T-37B Tweety Bird
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|Nickname:||"Tweety Bird" or "Tweet"|
|Length:||29 ft. 4 in.|
|Height:||9 ft. 5 in.|
|Wingspan:||33 ft. 10 in.|
|Gross Weight:||6,580 lbs. max.|
|No. of Engines:||2|
|Pounds of thrust (each):||1,025 lbs. thrust|
|Cruising speed:||350 mph.|
|Max Speed:||410 mph|
The T-37 is a twin-engine primary trainer used for teaching the fundamentals
of jet aircraft operation and instrument, formation and night flying.
Affectionately known as the "Tweety Bird" or "Tweet," it was the first USAF jet
aircraft designed from conception as a trainer (as opposed to a modification
such as the T-33). Its flying characteristics helped student pilots prepare to
transition to the larger, faster T-38 "Talon" later in the pilot training
program. Side-by-side seating in the T-37 makes it easier for the instructor to
observe and communicate with the student. The XT-37 prototype made its initial
flight on October 12, 1954, and the preproduction T-37A first flew on September
27, 1955. Following modifications, the T-37A entered operational USAF service in
1957. In 1959, the T-37B joined the USAF. Similar to the -A, it had more
powerful engines, a redesigned instrument panel and improved radio
communications and navigational equipment. In time, all -As were modified to -B
standards. The T-37C, with provisions for armament and extra fuel, was built for
export. Both T-37Bs and -Cs serve the air forces of several Allied nations. In
all, nearly 1,300 T-37As, -Bs and -Cs were built before production ended in the
late 1970s. In addition, nearly 600 A-37s--attack modifications of the
T-37--were built. This aircraft is on loan from the USAF.
According to the Air Force Historical Research Agency (AFHRA/RSA), Maxwell
AFB, AL, the museum's T-37B, s/n 57-2316, has the following history:
- Manufactured as a model 318 by Cessna Aircraft, Wichita KS and delivered
to the USAF on 1 Dec 1958.
- Dec 1958 --- To 3303rd Pilot Training Group (Air Training Command), Bartow
- Jan 1961 --- To 3560th Pilot Training Wing (ATC), Webb AFB TX
- Jan 1966 --- To 3640th Pilot Training Wing (ATC), Laredo AFB TX
- Feb 1971 --- To 3560th Pilot Training Wing (ATC), Webb AFB
- Nov 1972 --- To 78th Flying Training Wing (ATC), Webb AFB
- Aug 1977 --- To 64th Flying Training Wing (ATC), Reese AFB TX
- Sep 1991 --- To Military Aircraft Storage and Disposition Center,
Davis-Monthan AFB AZ. Aircraft arrived on 13 Sept 1991 and was retired with
16,792 airframe flours.
- Sept 2001 --- Both engines, Continental J69-T-25's, were removed on 17
- Oct 2001 --- The T-37B, s/n 57-2316, was delivered to the museum. March
Field Museum volunteers went to Tucson, AZ, where the aircraft was waiting at
the Pima Air Museum. There, it was disassembled and put on a truck and brought
to our museum.
- Nov 2002 to Nov 2003 --- Restoration and improvements in the cockpit and
exterior by museum volunteers Craig Clary and Bob Mauger.
Some background information on the T-37B follows:
U.S. Air Force T-37B Trainer
The T-37B has evolved as the definitive variant of the T-37 basic jet trainer
series and is, by far, the most common T-37 variant still in use. The T-37B
differed from the earlier T-37A primarily in the power plants. To increase the
aircraft's performance, the Air Force specified the use of the more powerful
1,025 lbs thrust J-T-25 engine in place of the 920 lbs thrust J-69-T-9 engine.
The Air Force awarded Cessna a contract during early 1959 for the new T-37 and
the first aircraft was delivered on November 6th 1959.
The first T-37B (Cessna model 318B) also featured improved communication and
navigation equipment, including an improved UHF radio, OMNI navigation equipment
and a revised instrument panel. The J-69-T-25 engines had increased reliability,
improved performance, reduced operational costs, reduced maintenance
requirements and a longer engine life. The new engines were approximately the
same size as the earlier J-69-T-9 variant and required no external changes to
The J-69-T-25 engines had a fully automatic altitude compensating fuel
control and drew fuel from the main fuselage tank immediately behind the
cockpit. The tank is, in turn, fed from six inter-connected rubber fuel tanks in
each wing. Engine-driven pumps and submerged booster pumps drive the automatic
fuel transfer system, but in the event of a fuel system malfunction, fuel is
automatically supplied to the engines by a gravity feed system.
As a result of damage sustained to the T-37 fleet during some 133 bird
strikes (between 1965 and 1970), all T-37s have been retrofitted with a new
windscreen made of Lexan polycarbonate plastic. This new windscreen is a
half-inch thick and is stressed to withstand the impact of a four pound bird at
Although the T-37B cockpit arrangement reproduces most of the characteristics
of a modern combat aircraft, every effort has been made to achieve simplicity.
The instrument panel is a relatively simple and straightforward approach to
The primary instruments are duplicated for both instructor and student. All
instruments may be monitored and all operating controls and switches are easily
accessible from either seat. Positioned to port on the student's side are the
navigational and flight instruments, including directional and altitude
indicators, altimeter, turn-and-bank, rate-of-climb, airspeed indicators and
course indicators. In front of the instructor, on the starboard side (but within
reach of the student) are the radio controls and circuit breakers. The engine
instruments are mounted over the central panel and include tachometers, fuel
flow, exhaust temperature indicators, fuel and oil pressure gauges, load meters
and an accelerometer. The control stick, grips and throttle quadrants are
As a trainer, the T-37B demonstrates good stability in all configuration and
flight conditions. The extremely effective control surfaces result in instant
response and the balance between the three controls make maneuvers easily
coordinated. Spins are mild and recovery is easily effected by using standard
procedure. The aircraft has excellent stall characteristics, which are well
defined. Stall warning is provided by a buffet in all flight configurations.
Landings are accomplished equally well from either seat and there are no abrupt
pitch or directional trim changes needed when power is added for a go-around.
Eventually all T-37s were returned to Cessna for conversion to T-37B
standards. Between 1967 and 1968 additional contracts were awarded for continued
production of the T-37B with deliveries running into 1973. A total of 552 new
production T-37Bs were built.
A note of interest is that both of the museum's T-37 and T-38 were assigned
at the same time to the 3560th Pilot Training Wing (Air Training Command), Webb
AFB, TX from 1961 to 1966.