The most widely used jet trainer in the world is the Lockheed T-33 Silver Star. Essentially a two-seat version of the USAF F-80, America's first operation jet fighter, the T-33 continues in use today.
After introduction of the P-80 Shooting Star, Lockheed undertook a private venture to develop the T-33 trainer. By extending the fuselage and canopy by three feet, an extra pilot could be accommodated. The result was a world-class jet trainer of which 5,781 would be built over its first decade of production. A generation of flying cadets became pilots in the front seat of the T-33.
The U. S. Navy also needed a Jet trainer but the low speed handling of the T-33 was judged unsuitable for carrier landings. Lockheed again went to work, creating the T2V-1 Sea Star which included leading and trailing edge flaps to solve the low speed requirements. By 1958 the Navy had received the first of 700 T2V-1s.
The operational life of America's T-33 finally came to its end in 1987 when the last T-33 was retired from the Air National Guard. However, it lives on in several Latin American countries which still operate the aircraft more than a half century since it was initially deployed.
Planes of Fame Air Museum's Canadair CT-33 "Silver Star" is used as the pace airplane for the Unlimited Air Races every year at Reno, Nevada.
Model: CT-33A Silver Star
Registration Number: NX377JP
Serial Number: 580-8495
Max T/O Weight: 15,100 lb.
Span: 37 ft. 6 in.
Length: 37 ft. 8 in.
Height: 11 ft. 7 in.
Maximum Speed: 525 mph
Cruise Speed: 455 mph
Rate of Climb: 4,870 ft/min
Power Plant: 1-Allison J33-A-35 turbojet with 5,400 lbs. of thrust