Modified T-33A

Discussion in 'Aircraft & Aviation' started by Ashrunner, Feb 28, 2006.

  1. Ashrunner

    Ashrunner Member

    Your humble Grand Poobah moderator is seeking assistance.

    During my aircraft research endevours, I came across a reference to an Air Force T-33A, tail #14263. It was a modified Shooting Star for possible use by the US Navy. However, that is the only reference I can find in my books, and on the internet, which there isn't even that from what I can find.

    Anyone out there have any more information on this modified T-Bird?

  2. Gil

    Gil Active Member


    It's a Navy T2V-1; Series 142261-142268; the final development of the Shooting Star. 150 were supplied for service to NAS Pensacola. The designation was changed to T-1A in 1962. Source, "United States Navy Aircraft since 1911" by Gordon Swanborough and Peter Bowers, 1968, pgs. 296-298.


    GEEDUBBYA Active Member

    Howdy Ash,

    Ok, first off, could you give any details of how it was modified?
    Secondly, how about I give you some cross reference material......

    search google for any or all of the following:

    Silver Star I / II / III
    T2V-1/T-1A Sea Star
    F-80 Shooting Star

    Other nicknames for the T33 are: T-Bird; Wakataka ("Young Hawk") (Kawasaki-built T-33s in the Japanese Air Self-Defense Force)

    Here are a few links:

    AeroWeb T-33 Page
    Air Combat Warfare International, Breslau, Ontario, Canada -- Contract T-33s available for test work, training, DACT, etc.
    Aviation History Online Museum -- Lockheed P-80

    Boeing "Skyfox" history (T-33 variant) <<<<<<<<< YOU MIGHT CHECK THIS

    Go Thunderbirds -- Marketing of T-33 aircraft.
    Preserved Military Aircraft: T-33 and F-80
    "Red Knight" -- T-33 jet airshow act.
    T-33/T-1/CT-133 Reference Sources at <<<<<THIS TOO
    USAF Museum T-33 Page

    ALSO search google for this XP-80R

    A little history of the T 33:

    (courtesy of )

    "Lockheed built 917 F-80A's and B's, one of which was modified for an attempt on the world speed record. on June 19, 1947, this plane set a speed mark of 623.8 miles per hour. Some of these modifications were retained in the F-80C, 798 of which were produced in 1948 and 1949. At the same time, Lockheed designed a two-seat version, the F-94 Starfire. This model was equipped with radar for all-weather operations.

    When war started in Korea, F-80's were sent to the battle area to help the South Koreans. On November 10, 1950, Lieutenant Russell Brown, flying a Shooting Star, made history when he destroyed a Russian MiG-15 fighter in the world's first decisive all-jet combat.

    Final version of the plane was the T-33 trainer, which remained in continuous production until August 1959. The T-33A was a very hot fighter to handle, compared to slower piston engine aircraft, and an alarming number of airplanes were lost. The solution was a redesigned T-33A two seat trainer. Engineers at Lockheed called their operation the "Skunk Works", named after an imaginary factory in the "Li'l Abner" comic strip. "

    I hope some of this is of help to you,

    have a good evening,

    Greg aka GW
  4. Ashrunner

    Ashrunner Member

    Gil, G.W.

    The aircraft in question was an Air Force aircraft with a major modification to the tail section. My first thought was it was like the prototype T2V-1. However, I think if that was the case, it wouldn't have been listed as a T-33A. The aircraft in question reappeared in web reference as a static display at the former K.I. Sawyer AFB, Michigan. The photos of it there show a normal tail section...which is what caught my attention.

    I have been looking for the reference again, to see if there was something I missed, but am currently unable to locate it. Several hundred magazines and books and I write something down without page or location data. Guess its age...hehe.

    In any case, thanks for the info, and I'll keep looking until I find out whether it is a T2V-1 or not and if not, what the major tail modification was. 8v)
  5. Gil

    Gil Active Member


    Do you need a 3-view of the T2V-1?

  6. Ashrunner

    Ashrunner Member

    No, Gil...I don't. 8v) I know the T2V is quite different from the T-33A. It is approximately a foot shorter, has a span five feet greater and stands about 18 inches higher than the Air Force model.

    The modified aircraft I am looking for information on is tail number 51-4263, not 142263. I failed to hit the 5 key and didn't notice it in my original post. The aircraft in question I believe to be at the time of modification, an Air Force bird, and later returned to its original configuration and flown out of K.I. Sawyer AFB, Mich. It is quite possible I refueled the aircraft when I was stationed at Kincheloe AFB, a hundred miles or so to the east of K.I. Sawyer. 51-4263 flew out of K.I. until sometime in the '80s.

