Talk:Northrop T-38 Talon

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Citing fuel and maintenance costs, the Thunderbirds aerobatic display team of the U.S. Air Force used the T-38 Talon from 1974 until 1983 when it was replaced by the F-16 Fighting Falcon.

The underlined phrase is vague.

Were fuel and maintenance costs the reason they continued using the t-38 from 74 to 83 (e.g. it was the least expensive option at the time) or was that the reason they abandoned it for teh F-16 (because it was too expensive)?

Actually, fuel and maintenance costs were the reason they were flown from 74 until 83 (post Vietnam war, oil crisis). The T-38 is a very inexpensive aircraft to fly and that is why it will still be operating as a advanced flight trainer until 2020.


The statement " is estimated that some 50,000 military pilots have trained on this aircraft" seems to be an understatement. From the early '60s until the early '90s, every USAF pilot training student flew the T-38. Since the '90s, about 30% of the USAF pilot trainees have flown the T-38. During the Cold War the USAF had at least 20,000 pilots at any given time, and today it must be around 15,000. The total number of pilots who trained on the T-38 must be at least 150,000. Does anyone have a better number than 50,000? Hildenja 17:55, 21 August 2007 (UTC)

Check the given source for this one. Realize that there are likely only 100-400 students that complete training at each base each year. While the cadre of Air Force pilots does primarily come from UPT, there are other sources of training. Some are pilots that have transferred from the Army/Navy. Others flew with the Navy in joint training. Others may be reservists who got experience from flying with the airlines. Still others got training prior to the introduction of the T-38. That said, 50,000 to 70,000 seems pretty close (there was a significant drawdown in pilot training after Vietnam...a kneejerk reaction by nearsighted politicians...) BQZip01 talk 21:22, 21 August 2007 (UTC)

WikiProject class rating[edit]

This article was automatically assessed because at least one article was rated and this bot brought all the other ratings up to at least that level. BetacommandBot 10:25, 27 August 2007 (UTC)

Picture error[edit]

The picture labled as a restored t-38 is infact an f-5. I believe it is the B model, but you can tell it is not a t-38 because of the wingtip rails used to mount fuel tanks or missiles. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:41, 11 May 2008 (UTC)

According to the FAA data for N675TC it is a F-5B msn 8064 (former Jordanian 233, Iranian 3-7007 and USAF 68-9086). MilborneOne (talk) 09:00, 11 May 2008 (UTC)
??? Appears to be a T-38. Note the dual canopies. F-5s don't have those. While there is certainly only one pilot on board, it cartainly can fly with only one person. Furthermore, some T-38s have those connection points or perhaps they were taken from an F-5, but the fuselage looks nothing like an F-5. — BQZip01 — talk 21:56, 11 May 2008 (UTC)
Can you back that up with a website? — BQZip01 — talk 21:56, 11 May 2008 (UTC)
OK I presume you will tell the FAA that they are wrong [1], another image of the same aircraft [2] all the images on Google of F-5Bs have two canopies!! MilborneOne (talk) 22:14, 11 May 2008 (UTC)
Didnt understand the comment about pilots as both the T-38 and F-5B are two-seaters and both can fly with only one pilot. MilborneOne (talk) 22:19, 11 May 2008 (UTC)
Ok, no need to be testy. My bad. I was completely unaware of the 2-seater F-5. Good to know. That said, please don't simply delete pictures. Perhaps they could be moved to a more appropriate article. — BQZip01 — talk 23:05, 11 May 2008 (UTC)
No problem - please note that deleting the image from an article does not delete the image it is on Commons and can be recalled or reused at any time. MilborneOne (talk) 11:15, 12 May 2008 (UTC)


Dry thrust and thrust with afterburner should have the same units, no? lb vs. lbf (foot-lbs?). --InsufficientData (talk) 09:18, 9 January 2009 (UTC)

better image?[edit]

I found this image of a t-38, thought it might be a better image then that which is already here: t-38 with shuttle as backdrop -- (talk) 20:26, 4 May 2009 (UTC)

Aircraft on display[edit]

There is an T-38 on static display at the main gate of Beale AFB, CA. The base also has a number of T-38's that are supported by Lockheed Martin, but are Air Force owned. These aircraft are painted in black. 07:50, 7 August 2011 (UTC)

Use by shuttle astronauts[edit]

There seems to be (or have been, now) something of a tradition of space shuttle crews arriving at the launch site in these aircraft prior to their missions. See e.g. this report. What was the reason for that? Beorhtwulf (talk) 19:30, 23 August 2011 (UTC)

That is a long-standing tradition, back to the Gemini and Apollo days. The astronauts would habitually fly in the T-38 to do all of their business travel from their base in Houston (e.g., to spacecraft contractor sites), and that includes to KSC for launch. JustinTime55 (talk) 16:09, 22 August 2012 (UTC)
Thank you, I have added a mention to the article. Beorhtwulf (talk) 13:57, 9 March 2017 (UTC)

Safety record improvement?[edit]

A question occurred to me, in the same vein as the above thread, while looking through the NASA Astronaut Corps article. I find it surprising that the four Gemini-Apollo era astronaut fatalaties listed here are the only ones (for astronauts), in light of the fact that there were approximately 54 in the first five groups back then, a rate of one in 13.5. Since many more astronauts have been added since then, and the article gives the current active number at 53, wouldn't it be reasonable to expect several more fatalities since 1967? If they're still flying the T-38's, what caused the safety record to improve? Or are we missing more T-38 astronaut fatalaties? JustinTime55 (talk) 16:21, 22 August 2012 (UTC)

Thunderbird 6 during the Joint Base Lewis-McChord Air Expo July 22, 2012[edit]

Headline: "60 best shots of military tech in action" [Looking back from from 2014 to 2012]

"Mar. 25, 2013: Hardware - Honorable Mention: Capt. Blaine Jones takes off in Thunderbird 6 during the Joint Base Lewis-McChord Air Expo July 22, 2012. Source: U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Larry E. Reid" [Showing a T-38] — FYI, Charles Edwin Shipp (talk) 14:55, 13 February 2014 (UTC)

Mention of Pakistan as an operator[edit]

Someone had added Pakistan to the list of operators after unconfirmed rumors of Turkey donating a number of T-38 to Pakistan. Turkey is indeed donating some jet trainers to Pakistan, but they are Cessna T-37's, not T-38 Talons.

Turkish Air Force uses its T-38 fleet very actively, and does not have any T-38 to spare as gifts to any country. I removed Pakistan from the list of operators.

T-38 Fact Sheet update[edit]

The article uses an archived version of the USAF's T-38 Fact Sheet as a reference. The current Fact Sheet is located at: It states that the USAF has 546 T-38 aircraft (as of January 2014), while the article says 508 (as of September 2012), from a different source. (talk) 03:53, 28 November 2015 (UTC)

T-38 on display[edit]

This one is missing from the list. Its tail number is 10806 and was built in 1961. Was retired from the USAF in 1994 and installed on this pedestal by the American Legion in 1996.,-74.5356456,141m/data=!3m1!1e3 — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:29, 3 May 2016 (UTC)

Germany still operates the T-38[edit]

The article lists Germany as en ex-operator of the airraft, however the Luftwaffe still operates some 35 T-38C. They are based at Sheppard AFB with the 80th Flying Training Wing. Due to legal reasons, the planes fly in US markings but still are property of the Luftwaffe. 2003:74:CC62:9501:F026:6E8E:61AD:3BA6 (talk) 21:25, 22 July 2016 (UTC)