North American Aviation built the aircraft pictured above at its factory in Columbus, Ohio in 1955. It was assigned
Bureau Number 138245 and was accepted by the U.S. Navy on June 1 of that year. The Navy placed it into active
service on June 13, 1955 at NAS Pensacola, Florida.
Over the next twenty-one years of active duty, Trojan 138245 flew with units throughout the country. It was reassigned
fourteen times between nine different bases. From mid-1969 to mid-1972, it was in service with Navy Attack Squadron
One Twenty Two (VA-122) at NAS Lemoore, California. The paint scheme on the plane today is the same as it was
during its VA-122 period. Its last duty station was NAS Norfolk, Virginia.
On November 2, 1976, Trojan 138245 was retired. It was flown to
Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in the Arizona desert where it was
placed in outside storage. During its active duty, it accumulated
10,682 hours of operation. It was probably flown by hundreds of
instructors and thousands of students. It remained in storage until
June 5, 1990 when it was sold as surplus.
The aircraft's first civilian owner began its restoration with the
installation of a completely overhauled engine, refurbishment of
all the plane's operating systems and new exterior paint. The
second owner continued the process by restoring the cockpits
to like-new condition and installing some optional equipment.
The current owner completed the restoration by upgrading the
avionics while taking care to preserve an authentic, military
appearance. Additional accessories were also installed to
further enhance safety and operational convenience.
"Warbird" is a term that has come to mean any retired, military
aircraft, whether or not it is a type that was used in actual combat.
While the general public enjoys seeing them at air shows, those with
a true love of aviation view these airplanes as special. Interest in owning,
restoring and flying warbirds has grown substantially in recent years. At the present time, there are about two hundred
civilian-owned T-28's in flying condition around the world and about that many more in various stages of restoration.
Because the T-28 was originally designed to be a trainer, it has two separate, but essentially identical, cockpits -
one for the instructor and one for the student. Each cockpit has full instrumentation and a complete set of controls.
The controls are mechanically interconnected so that front and rear move together. Even non-pilots can have the
experience of not only riding in, but actually flying, a real military aircraft.
Trojan 138245 is now operated by the WarBird Museum of Virginia and is based at Richmond Executive Airport near
Richmond, Virginia. Museum membership is open to all and volunteers are always welcome. Donations to the
Museum are tax deductible. Museum members and volunteers are often afforded the opportunity to ride in the plane.
To inquire about becoming a member or a volunteer please click on Contact. To make a donation, please
click on Donate.
HISTORY AND DESCRIPTION OF THE NORTH AMERICAN T-28 "TROJAN"
In 1948, the U.S. Air Force held a design competition for a new advanced trainer to replace the aging T-6 "Texan"
that had been used to train virtually all of America's combat pilots during World War II. North American Aviation, a
company well known and highly respected for its engineering and manufacturing excellence, was more than capable
of designing a new trainer. It had designed and built the T-6 as well as several other airplanes that achieved fame
in the war, including the P-51 "Mustang" fighter and the B-25 "Mitchell" medium bomber. After World War II, North
American built, among others, the F-86 "Sabre" jet fighter used in Korea, and the F-100 "Supersabre". The
XB-70 "Valkyrie", the only full-scale, heavy bomber ever to reach Mach 3, and the Mach 6, rocket-powered
X-15 research plane that led the way to the space program, were also North American projects. North American
built the Apollo spacecraft that took American astronauts to the moon and North American's successor, Rockwell
(now part of Boeing), built the B-1 bomber and the Space Shuttles.
North American won the competition to build the new trainer with its model NA-159. Two prototypes were delivered
to the military for testing in 1949. After final design features were decided upon, production aircraft began entering
service in 1950. The Air Force designated the new airplane the T-28A and named it the "Trojan." The T-28A was
powered by an 800-horsepower Wright R-1300, seven-cylinder, radial engine driving a two-blade, constant-speed
propeller. The plane could be fitted with a full complement of armaments for weapons training including machine
guns and a variety of rockets and bombs. Designed from the beginning to be a trainer, the T-28 had two cockpits,
one for the student and one for the instructor. Both cockpits were equipped with a complete set of interconnected
controls and full instrumentation. A total of 1,195 T-28A's were built.
