Another ageing US Air Force T-38 trainer aircraft crashed in Texas — for the second time in a month

U.S. Air Force photo/Steve WhiteA T-38C Talon used primarily by Air Education and Training Command for undergraduate pilot and pilot instructor training.

  • A T-38C Talon II trainer aircraft crashed Tuesday at Sheppard Air Force Base. Both pilots were able to eject safely and are in stable condition at local medical facilities.
  • Tuesday’s incident marks the fourth T-38 crash in one year’s time.

A T-38C Talon II trainer aircraft crashed at Sheppard Air Force Base in Wichita Falls, Texas Tuesday, marking the fourth accident for the ageing aircraft in the past year.

The aircraft, a twin-engine, high-altitude supersonic jet and part of the 80th Flying Training Wing, crashed Tuesday morning while taking off. The two pilots ejected safely and were taken to local medical facilities, the base said in a statement. Both pilots are said to be in stable condition.

Tuesday’s incident follows another T-38 crash in mid-August. The 71st Flying Training Wing aircraft crashed at Vance Air Force Base in Oklahoma on August 17, becoming the sixth aircraft the US Air Force lost to noncombat mishaps this year, according to The Drive.

Another trainer jet crashed in May near Columbus Air Force Base in Mississippi. Both pilots were able to eject safely from the plane. And all three of these incidents were proceeded by a fatal crash in November last year. Capt. Paul J. Barbour lost his life when his plane crashed near Laughlin Air Force Base in Del Rio, Texas, according to Military.com. The pilot’s ejection seat was not armed at the time of the crash.

The T-38 program, according to the US Air Force, is old, expensive, and outdated, a Congressional Research Service report from May explains, noting these jets are not well-suited for training future pilots for fifth-generation fighter and bomber operations.

The contract for the replacement T-X trainer has been delayed several times due to budget issues.

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