Scott Air Force Base News

This month in Scott history: Arrival of thefirst Rockwell T-39A Sabreliner at Scott AFB

Pictured is a T-39 Sabreliner on the ramp. On Feb. 11, 1962, the first Rockwell T-39A Sabreliner aircraft arrived at Scott Air Force Base to replace aging C-47s.
Pictured is a T-39 Sabreliner on the ramp. On Feb. 11, 1962, the first Rockwell T-39A Sabreliner aircraft arrived at Scott Air Force Base to replace aging C-47s.

On Feb. 11, 1962, the first Rockwell T-39A Sabreliner aircraft arrived at Scott Air Force Base to replace aging C-47s.

The aircraft, tail number 61-0634 (buzz number TG-634), was assigned to the 1405th Air Base Wing, then the host-wing at Scott AFB.

The delivery crew were pilot Capt. Raymond T. Good, 1405th ABW, Maj. Edward J. Nash, 1405th ABW, and engineer Staff Sgt. Robert J. Pullian, 1405th Consolidated Aircraft Maintenance Squadron.

The T-39A was 44 feet in length, 16 feet high, and had a wingspan of 44.5 feet. It was powered by a pair of Pratt and Whitney J-60-P-3A jet engines with 3,000 pounds of thrust.

The Air Force planned to complete delivery of four T-39As to Scott AFB by fiscal year 1963. The T-39s would serve at Scott AFB until retired in September 1984 after 22 years of remarkable service.

The T-39A could carry a two-person crew and four passengers or be configured into a cargo carrier in a matter of minutes capable of lifting up to 2,300 pounds.

A total of 212 T-39As were delivered to the U.S. military and approximately 400 aircraft to civilian users.

The T-39A was 44 feet in length, 16 feet high, and had a wingspan of 44.5 feet. It was powered by a pair of Pratt and Whitney J-60-P-3A jet engines with 3,000 pounds of thrust. The cruising altitude was above 40,000 feet, the cruise speed was 500 mph, and the cruise range was 1,950 miles with reserve fuel.

The T-39A Sabreliner, later redesignated “CT-39A,” served at Scott AFB or under the control of Scott AFB for 23 years.

In December 1983, the number of Sabreliners controlled by Scott AFB reached a peak of 99 aircraft.

The T-39A Sabreliner, later redesignated “CT-39A,” served at Scott AFB or under the control of Scott AFB for 23 years. In December 1983, the number of Sabreliners controlled by Scott AFB reached a peak of 99 aircraft.

At the end of their service life in 1985, the CT-39As were under the control of the 375th Aeromedical Airlift Wing, today’s 375th Air Mobility Wing, at detachments located at Norton AFB, California; McClellan AFB, California; Randolph AFB, Texas; Bergstrom AFB, Texas; Kirtland AFB, New Mexico; and Shaw AFB, South Carolina.

The CT-39A fleet was replaced by the new C-21As and C-12Fs starting in 1984. The final CT-39A mission by a Scott AFB-based unit was flown by the 1375th Flying Training Squadron in aircraft 61-0670 on Sept. 26, 1984.

Although most of the CT-39As were placed in storage at Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona in 1985, at least ten aircraft were preserved as museum displays. Scott AFB is fortunate to have a preserved CT-39A Sabreliner, #60-3495, on display near Engineering Hangar No. 1.

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