Air Force T-38 Trainer Jet Suffers Landing Gear Mishap; No Injuries Reported

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A T-38 Talon flies over Beale Air Force Base.
A T-38 Talon flies over Beale Air Force Base, Calif., Dec. 7, 2018. (U.S. Air Force/Airman 1st Class Tristan Viglianco)

A U.S. Air Force T-38 Talon trainer jet out of Beale Air Force Base, California, experienced a landing gear mishap when touching down at Sacramento's Mather Airport, the service said Thursday.

The two pilots aboard sustained no injuries during the accident, base officials said in a release. The aircraft, which took off from Beale for routine training, belongs to the 9th Reconnaissance Wing, the release adds.

The twin-engine jet came down at the airport with its landing gear up at approximately 9:00 a.m. The facility, roughly 50 miles from the base, is often used by military aircraft for touch-and-go landings and takeoffs, 9th Reconnaissance Wing spokeswoman Kathryn Miller told Military.com.

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She said she could not provide further details, citing the ongoing investigation into the incident.

The base is best known for its U-2 Dragon Lady reconnaissance aircraft. It operates T-38s for its companion aircraft training program, according to the service.

Some of the Northrop Grumman-made T-38s date to the mid-1960s. Pilots have noted feeling strain when conducting basic maneuvers in the T-38 because its shape -- most notably its stubby wings -- gives it unforgiving tendencies. The aircraft performs best at high speeds and is much more challenging to fly when pilots are working on slow-speed fundamental skills, a former T-38 instructor told Military.com last year.

The Air Force is preparing to replace the aging T-38s with new trainer jets.

In September 2018, the service awarded Boeing Co. a $9.2 billion contract to build a replacement aircraft, known as the T-X program. In 2019, the Air Force rebranded the T-X as the T-7A Redhawk, named in honor of the Tuskegee Airmen.

The first T-7A is expected to be delivered in 2023, along with new flight training simulators.

-- Oriana Pawlyk can be reached at oriana.pawlyk@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at @Oriana0214.

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