After completing its contract with the Air Force, North American began producing a more powerful version of the
airplane for the U.S. Navy. The T-28B first flew in 1953. It was equipped with a 1,425-horsepower Wright R-1820,
nine-cylinder, radial engine and a three-blade, constant-speed propeller. It was also given a belly-mounted,
aerodynamic speed brake to help slow the plane in flight. The added power of the larger engine provided very
substantial improvements in takeoff and climb performance as well as increases in speed and load-carrying
capability. To enable carrier operations, the T-28C was developed in 1955. It had the same engine as the B
model, but its propeller was smaller in diameter to provide more deck clearance, and it was equipped with an
arresting hook on the tail. There were a total of 490 T-28B's and 299 T-28C's built. They performed their
missions so well that the Navy and Marines used both models into the 1980's.
By the end of the 1950's, the Air Force's A model T-28's had been retired and placed in storage. Many, however,
were later remanufactured into combat aircraft. In 1960, France bought 245 T-28A's and fitted them with larger
engines, new instrumentation, weapons systems and protective armor plate around the cockpits. The French
designated their plane the T-28S and called it the "Fennec". Similar conversions were undertaken by other
countries including Mexico, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Taiwan, South Korea and the Philippines. The U.S. Air
Force also converted T-28A's and some T-28B's into a ground attack version, the AT-28D, which had the same
engine and propeller as the B model. In addition to a full array of weapons and cockpit armor plate, it also had
a rocket-powered "extraction" system for the pilot. AT-28D's saw combat in South Vietnam, Laos and Thailand.
Notwithstanding its use in actual combat, the original design purpose of the T-28 was to train pilots to fly
sophisticated, high-performance aircraft. Specifically, the military wanted the airplane to have jet-like operating
systems as well as jet-like flight characteristics. To power the plane, however, a piston engine and propeller
were chosen for reliability and economy. Because it was to be flown by students and low-time pilots, it was
necessary for the plane's handling traits to be straightforward and benign. North American accomplished this
design objective exceptionally well. Pilots who have flown the T-28, especially those with experience in other
high-performance military aircraft, universally praise its superb handling.
From a mechanical standpoint, most previous trainers had been relatively simple. The T-28, however, employs
a number of complex operating systems. An extensive, integrated hydraulic system is used to operate the wheel
brakes, the landing gear, the wing flaps, the speed brake and the canopy. There is a hand pump that can be used
to produce hydraulic pressure in case the engine-driven hydraulic pump fails. In addition to being operated
hydraulically, the canopy can be operated manually and there is also a back-up system that uses compressed
nitrogen to blow the canopy open in an emergency. The plane has both AC and DC electrical systems. The
DC system has four separate buses and includes advanced features such as automatic load-shedding in the
event of generator failure. The engine is equipped with a two-speed supercharger that enables it to produce
the power necessary to take the plane to heights of up to 37,000 feet; as high as many modern jetliners.
A built-in system supplies oxygen to both pilots for high altitude flight. The plane even has provisions for
a system to provide pressure for anti-G suits. A complete panel of navigation and communications gear
allowed the T-28 to operate in all but the worst weather. It was routinely used to train pilots to fly on instruments.
Finally, the T-28 was designed to be easy to maintain. Access hatches and panels are located all over the plane
to facilitate inspections and servicing. Both main cowling sections, for instance, can be unlatched and propped
open on their own, self-contained braces to provide access to the engine and accessories area. An entire
engine swap can be accomplished by an experienced crew in about four hours. A complete, full-aircraft,
annual inspection can be done in about sixty man-hours, which is very low for an aircraft of this complexity.
The T-28 proved to be an excellent design with many fine attributes. After serving in the military for more
than three decades, it continues to fly as one of the most popular of civilian-owned "warbirds".
OUR NORTH AMERICAN T-28 “TROJAN”