Monday, January 5, 2009

BAe's Little Trainer That Could

One day early this last summer I stood outside one of the schools and saw two white jets flying in formation finish their down wind leg for a landing at the huge airport of Yakima. I had trouble seeing them. They seemed smallish, and they did not look like anything I had ever seen. I even called the Air Museum. The people there knew nothing of aviation in the modern era, I suspect the last airplane the person I spoke to on the phone was able to identify was a Sopwith Pup. I was disappointed. I could not jump in my truck and go see, simply because that would have been an hour round trip and a waste of gas and I wouln't get paid for it, either. They had appeared to be in Navy trainer colors, but I knew the T-2 Buckeye had been retired. They did not look like T-38s...I couldn't figure it. I even, briefly, entertained the idea that they might be A-4s...but no, they appeared to have horizontal stabilizers...then I forgot to look it up...and the memory slipped from my consciousness. Until today.

This morning I was looking up the USS Kitty Hawk (looking forward to seeing her t the decommissioning), then looked to see what other ships were homeported at Bremerton (which is where I found this site. Want to know what ship is assigned to the port you are interested in? Have a look!) and I found the USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72) site. She is based at Everett, Washington. While I was looking at that site I found some pictures of an unfamiliar plane.

Now, I know I have a blog that seems to indicate I might have some knowledge of aircraft. I do. I simply, due to the massive number of aircraft types, have generally limited my interests to combat and transport aircraft. Trainer types just aren't that interesting to me usually, so I feel I have some justification for not knowing what they were.

The aircraft in question was a T-45 Goshawk. It is a design from British Aerospace (BAe), and was originally called the Hawk. The British use it as their training aircraft. Apparently Boeing and BAe are both producing parts of the aircraft. It is a small aircraft; only 38 feet long with a 30 foot wingspan. There is room for an instructor and a student. The T-45 has been modified for carrier landings. They are designed to have a 14,400 hour lifespan, which is figured at "720 hours a year in a 'carrier environment'"

If you want to learn more, and you should, because, believe me I am discovering that maybe trainers are not so boring after all. Here are some sites to have a look. First, this one has some good info on all military aircraft. Second, this one is about Navy tech. Third, this one is good for basic, fast facts. And finally, here is the Lincoln's site. They have some righteous pictures, some of which I am using here to illustrate the type for you.
does that tail pipe look a bit off center to you, too?

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