North American T-39 Sabreliner


Back to the Virtual Aircraft Museum
  BUSINESS TRANSPORTVirtual Aircraft Museum / USA / North American  

North American T-39 Sabreliner

Successful in both civil and military markets, the North American NA-246 Sabreliner was developed originally as a private venture although the programme launch, announced on 27 August 1956, was in response to the US Air Force UTX (Utility Trainer Experimental) specification issued ealier in that month. Laid out with a six-seat interior and to be flown by a two-man crew, the civil-registered prototype was completed in May 1958, although the lack of suitable engines delayed the first flight, which took place at Los Angeles, until 16 September. The initial powerplant comprised two 1134kg thrust General Electric YJ85 turbojets and, thus powered, the prototype completed its military evaluation programme at Edwards Air Force Base in December 1958. A month later the Sabreliner won its first order, for seven NA-265 or T-39A aircraft with 1361kg thrust Pratt & Whitney J60 engines. Military production eventually totalled 213 aircraft. All military models of the T-39 series were certificated to civil airworthiness standards, beginning with the T-39A on 23 March 1962. North American then launched the commercial version, which was type approved as the NA-265-40 Sabreliner 40 on 17 April 1963. Since then civil production of all models, including the final model, the Sabreliner 65A, totalled well over 600 aircraft when the last aircraft came off the line in 1981. Rockewell International's Sabreliner Division was acquired in 1983 by the specially formed Sabreliner Corporation of St Louis, Missouri to continue product support. At the end of 1990 the company completed the design of a new version of the Sabreliner designated the Model 85. This has a supercritical wing incorporating winglets, a fuselage stretch of 1.5m, and more powerful TFE731-5 turbofan engines, but further development will require a risk-sharing partner.

 MODELSabreliner 65
 ENGINE2 x Garrett TFE731-3-1D turbofans, 1678kg
  Take-off weight10886 kg24000 lb
  Empty weight6420 kg14154 lb
  Wingspan15.37 m50 ft 5 in
  Length14.30 m47 ft 11 in
  Height4.88 m16 ft 0 in
  Cruise speed0.81M0.81M
  Ceiling13715 m45000 ft

Comments1-20 21-40 41-60 61-80
Beverly Juan, e-mail, 16.12.2023 03:33

How do I recover $222,500. BTC sent to a romance scammer?
It's possible to get back your money little I know it was a big shock of my life because the company i sent my money to was revealed to be a total scam.
I contacted the professional and they helped me with the recovery of all my money successfully, you can also contact them for help. They will help you retrieve back your money, I was able to retrieve all my money back through the professional, you can contact them too they are ready to help....

Email Address:

Whats-App: +1 (803) 392-1735


Bob Archer, e-mail, 12.12.2023 20:12

I am compiling operational data on the Air Force and Navy T-39s for a book being publilshed in 2024. I would love to include "bar war stories ". I would also love to hear from anyone involved with Scatback in South East Asia.
The brand new T-39 was also the unsung hero of the Cuban Missile Crisis, ferrying films for SAC, and important documents for ADC, TAC and SAC. Any air or ground personnel have memories of this tense period in late 1962. Contact me on email Thanks


Bill Casady, e-mail, 11.08.2023 20:42

When I was at Evreux during the closedown ('66-'67), there was a T-39 that I got called out on a couple of times. I can't remember if it was based there or not, but it was there a lot. And I remember that the T.O. for the electrical system wiring diagrams was way different from the ones I was used to (Gooney Birds, T-29's)! I must have figured it out, because I don't remember any come-backs. It was a pretty stressful situation, being the only aircraft electrician on base, and yet being a 3-level. But none of my planes caught fire, so I must have done okay.


BRIAN SIMMERS, e-mail, 23.06.2023 17:48

While looking at the group photo cover of this group, the tail # 61-0675 seemed familiar to me. I met someone on a post, Chis Carmichael, whose father was Lieutenant Colonel John "Hoagey" Carmichael an Instructor /FCF pilot at Langley AFB. I had the opportunity to fly with him as a crew chief on numerous occasions, one in particular was on 61-0675 for a FCF flight after flight control maintenance on 09 Jan 1975, as the plane was taking off the aft fuselage fire warning system activated, we were unable to abort and had to fly around for an emergency landing. We were met on the runway with all the emergency equipment available. My thoughts were..."Lord is this how it's going to end", thankfully the fire was a bleed air duct connection that came apart in the aft fuselage and all was good. This all came to light when Chris researched his dad's log book and found the entry for that day 0675 was listed as FCF Flight /Fire, he also flew 0675 in 1971 with Scatback in 1971 per Chris. I was the crew chief on 59-2873 74-76 at the time and LTC Carmichael flew his last flight of his career before retirement on 59-2873 in May 1975.He stopped by his son's school and brought him along to see the flight, I launched and recovered him on that day.
If not for this group these memories were long gone but now I have them back and Chris also has a better understanding of his dad's career.


