T-39 Sabreliner

T-39 SabrelinerA twin-jet, multi-purpose aircraft, the military version of the North American Sabreliner was designated the T-39 by the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy.

It was designed to cruise at speeds of 500 miles an hour at 40,000 feet, above most weather. Its leading edge slats, swept-back wing and tail gave it a strong resemblance to the F-86 Sabre Jet and the F-100 Super Sabre. It is between the two in size, with a wing span and length of approximately 44 feet.

Basic configuration of the military versions provided for a crew of two and four passengers. The interior could be modified from a radar or navigational trainer configuration to that of a cargo or passenger carrier in a matter of minutes. As a cargo carrier, the aircraft could transport items weighing up to 2,300 pounds with a length of 16 feet. Seat tie-down fittings were suitable for use as cargo rings in lashing down equipment.

The civilian version of the T-39 Sabreliner, developed in 1962, was North American's only successful commercial aircraft, and the Sabreliner Division was established to build the new jet. The civilian version of the Sabreliner was essentially the same as the military version, but provided for installation of de-icing boots, autopilot and other communications and navigation equipment not required by the armed services. It could accommodate a crew of two and up to seven passengers.

By Dec. 11, 1980, 600 Sabreliners, including 212 military T-39s, had been delivered. North American, then renamed Rockwell International, sold the Sabreliner Division to private investors in 1983. The ensuing Sabreliner Corp. is headquartered in St. Louis.

First flight: Sept. 16, 1958
Wingspan: 44.5 feet
Tailspan: 17.55 feet
Wing area: 342.1 square feet
Length: 44 feet
Height: 16 feet
Empty weight: 9,257 pounds; military: 9,265 pounds
Max. gross takeoff weight: 18,340 pounds; military: 17,760 pounds
Engines: Two P&W J60-P-3A; 3000 pounds of thrust
Cruise speed: 500 mph
Cruise range (with reserve): 1,950 statute miles
Cruise altitude: Above 40,000 feet
Single-engine cruise altitude: 20,000 feet
Fuel capacity: 7,284 pounds (1,087 gallons); military: 6,864 pounds (1,056 gallons)
Takeoff ground roll, sea level: 2,500 feet
Landing ground roll, sea level: 1,850 feet
Landing approach speed: 113 mph; military: 123 mph
Touchdown speed: 107 mph; military: 113 mph