7.7 meters (25 feet 3 inches)
Height: 3.9 meters
(12 feet 11 inches)
meters (46 feet 4.5 inches)
15.70 square meters (170 square feet)
5485 kilograms (12093 pounds)
Range: 1759 kilometers
Engines: two General
Electric J85-GE-5A engines
T-38 Talon jet has been used for advanced pilot training
since the 1960s, enabling student pilots to learn supersonic
techniques, aerobatics, night and instrument flying and
cross-country navigation. The Talon is made primarily
of riveted aluminum alloy and can take off with as little
as 2,300 ft of runway, climbing to 30,000 ft in one minute.
In addition to its role as a supersonic trainer, the T-38
is used as a spaceflight readiness trainer for NASA astronauts
and as a research support aircraft (also known as a chase
aircraft, a plane used to escort planes during test flights
or other research misions) at Edwards Air Force Base.
first T-38 flew in 1959, and the Air Force obtained over
1,000 of the planes between 1961 and 1972. About half
of the planes are still in service.
Science Center's T-38
Our T-38 Talon was built in 1959 at Northrop Field in
Hawthorne, California. It entered the Air Force inventory
in 1960. The Talon is on loan from the U.S. Air Force
This page from the U.S. Air Force Museum mentions the
T-38's use at the Navy's Top Gun combat training program,
and also highlights Jacqueline Cochran's record-breaking
flights, made in the early '60s.
Military Analysis Network: T-38 Talon
The best features of this page from the Federation of
American Scientists are the excellent photos of Talons
in flight, along with the detailed list of Talon specifications.
The dramatic story of Jackie Cochran's life is summarized
on this site from the Smithsonian, which also includes
an account of Cochran's leadership of women pilots during
World War II and a listing of many of her flight awards
and accomplishments. Cochran set an altitude record for
women in the T-38 on October 12, 1961.