Robert simmons, e-mail, 29.12.2022 02:16

Spent 14 of my 20 years in Air Force working on the t39 started in 1963 at Langley on the first ones we got there spent a year then was in North Africa for a year then back to Langley and back on the saber liner again for three more years flew as flight mechanic we had ten planes there for tac sic command 2 b models 593873 and 592874 the rest were a models in 1967 was shipped to ramstenat that time it was headquarters for 17th Air Force had two a models 624470 and 624478 for the commander flew all over Europe on many flights man slates was the ip an outstanding officer to work with at that time general Yeager was deputy commander flew several times with him went to Thailand from there for a year working on b66s then back to Langley my last 8 years we had 624496 as our primary aircraft for tac commander and 634495 as backup did a lot of taxing in Germany and Langley very easy aircraft to tAxl besides the two b models we also had 624494 624498 624495 624496 61640 61647 624501 624502


BRIAN SIMMERS, e-mail, 11.03.2023 Robert simmons

Hey Bob,
I worked for /with you at Langley 1974-1976 on the flight line working on the T-39's. This may help you to remember me, when I was discharged in Sept 1976 you bought a motorcycle from me a Honda 450 cc. just wondering how are you doing. Answering your question on the big hanger, I was there when we moved from the east end to the west end to the big hanger, around the same time the F-15"s arrived.
Thanks Brian


Bob Archer, e-mail, 09.03.2020 18:29

I would like to contact John Caton and anyone else who supported the Cuban Missile Crisis with T-39 missions. Please contact me on email Many thanks Bob Archer


Rodney Bell, e-mail, 26.02.2018 03:46

My first duty assignment was at Randolph AFB, 1971 T-39 Base Flight....I was Ass't Crew Chief on LGEN George B. Simler's T-39....Got my first stick time in back in 72. Sweet aircraft...!


William R. Buchanan, e-mail, 20.02.2021 Rodney Bell

Rodney I don't remember you and just happened across this site. You must have came in right after I was sent to the PI.

I was Tech Sgt Robesons assistant from 69 to 71 on 0678 or Gen Simlar's Personal T39. I was the person who painted it over at Kelly AFB when we upgraded it to rival Gen Browns plane, (Off White and Very Light Gray in early 71. I was sent to Scott AFB to learn C9 Hospital Ships and ran the phase Dock at Clark AFB in the Philippines in 72-73. I was also on a first name basis with Maj Gaston O Bush (mentioned in another post) who was one of the finest officers I ever met in my service.

Small World Huh?


Bill Hallisey, e-mail, 26.08.2017 18:47

Want to share stories and connect with fellow Air Force T-39 crew chiefs and maintenance personnel stationed in Weisbaden from 1969 to 1972. I was a crew chief on flying status. Probably landed in most air bases and airports in Europe at one time or another.


Robert Simmons, e-mail, 31.12.2022 Bill Hallisey

Bill was at Ramstein 1967 to 1970 had seventh Air Force saber liners two them


Rafael Velez, e-mail, 10.05.2021 Bill Hallisey

I was stationed at Wiesbaden AFB from 1970-72 as a T-39 mechanic flight line and jet docks. Flew as Flight mechanic sometimes. Like to communicate with some of the old workers there. It was fun being stationed there. I remember the Big Ben and Featherstall bars. The T-39 was a great bird. I studied aviation and was an airline pilot for 38 years retiring as Intl Captain on B-777. I flew for PanAm and Delta. Was based in Berlin on B-727.


Dave Hansen, e-mail, 22.03.2017 04:06

as a non flying enlisted, I supported the Scatback mission at NKP after they signed the Pease with Honor Accords.. I have not heard the first discouraging remarks from anyone who was associated with this wonderful airframe. Scatback March 73 to October 73, NKP, in support of the United States Support Activities Group (USSAG)


Patrick Spino, e-mail, 21.02.2017 20:46

Hello to everyone contributing here regarding the T-39 Sabreliner. I was a Sgt stationed USAF Wiesbaden '69-'71, 2063rd Comm Sq. I met Maj. Gus Bush (Texan) who piloted the T-39 (on SAM) and he offered to take me on a trip. A buddy of his who had just rotated out of Sheppard for Wiesbaden co-piloted with Gus; the mission consisted of several touch & goes at various strips in Italy to orient the co-pilot of these airstrips before landing in Athens for a couple of nights. This trip was the highlight of my 4 years served. I loved jets since I was a kid and to be in the T-39 flying over the Swiss Alps, the Leaning Tower of Pisa as well as coming in on final approach to Athens while looking down on the turquoise waters of the Med, are experiences I'll never ever forget! Thanks so much, Major Gus Bush!


