A Rare North American T-28C
Posted by Jay Schneider. Filed under Aviation.
April 19, 2012
I received a phone call from a friend asking me if I would be interested in helping him out with a favor. He asked if I would be interested in painting a repair being made to a rare North American T-28C that will be featured in the Navy’s 100th year anniversary celebration. During an air show routine, the pilot encountered a bird strike on its left wing’s leading edge. The plane will be flown around the country for this anniversary. After 6.5 hours of taping, sanding, priming basing and clearing, the leading edge has been restored to FAA standards.
Since the FAA is very particular about structural repairs, the repairs were made at an FAA approved repair station and requested me for doing the paint repair. Enjoy the photos and the history article below!
I will return to our sand paper blog next time.
Keep the Blue Skies Up and Happy Motoring!
History of North American T28C Trojan Bureau Number 140576
After WWII the military realized future fighters were going to be powered by jets engines. All jets had nose wheel landing gear versus the conventional tail-wheel type landing gear that was on the thousands of US military trainers of the time.
In 1947 a directive was issued to the North American Aircraft Company; the company that had developed the highly successful T6 Texan trainer and P51 Mustang fighter, to build a new nose wheel trainer. The US Air Corp chose a new Wright Radial of a 900 hp, but the Navy (and later the USAF for Vietnam use) chose the more powerful, 1425 hp Curtis Wright 1820. There were thousands of Wrigth 1820s engines that were almost new, having been removed from almost new B17s before they were scrapped.
140576 was built in 1956, and spent the nine years performing carrier qualification, CQ, training. It had over 1000 carrier landings performed by performed by new and usually very nervous Navy pilots. In 1965 it was transferred from the Navy to the CIA, that in turned loaned it to Belgium to fight communist rebels in Belgium Congo. In 1965 it received numerous bullet hits and was damaged, repaired and returned to service. By 1973 the Belgium Congo had become the new African country of Zaire. 140576 was retired and struck from their Inventory. In 1977 it was purchase from the Zaire government and restored in Kalamazoo, Michigan. It was among the first few big engine T28s to find their way into civilian ownership since the Navy would continue to use their T28s well into the 1980s and the Air Force would use many of them in Vietnam or they were loaned to Air America and flown by Loa-Hmong or US Ravens pilots.
The new owners decided after being abused by over 1000 carrier training landings, being shot up in Africa, the old gal should train and fight no more but be celebrated. It was decided to paint it like VT-7 training wing’s “50th Anniversary of Naval Aviation” T28 paint scheme. It is now pampered and is a regular member of the 6 ship formation aerobatic airshow team, “the T28 Trojan Horsemen”. Often it performs at the same air shows as the Navy’s Blue Angels or Air Force’s Thunderbirds.
Recently during a tour of the Tucson Davis Monthan airplane bone yard, the plane that came off the assembly line right before 140576 was spotted. History was not as kind to 140575, built right before 140576, 575 spent its entire career in the training command and was retired in 1983. Robbed of its major parts it still sits in the desert.
North American T28 Trojan 140576
1425 HP R182O-86B WRIGHT CYCLONE
MAX SPEED 340 KTS CLIMB 3000 FPM
CRUISE 220 KTS WEIGHT 8600 LBS
SERVICE CEILING 35,000 FT. MAX w/armament 10000 LBS
10/25/56 AIRCRAFT BUILT BY NORTH AMERICAN PLANT COLUMBUS, OH. ACCEPTED BY NAVY AND ASSIGNED TO WHITTING FIELD, SQUADRON TWO, TRATON 2.
10/15/64 AFTER OVER 1000 CARRIER LANDINGS AIRCRAFT STRUCK FROM NAVY INVENTORY. T.T. 2855 HRS.
01/10/65 DELIVERED TO BELGIAN AIR FORCE; BELGIAN CONGO (ZAIRE) AS FG576 FIGHTER AIRCRAFT. (US CIA led effort to fight Communist Rebels ) OVER NEXT 8 YEARS FLOWN 1782 HRS AS COMBAT AIRCRAFT – FIRING GUNS, ROCKETS AND DROPPING BOMBS
AIRCRAFT RECEIVED 6 BULLET HOLES WHILE ON MISSION 03/29/65
01/04/73 STRUCK FROM ZAIRE AIR FORCE INVENTORY T.T. 4637 HRS.
04/12/77 AIRCRAFT PURCHASED FROM ZAIRE AIR FORCE AND FLOWN TO BIGGIN HILL AIR BASE, ENGLAND VIA DAKAR, MOROCCO, SPAIN AND FRANCE AIRCRAFT FLOWN TRANS-ATLANTIC TO KAL-AERO, KALAMAZOO, MI. for restoration
05/11/79 REBUILD COMPLETED BY KAL-AERO – PAINTED IN VT-7 “THE EAGLES” Navy Fighter Training Command Meridian MS. PAINT SCHEME VT-7’s 1961 “50 Anniversary of Naval Aviation” Commander’s plane. (Since the scheme has been duplicated on other aircraft for the 60th (A4), 75th (F18) and 100th (F18)Anniversary of Naval Aviation.)
ALL WEAPONS AND GUNNERY SYSTEMS LEFT INTACT AND RESTORED
08/79 AWARDED T28 CHAMPION WAR BIRD AT EAA OSHKOSH
1990 COMPLETELY DISASSEMBLED & REBUILD STARTED BY PACIFIC FIGHTERS, CHINO, CA. FINISHED BY VICTORIA AIR MAINTENANCE.
1991 Awarded Grand Champion War Bird Watsonville CA
1998 Awarded Grand Champion War Bird Arlington WA
2005 Awarded Best T28 EAA Sun N Fun Lakeland FL