Mon 30 Apr 2012
Developed from the P-80 fighter, the T-33 Shooting Star jet trainer first flew in 1948 and, amazingly, still remains in service today. Some air forces even used the T-33 in a combat role and it retained 2 .50mm machines guns from its combat-ready predecessor. In an interesting twist, T-33’s from the Cuban Air Force were deployed during the ill-fated Bay of Pigs invasion to help foil the CIA operation.
The example in the photo above is a T-33A on display at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum at the Stephen F. Udvar-Hazy Center. It is painted white on the underside and retains a shiny, unpainted metal finish on the rest of the aircraft.
Speed: 600 mph
Ceiling: 48,000 ft
Armament: 2 .50in machine guns and mounting points for 2000lbs of bombs or rockets