Lockheed T-33A Shooting Star

Pima Air and Space Museum Aircraft

78th Fighter Wing, Hamilton Air Force Base, California, 1960
Serial Number

Lockheed T-33A Shooting Star

The introduction of high speed jet fighters such as the F-80 to the U.S Air Force resulted in very high accident rates as pilots worked to transition from propeller driven aircraft. Lockheed lengthened the F-80’s fuselage to allow a second seat to be added and enlarged the canopy to cover both pilots. The T-33 entered service with the U.S. Air Force in 1949 and was the primary jet trainer for both the Air Force and the Navy until the early 1960s. Although it was no longer the main trainer for the military Shooting Stars continued to serve as drone controllers, utility aircraft, and proficiency trainers up until the early 1980s in the U.S. military. The T-33 was extensively exported and built under license in both Canada and Japan. Shooting Stars remain active trainers in several small air forces around the world. A number of them have found their way into civilian hands and operate as personal aircraft and for business. The Boeing Company has several that are used as chase planes for newly designed airliners such as the 787 Dreamliner and the 747-8.

This aircraft has been painted to represent one of the T-33s flown in the motion picture “Jet Pilot” starring John Wayne and Janet Leigh. In the film T-33s portrayed Soviet fighter planes and were called “Yak-12s.” The real Yak-12 is a small single engine, propeller driven, short take off and landing aircraft called “Creek” by NATO.

Wingspan 38 ft 10.5 in
Length 37 ft 9 in
Height 11 ft 4 in
Weight 11,965 lbs
Max. Speed 543 mph
Service Ceiling 47,500 feet
Range 1,275 miles
Engines Allison J-33-A-35 turbojet with 4,600 pounds of thrust
Crew 2