1957 Cessna T-37 Tweet (57-2346)
The Cessna T-37 Tweet is one of the most prominent of the trainer-attack type aircraft. This small, economical twin-engine jet aircraft flew for decades as a primary trainer for the United States Air Force, and in the air forces of several other nations. The A-37 Dragonfly variant served with distinction in the light attack role during the Vietnam War. In the spring of 1952, the United States Air Force (USAF) issued a request for proposals for a “Trainer Experimental (TX)” program, specifying a lightweight two-seat basic trainer for introducing USAF cadets to jet aircraft.
The first XT-37 first flew in October 1954. It had a low straight wing, with the engines buried in the wing roots; a clamshell-type canopy, hinged to open vertically to the rear; a control layout similar to that of contemporary operational USAF aircraft; ejection seats; and tricycle landing gear with a wide track of 14 ft. The wide track and a steerable nosewheel made the aircraft easy to handle on the ground, and the short landing gear avoided need for access ladders and service stands. The aircraft was designed to be simple to maintain, with more than a hundred access panels and doors. An experienced ground crew could change an engine in about a half hour.
The initial prototype crashed during spin tests. The later prototypes had new features to improve handling, including long strakes along the nose, and an extensively redesigned and enlarged tail. The T-37A had one noticeable drawback: it was very noisy, even by the standards of a jet aircraft. The Air Force ordered 444 T-37As, with the last produced in 1959. During 1957, the US Army evaluated three T-37As for battlefield observation and other combat support roles, but eventually procured the Grumman OV-1 Mohawk for the mission instead. The T-37A was delivered to the U.S. Air Force beginning in June 1956. The USAF began cadet training in the T-37A during 1957. The first T-37B was delivered in 1959. Instructors and students considered the T-37A a pleasant aircraft to fly. It handled well and was agile and responsive, though it was definitely not overpowered. It was capable of all traditional aerobatic maneuvers.
The type remained in service with the USAF into the 21st century, having survived various attempts to find a replacement. However, the Tweet is now being phased out in favor of the turboprop-powered Beechcraft T-6A Texan II (a turboprop aircraft with more power and modern avionics).
Our T-37B 57-2346 last served:
71st Flying Training Wing, Vance AFB, OK.
Sent to AMARC, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base on December, 4th 1991
Stricken from inventory and transferred to the CASC on July 11th, 2001
Our T-37B 57-2346 is on perpetual loan from the GSA / Connecticut DAS. Preliminary restoration has commenced on the cockpit and other subassemblies. It is the goal to eventually prepare the Jet fighter for outside display in front of the Curtiss Hangar.