Hobby Master 1-72 Air Power
HA5406 T-38A Talon "Chase Plane" N923NA, STS-3 Mission for Space Shuttle "Columbia", New Mexico, USA, 30th March 1982

The first prototype of what would become the Northrop T-38 Talon and F-5 Freedom Fighters flew on April 10, 1959. The first Talon entered service on March 17, 1961 at Randolph AFB. The USAF and NASA used the Talon to help their pilots maintain their proficiency. NASA especially liked the T-38 for its much lower operating and maintenance costs compared to the F-18 they had tried. Because of the low cost to operate the T-38 the USAF Thunderbirds Demonstration Team used them from 1974 – 1983 during the OPEC oil embargo.
In 2005 Northrop T-38 Talon 68-8150 belonged to the 7th Combat Training Squadron at Holloman AFB. The Talons were used for transitional training for the F-117 and providing aggressor attacks against the Nighthawk carried out over the New Mexico desert sky. In 2005 the decision was made to retire the F-117 in favor of the F-22 Raptor. On December 17, 2006 the 7th CTS at Holloman AFB was inactivated after 65 years of active duty. T-38 Talon 68-8150 continued with the 49th FW helping to train Raptor pilots.

Specifications Northrop T-38A Talon
Years of Production – 1961 / 1972
Number produced – 1,100 +
Crew – 2 x Instructor / Student
Dimensions
Length – 46 ft 4.5 in (14.14 m) Wingspan – 25 ft 3 in (7.7 m) Height – 12 ft 10.5 in (3.92 m)
Weight
Empty – 7,200 lb (3,270 kg) Loaded – 11,820 lb (5,360 kg Maximum Take-Off – 12,093 lb (5,485 kg)
Performance
Engines – 2 x General Electric J85-5A (J855R after PMP modification) Afterburning Turbojets Thrust Dry – 2,050 lbf (9.1 kN) per engine Afterburner – 2,900 lbf (17.1 kN) per engine Maximum Speed – Mach 1.3 (858 mph / 1,381 km/h) Range – 1,140 mi (1,835 km) Service Ceiling – 50,000 ft (15,240 m) ROC – 33,600 ft/min (170.7 m/s)