Larry Miller, 28.12.2016 23:29

Bill Hallisey, I was stationed at Wiesbaden during the same time you where there 1970 -1972. I worked in the T-39 Phase Dock doing both Minor and Major Aircraft Inspections along with assisting with aircraft modifications. We put in some long hrs. sometimes and I got to know each aircraft and their crew chiefs. Over all it was Great Duty.


Rafael Velez, e-mail, 29.03.2022 Larry Miller

I was a T-39 mechanic at Wiesbaden from 1970-1972. I also worked at the Jet hangar and also the flight line. My aircraft was 62-4471. I think you were my roommate for a while. Are you from Idaho? Let me know. I became a pilot for 40 years and retired as a B-777 captain for Delta.


Rafael Velez, e-mail, 13.10.2021 Larry Miller

I was station at Wiesbaden from 1970-1972. I work at the hangar and then the flight line on the T-39. I think you were my roomate for a while. Let me know how your doing. I live in Florida as a retired airline captain. Sincerely, Rafael


Marcus White, e-mail, 26.12.2016 18:58

I was stationed at Norton AFB in California from 1975 thru 1979. I was in the 63 OMS and I was the crew chief for aircraft 610647. Used to polish the leading edge slats almost daily. Whenever the pilot requested me to empty the blue water from the toilet I knew what their plans were. Or if they were to request for me to fly the plane but for me to bring an overnight bag for what was to be a 4 hour flight I knew we were going to flying near Nellis. As soon as we got near Nellis they would call me to the cockpit and stare at one of the gauges. Fuel flow was one of their favorites. It would bounce around and for a split second exceed the maximum. I would red X the aircraft and we would land at Nellis. Of course I would call my squadron and inform them I needed a engine specialist. It would take two days to get him there. So of course I would spent those two days in Las Vegas. The specialist would arrive and I would run the engines for him. He would inform his people that he needed a replacement fuel flux flow transmitter or something of the like and it would take two days to arrive. Another two days in Vegas. What a life. I also was TDY in Japan at Yokota AB for a few months to assist with some T39's there. Best times of my life.


Ember Gidion, e-mail, 18.02.2022 Marcus White

Hey Marcus, what a small world. I was just thinking if we ever ran into each other. I to was stationed at Norton AFB between 1972-1975 in the 63rd MAW as a Master Sargent. I was a Radar, Communication and Navigation Technician. I worked on the flight line, in launch trucks, docks and in the shop. I trouble shot any problems that worked off of electricity on any and all aircraft tat was on or flew into Norton. Then trouble shot and repaired any of these systems ‘black boxes’ including instrumentation in the shop, replaced tested and sometimes flew with some of the superstitious pilots crews. Also keyed in daily ‘Friend or Foe’ codes for aircraft.
I have to say that was one of my best experiences in life. I got to travel to a lot of places in both the U.S. AND OVERSEAS. It gave me 1 year of electronics education as well as MUCH more responsibility. This along with degree in Electronic Engineering really was very helpful getting a career in the Aerospace Defense field. I truly believe that EVERY young person should have to serve for at least 3 to 4 years in our military!
How was your experience? Did you enjoy your time in service?
Do you still live in Southern California?
I hope life has been great for you and Thank you for your service (really).


Jess Hennell, e-mail, 25.11.2016 23:36

I was asst crew chief and flight mech on the T-39A aircraft 62-4453 at Peterson Field and crew chief on 624474 then 624462 at RAF Lakenheath then they moved 62-4462 RAF Mildenhall. I had 5 years on these aircraft it was the best 5 years of my 21. I have a face book groupe
T-39A Flight Mech and Crews it's open to all T-39 guys do come and join it would be great to hear from you. Also if any of the guys I worked with see this do drop an e mail


Rick Fluke, e-mail, 07.08.2022 Jess Hennell

Just ran across your comments on being a crew chief on T-39s at Peterson Field. Were you there during 65-66 ??

As a young E-3 I was a member of the HQ ADC briefing team and had many trips in one special T-39 along with M /Gen Preuss, Col Bennett(?) and MajTom Ferrara.

If my memory is correct the bird was "Smokey 462". If in fact that was the correct tail number, I got to fly on it again when it was assigned to the "Scatback" flight at TSN during 66 /67.

I remember one particular flight while at ADC - we were on
let down into Langley AFB when we had a Duck hit the ring
on the Starboard engine - Big WHAM! and the aircraft veered
sharply before it straightened out. Just glad it wasn't ingested by the engine !!

Ah, to be so young again! But can you affirm whether the
correct tail number was 462 or perhaps 426 ??

