kN) each
Maximum speed: 453 knots (522 mph, 840 km/h) at 25,000 feet (7,600 m)
Range: 909 nmi (1,047 mi, 1,685 km)
Service ceiling: 40,400 ft (12,315 m)
Rate of climb: 6,200 ft/min (31.5 m/s)
The T-2 was also sold to Greece (40) and Venezuela (12). If you have a T-2 story share it in the comments below.
Featured image of Ensign Myciel Scott, a student pilot assigned to the “Tigers” of Training Squadron Nine (VT-9), with Major Tim Harp (USMCR), an instructor with VT-9, demonstrate formation flying in a T-2C Buckeye during a training mission over Key West, Florida by US Navy