    Believe me when I say, I am not confusing the aircraft I want information on with the Navy's T2V-1. But I sure wish I could come across where that cryptic note I left myself came from. It has me going batty trying to figure it out. I did find out earlier this evening, that the aircraft was part of Contract AF 14806 which produced 977 aircraft. 4263 fell under a 44 aircraft block inwhich no Navy Bureau numbers were issued. If 51-4263 is definitely the aircraft which I marked as modified, then it belonged to the Air Force throughout its lifespan. That information was from the T-33/TV-2 Aircraft listing in the back of Schiffer's Military History book, Lockheed T-33: A Photo Chronicle, which is a pretty good book on the T-33. Unfortunately, if the reference I noted is in that book, I missed it on my reread the other day.
  7. Maurice

    Maurice Member


    This brief note seems to confirm that it was modified as a trials aircraft for at least a part of it's career
    Twin fins and rudders would have stood out a bit .:)

  8. 46rob

    46rob Member

    I didn't find a picture of a twin tailed NT-33 yet, but I did find the ejection seat test version in an old (1952) Naval Aviation News. Note that both the pilot and the test subject are enlisted.

    Attached Files:

  9. Felixdk

    Felixdk New Member

    Here you go, courtesy of Air Progress magazine. I thought that I had one other picture, but this was all I could find.

    Hope this helps,

    Attached Files:

  10. Felixdk

    Felixdk New Member

    Oops, sorry, that turned out larger than I thought.

  11. 46rob

    46rob Member

    The vertical fins look like they came off a Ventura or Electra. I'd prlbably bet the horizontals came off the same bird. Ya gonna model it? I'd love to stick that one into my T-33 collection, along with the seat test bird. If yer not--I'll do it.
  12. 46rob

    46rob Member

    Good research job! What year Air Progress?
  13. Ashrunner

    Ashrunner Member

    WOW! Now that's a modification! Thanks FelixDX. If you come across the other photo, I would like to see it.

    Maurice...Amazingly, that is the reference I remember jotting my note from. I thought it was in a magazine or book I wrote.

    Now if I can only find more info about this modification. Rob...I would like to take a shot at "fixin" it up. Need to finish a problem child I have in the wings right now first. Looking at that black and white photo, it looks like there are three colors on the fuselage. White, or possibly bright orange, beginning just under the joint of the canopy with the windscreen, possibly dark blue or black from central part of canopy to just forward of the trailing edge of the wing, and maybe red on the wings extending outward to about the central part of the wing. Tip tanks are either white of bright orange. Those twin rudders do look like they come from the Electra.
  14. Bowdenja

    Bowdenja Active Member

    Let me look guys, I got a book with some info in but it's at home.

  15. 46rob

    46rob Member

    Most tip tanks were gray outboard, and zinc chromate green inboard. I'd venture it was Navy sea blue from the canopy back to the tail break, and white, gray or bare metal forward. Wing upper surfaces might be blue as well--the difference in shade due to the reflection of light off the upper surface..
    You'll have to draw a new tialcone, as the one I drew has the fin as an integral part. Interesting plane.

    BTW, the first C-1A Trader had a twin tail as well.... everyone thinks it was derived from the S-2, but was actually a E-1B airframe, sans radome.

    Any other planes that have had two tail variations? the only other is the Liberator/Privateer--it went the other way, from twin to single.
  16. rickstef

    rickstef Guest

    I thought the Martin Mars, had two tails too

  17. Bowdenja

    Bowdenja Active Member

    Curtis' C-46 Commando......... the prototype had twins tails but were removed do to problems with airflow......... I think.

  18. Felixdk

    Felixdk New Member

    Photo is from Summer 1961 Air Progress. It looks like the bird has a spin recovery chute mounted below the tailpipe. The pic in the magazine makes the area at the center of the fuselage appear dull, so it may be anti-glare black, perhaps for taking pictures of the behavior of tail assembly from a cockpit camera without picking up a lot of glare.

  19. Ashrunner

    Ashrunner Member

    Good point Felix. You may be correct. I hadn't thought of that possibility.

    As for the color line I can see in the forward part of the fuselage under the canopy, it most likely is a panel line with bare metal reflecting differently. The wing area most likely is a reflection. I have a tendency to think linearly, you might say, and recently seen a photo of a test bed model of a B-36 painted with a dark blue, white and red sections of the fuselage. Since it came from probably the same timeframe, my mind went there when I looked at the twin-tailed T-bird. I think the color B-36 photo was in Magnesium Overcast.

    Rob, I was looking at the tail section of your model. It doesn't seem like it would be too difficult of a redraw. In any case, it will be fun. I just wish I didn't have to guess on the colors. 8v)
  20. 46rob

    46rob Member

    It likely is a spin recovery 'chute--the production T2V had one. I found a picture of the prototype T2v in the 1953 NA News--so the picture must have been "51 or '52.

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