Monday, July 11, 2022

A Trio of Trainers At The Selfridge Open House

Three Trainers were featured at the air show (there were some others and we'll get to them later.)

These three are special as all three were in active service at Selfridge through the years,

First to fly was the first aircraft that operated from Selfridge Field, back before it was an Air National guard base and literally had a field for a runway.

The Curtis JN04 Jenny:


The Curtis JN-4 Jenny was how America learned to fly, with 95% of all US pilots in World War One having trained in a JN-4 Jenny.

With a max speed of 75 mph, and cruising at a sprightly 60 miles per hour, this aircraft trained America's pilots to fight in the air in the Great War. Over 6,000 were manufactured to teach pilots how to fly.

After World War 1, thousands of JN-4s were sold off on the surplus market and pilots coming home from the war spread aviation far and wide with them across America and the golden age of barnstorming was born.

JN-4s in flying condition are now extremely rare.

The Jenny opened the show as the first aircraft flying at Selfridge this year to mark the 100 years of the base as an airfield.

The T-6 Texan. 

This bird as the T-6 Texan trained America's pilots for World War Two, and as the Harvard it trained the pilots of the British Commonwealth as well.  Over 15,000 T-6s of all models were built to serve the needs of the Allies' growing air arms.

This T-6 is in colors commemorating the Tuskegee Airmen, who trained and learned to fly in the T-6 before moving on to the P-51 Mustang. 

The 332nd fighter group (The Tuskegee Airmen) served at Selfridge in 1943.

The third trainer was the Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star.  

The trainer for the jet age.  

Developed from the United State's first jet fighter, the P-80, the T-33 was a long-serving two-seat sub-sonic trainer with the US armed forces.  Nicknamed the "Ace Maker",  the plane trained the majority of Korean War jet fighter  aces.

The T-33 has a top speed of 600 mph or 520 knots.

The T-33 was in service with the USA from 1948 to 1997, though phased out of front-line triangle service in the 1970s.  The last user of the T-33, the Bolivian Air Force retired its T-33s in 2017 - after 44 years of service in their Air Force and 69 years after the type was introduced. A total of 6,557 T-33 were produced by Lockhhed, Canadair, and Kawasaki.

All three trainers had served at Selfridge and all three were very successful as training aircraft in their respective eras.


Rick T said...

You have to wonder how many original parts are in that Jenny...

Old NFO said...

Great pics, and re the Jenny, probably the data plate...