Rick Fluke
SMSgt USAF (Ret)


Dannny Howser, e-mail, 05.01.2022 Jess Hennell

Jess, I was at Mildenhall when you and the T-39 were transferred from Lakenheath. I was a flight mechanic on the C-47’s and later T-29’s. You and I were in Base Flight. Do you remember a flight to Ramstein in the T-39 and during refueling the SPR receptacle failed? I was on a trip in. The T-29 and we’re diverted to pickup your crew and pax. If I recall correctly there was a General Officer onboard the T-39.


Ron Obernier, e-mail, 11.02.2021 Jess Hennell

What happened to 62-4462? I worked on it at Wethersfield in the 62-65 timeframe.


Wayne Tisdale, e-mail, 30.09.2016 00:18

I was fortunate enough to fly on T-39's as a inflight crew chief at Westover AFB, from 67 -68. Worked for Msgt Ledger. In 1970 I was assigned to Tan Son Nhut, Viet Nam, and once again was an inflight crew chief for the Scat Back Airlines. That was a real busy assignment, flew 6 days in a row hustling courier material to ever base with an improved runway up and down Viet Nam and over to the bases inThailand. The long hours helped pass the time.


ROBERT S, e-mail, 04.07.2016 04:15



Brian Simmers, e-mail, 12.03.2022 ROBERT S

Dear Robert,
I was stationed at Langley AFB 73-76 and was a crew chief on 59-2873. If this reaches you please reach outThanks Brian S


Anonymous, e-mail, 08.01.2023 Brian Simmers

BriAn we worked together at Langley were you there when we were up at the big hanger where the big airplane were or down at the other end by the t birds


BRIAN SIMMERS, e-mail, 13.03.2023 Anonymous

I was at both areas at Langley when they moved us, I presume to make room for the F-15's when we were reassigned from 4500 CAMS to the First Tactical Fighter Wing in 75-76 I think.


BRIAN SIMMERS, e-mail, 11.03.2023 Anonymous

Hey Bob,
I worked for /with you at Langley 1974-1976 on the flight line working on the T-39's. This may help you to remember me, when I was discharged in Sept 1976 you bought a motorcycle from me a Honda 450 cc. just wondering how are you doing.


John caton, e-mail, 24.04.2016 20:18

If there is anyone that wants to know where the T39 they use to work on is, write me at I found a cite that gives its location or if it was sold to a foreign country. Love to hear from any T39 enthusiast . This plane had a role in the cuban missel crisis that was not known but by a very few individuals.


Robert Simmons, e-mail, 29.12.2022 John caton

John weren’t you and I at Langley at the same time I was a tech sgt at the time I think we used to work together on flight line do you have any information on 624470 or 624478 the airplanes I had at ramstrin ger send me a e mail sometime


Rafael Velez, e-mail, 13.10.2021 John caton

I like to know what happen to T-39 I work on at Wiesbaden AFB. Tail number 66-4461.(1970-1972).


Brian Simmers, e-mail, 28.03.2022 Rafael Velez

If you are referring to Tail # 62-4461, she is on display at Warner-Robbins AFB Macon Ga. Goggle the Tail # and it will come up.


Rafael Velez, e-mail, 29.03.2022 Brian Simmers

I will look it up and probably drive there to see it. It was my intro to aviation. After discharge I study aviation in Florida. I had a 40 year career as a pilot with National /PanAm /Delta. I retired as a B-777 as an international Captain. Thanks a lot for the info.


john caton, e-mail, 24.04.2016 20:02

I spent 14 years out of 20 working and flying on T39s. For those who also did the same I understand the relationship with this aircraft. Met so many great crew chiefs , they had pride in their plane and work. I was so greatful to have assignments that allowed me to work on and fly with over 2600 loged hours. The tail # 61638 that Carl Arend was asking about is in Laredo Texas as of Apr 2006


Bill Hallisey, e-mail, 04.03.2016 01:19

I was a crew chief /flight mechanic on T-39's at Wiesbaden Germany from 1970 thru 1972. We referred to our mission as the Wiesbaden Air Base Taxi Stand. Worked with a great group of fellow Air Force personnel.


Rafael Velez, e-mail, 13.10.2021 Bill Hallisey

I was a mechanic on T-39 station at Wiesbaden from 1970 to 1972. Was a great assignment.


DALE, e-mail, 03.02.2016 04:37

I worked on t39s at tan son nhut vietnam 68-69 scatback det 1 460 trw tail #504 the picture above looks like 675 at tan son nhut


Granpa, e-mail, 26.05.2015 18:36

The text omits mention of the Sabre 75 and 75A.


1-20 21-40 41-60 61-80

Do you have any comments?

Name    E-mail


All the World's Rotorcraft

All rhe World's Rotorcraft AVIATION TOP 100 -