The T-37 Tweet formally retired April 3 from Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training here after 39 years of service as the gateway to the sky for more than 10,000 Air Force aviators.
Columbus Air Force Base was the last Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training base flying the T-37, but the T-37 will continue to be used at Sheppard AFB, Texas, in the Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training program.
Vance AFB, Okla., and Laughlin AFB, Texas, phased out the T-37 from their pilot training programs in 2007.
"If you are a flier or a maintainer of any airplane, there is an emotional attachment," said Maj. Gen. Irving L. Halter Jr., the 19th Air Force commander. "The T-37 is a part of the fabric of Air Force aviation as well as American aviation."
The first T-37 arrived at Columbus AFB in 1969 in preparation for the base's realignment from Strategic Air Command to Air Training Command in 1970.
In 1970, Columbus AFB officials undertook the undergraduate pilot training mission, usng the T-37 for its primary training, and the T-38 talon for advanced training.
|A T-37 Tweet aircraft from the 85th Fighter Training Squadron, (Editors Note. misstatement from official AF site, T-37 Tweet, should read "85th Flying Training Squadron") Laughlin AFB, Texas, flies over Lake Amistad during a training mission.|
The T-37 Tweet is a twin-engine jet used for training undergraduate pilots, undergraduate navigator and tactical navigator students in fundamentals of aircraft handling, and instrument, formation and night flying. The twin engines and flying characteristics of the T-37 give student pilots the feel for handling the larger, faster T-38 Talon or T-1A Jayhawk later in the undergraduate pilot training course. The instructor and student sit side by side for more effective training. The cockpit has dual controls, ejection seats and a clamshell-type canopy that can be jettisoned. (Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Andy Dunaway) Download Full High Resolution Image
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