North American T-28 Trojan

31 Jul 2018

The T-28 was a successful trainer used by the U.S. Air Force and Navy from the 1950s through the 1970s, being finally retired from the American services only in the 1980s.  First flown September 24, 1949, and ultimately only 1948 were built, far less then it predecessor the T-6 Harvard/Texan.

A “Trojan” is someone from the ancient civilisation of Troy, a city-state in what is now Turkey that flourished in various incarnations from 3000 BC to 0 BC and has become renowned in legend for its prowess in warfare.

Although it did not have much of a payload, the performance of the T-28 made it useful as a ground-attack and counter-insurgency aircraft.  In this capacity it was used mainly by the South Vietnamese Air Force and also by France, which developed a counter-insurgency version of the T-28 called the Fennec (a fennec is a small fox found in the North African desert) for use in policing its colonial possessions. 

T-28 Fennec

About 25 other countries used T-28s in numbers ranging from a handful to a hundred or two.  The last was retired by the Philippines in 1994.

After its adoption as a primary trainer by the USAF, the United States Navy and Marine Corps adopted it as well. Although the Air Force phased out the aircraft from primary pilot training by the early 1960s, continuing use only for limited training of special operations aircrews and for primary training of select foreign military personnel, the aircraft continued to be used as a primary trainer by the Navy (and by default, the Marine Corps and Coast Guard) well into the early 1980s.

The largest single concentration of this aircraft was employed by the U.S. Navy at Naval Air Station Whiting Field in Milton, Florida, in the training of student naval aviators. The T-28's service career in the U.S. military ended with the completion of the phase-in of the T-34C turboprop trainer.

Naval Air Station Whiting Field

T-34C turboprop trainer

The last U.S. Navy training squadron to fly the T-28 was VT-27 "Boomers", based at Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, Texas, flying the last T-28 training flight in early 1984. The last T-28 in the Training Command, BuNo 137796, departed for Naval District Washington on 14 March 1984 to be displayed permanently at Naval Support Facility Anacostia, D.C.

The T-28 is a very popular privately owned warbird although it is complex to restore and maintain because it is essentially jet-age technology despite having a piston engine.  The North American Trainers Association, a valuable resource on the type, estimates 250 to 300 of them still to be active.

 T-28 Trojans with a P51 Mustang

 

 

General characteristics

Crew: Two

Length: 10.06 m

Wingspan: 12.22 m

Height: 3.86 m

Wing area: 24.9 m²

Empty weight: 6,424 lb

Max. takeoff weight: 8,500 lb (10,500 lb with combat stores)

Powerplant: 1 × Wright R-1820-86 Cyclone radial engine, 1,425 hp

 

Performance

Maximum speed: 343 mph

Range: 1060 mi

Service ceiling: 39,000 ft

Rate of climb: 4,000 fpm

 

Armament

Two or six wing-mounted pylons capable of carrying bombs, napalm, rockets. Machine gun pods containing .30 in (7.62 mm) (training), .50 in (D-model) or twin pods with .50 in (12.7 mm) and 20 mm (.79 in) cannon (Fennec)

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