Hobby Master HA5401 T-38A Talon Chase Plane N923NA, STS-3 Mission for Space Shuttle Columbia, New Mexico, USA, 30th Mar 1982 1/72
Hobby Master 1/72 T-38A Talon "Chase Plane" N923NA, STS-3 Mission for Space Shuttle "Columbia", New Mexico, USA, 30th Mar 1982 HA5401
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.
NASA operates the Northrop T-38 Talon as a jet trainer for their astronauts as well as a chase plane. Part of the NASA Talon fleet is based at Sheppard AFB, Ellington Field, Houston, Texas. In 1966 T-38 66-8355 was delivered to the USAF but in 1969 the aircraft was transferred to NASA Manned Spacecraft Center (MSC) and later renamed the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center (JSC). With NASA 66-8355 became N923NA on September 10, 1969. On March 30, 1982 N923NA was the chase aircraft for the return of the shuttle Columbia.