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North American CT-39A Sabreliner

In 1956 the U.S. Air Force requested proposals for a small jet trainer and transport from aircraft manufacturers.  Since the government felt that the aircraft would also have commercial applications it requested that the prototypes be designed and delivered to the Air Force at no cost to the government.  North American responded with the Sabreliner which first flew in September 1958.  By 1960 it had been accepted by the Air Force and had received its commercial certification.  Both military and civil orders followed with a total of 599 eventually being built.  

Service History

Manufactured by North American Aviation, Inglewood, California, as a T-39A and delivered to the U.S. Air Force on December 28, 1962.

January 1963               To 327th Fighter Group, Truax AFB, Wisconsin.

March 1966                 To 4756th Air Defense Wing, Tyndall AFB, Florida.

June 1967                    To 3800th Air Base Wing, Maxwell AFB, Alabama.

July 1968                    To 1001st Composite Wing, Andrews AFB, Maryland.

July 1975                    To 1402nd Military Airlift Squadron, Andrews AFB, Maryland.

March 1977                 Unit moved to Shaw AFB, South Carolina.

July 1977                    Redesignated CT-39A.

November 1985          Dropped from inventory by transfer to museum.

April 1986                   Loaned to Pima Air & Space Museum by the National Museum of the United States Air Force.


44 ft 5 in.


43 ft 9 in.


16 ft


17,760 lbs (loaded)

Maximum Speed

595 MPH

Service Ceiling

39,000 ft


1,950 miles


Two Pratt & Whitney J60-P-3 turbojets with 3,000 pounds of thrust each


2 and 6 passengers

North American

1402nd Military Airlift Squadron, Shaw AFB, South Carolina


Serial Number