Temco Model 51 / TT-1 Pinto


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Temco Model 51 / TT-1 Pinto

In the early 1950s Temco initiated design of a lightweight primary jet trainer which it designated Model 51 Pinto. A cantilever mid-wing monoplane with retractable tricycle landing gear, accommodating the instructor and pupil in tandem in an enclosed cockpit, it was powered by a Continental J69-T-9 turbojet.

The prototype, first flown on 26 March 1956, was later tested by the US Navy, which then ordered 14 production aircraft under the designation TT-1. The first jet trainer in service with any of the US air arms, it was operated by the US Navy to study the feasibility of using jet aircraft for primary training. No further production followed, and plans for a Super Pinto attack trainer also failed.

 ENGINE1 x 418kg Continental J69-T-9 turbojet
  Take-off weight1996 kg4400 lb
  Wingspan9.09 m30 ft 10 in
  Length9.32 m31 ft 7 in
  Height3.30 m11 ft 10 in
  Wing area13.94 m2150.05 sq ft
  Max. speed555 km/h345 mph
  Ceiling9815 m32200 ft

Leo Ehrhardt, e-mail, 30.05.2017 00:01

I joined Temco in June 1955 as an engineer right out of college. Went through a training period then was assigned to the propulsion department working for Jack Hawkins. I then was assigned to the group located in a roped off area in the high bay to complete the Pinto. I was to help design the intakes for the J-69 engine. Recall the problem we had with the location of the intakes causing water from the runway being ingested. Many trips to the Greenville with mocked up changes to solve thr problem. For a young engineer the involvement in such a project was so special!


John, e-mail, 10.12.2015 06:52

My father, Nevin Palley, worked on this aircraft. I remember it being built. I still remember my father in total emotion the day his good friend and test pilot was lost. I recall that the test pilot always wore cowboy boots for every flight.


Robert Hale, e-mail, 15.06.2023 John


I don't remember you, but I was Walnut Hill Elementary School (1st-6th) friends with Mary, B. Nov. 15, 1946, and younger sister, name ?
You all lived on 10151 Rosser Rd., Dallas then.
Could I be right?
This webpage is great!

Rob (Robby) Hale I lived on Sexton Ln. 1952-1958


Ron Gowin, e-mail, 01.10.2021 John

John Somehow I came across your email re: the Temco jet trainer. I remember my father, Roy Gowin, mentioning your father’s name. Would go out to plant with my dad on Sat and taxi the trainer and meet people. Great times.


Jack Burkarth, e-mail, 19.05.2014 21:22

I came to Temco from Beech in 1954. I worked on the TT1 at the new factory in Garland. They moved everybody from Grand Prairie and that's where I did most of my work. I designed the electrical system on the TT1.


Steve Lauer, e-mail, 29.12.2013 19:41

As a tower operator at NAS Dallas during '50-'58, I saw many of the TT-1 early flights, including one demo flight that the nose gear collapsed during landing.
The TT-1 was not the first USN jet aircraft to support basic training. I went into flight training in Feb '58 and one student in my class was selected to enter the T2V basic training course that he completed satisfactorily.


Bob Reiland, e-mail, 03.08.2012 04:57

Coming to Temco in 1955 from Nirth American, was like visiting a 2nd cousin. Many of Temco staff were "loyal" Texans who had worked at the same Dallas plant for NAA during WW II. The same A.V.O. (Avoid Verbal Orders) note pads used by NAA were posted in the guard shack. My jobs on the TT-1 were stress analysis of the Tail, speed-brakes and canopy. Much thinner sheet than NAA F-86, F-100, Aj-1, etc. Test Pilot, Martin Collis, was roundly complimented for "not losing his head over a little piece of tail" when he lost the entire L.H. Horizontal during a Max. G Pullout. He made a 6 G Pullout with only the R.H. tail. The L.H. suffered SEVERE flutter and "departed" just after he had pushed pver into the dive. The 40 in. long by 3 in. chord was just too flimsy. It was replaced by a "traditional" shaped tab on EACH elevator. No sweat.

At Martin-Orlando, I worked with Bob Sjolander, who had served as a Navy Test Pilot for the TT-1 during its trials at Patuxent. He echoed many of the comments in this group -- especially the lack of "oomph" available with the J-69.

And, oh yes. -- Please inform "Ray W." the TT-1 had a metal wing. – Collis was our hero for having saved our SINGLE prototype "bird." -- HAPPY LANDINGS! -- Bob


Marty Tibbitts, e-mail, 19.07.2012 02:43

Hi all, I'm part of a museum (World Heritage Air Museum) in Detroit that has acquired N13PJ, Pinto #13. After a significant restoration it is back to Navy yellow, and as a Super Pinto I do have to say that rather than take off, it lifts off. Come by KDET and say hi.


John Kanuch, e-mail, 12.05.2012 23:50

Recently heard from my TT-1 flight instructor and learned that Mike Dillon has donated his aircraft to the National Museum of Naval Aviation in Pensacola, FL. I'm sure it will be repainted in Navy yellow and tip tanks removed for display. When I last flew it in 1998 it was in pristine condition.


Larry Martin Collis, e-mail, 20.09.2011 07:21

My dad, Martin Collis, Jr. was the chief test pilot for Temco and helped with the design and flight test of the TT-1. I have all the pictures of the Photo-Op with Jayne Mansfield and the chief engineer, Dale Boyd. What a time in aviation history. I wasn't even born until 1960. I love reading all of your stories.


E.G. Hickam, e-mail, 07.07.2011 02:57

The differences between the TT-1 and the super with the j-85 are vast. This is a case of dramatically changing everything in terms of performance. raising the cruise speed to 400 mph and the rate of climb to 10,000 feet per minute, but it still had short legs.


ev Hickam, e-mail, 06.07.2011 20:46

these were wonderful stable little trainers and I concur they had very short range at the low altitudes which were imposed. However they were delightful to fly, Perhaps to easy for a trainer. My 70 year old aunt could have flown it with 30 minutes instruction.


Ray W., e-mail, 03.01.2011 20:28

In the mid 70s I pumped gas at an FBO in SC. One of these birds taxied up and I fueled it with Jet A. The pilot told me it was a Super Pinto (bigger engine) and I recollect it had wood wings. Could anyone confirm my memory is not as bad as I suspect.


John Kanuch, e-mail, 17.08.2010 21:18

I was in the last class of the Pinto in 1960, VT-11, Pinto Pioneers. We had a non-fatal accident and the class was canceled before I got to fly. We started through T-34 ground school. "They" decided to beef up the engine mounting bolts and resume the class. It was a "dog" but we were jet pilots. I bought a ride from Mike Dillon in Scottsdale, AZ in 2000. It was awesome! The airplane looked like it had just recently come from the factory.


Bob Kinsey, e-mail, 28.01.2010 14:35

My Dad, Bill Kinsey worked on this aircraft at Temco in Grand Prarie Texas. I remember he told the story about a test flight malfunction when one side of the horizontal tail detacthed in flight and the test pilot succcessfully landed the Pinto with no further damage and commented on the stability of the plane in the emergency. Must be quite an extraordinary craft.


captbilly, e-mail, 05.09.2009 10:47

The extremely short range of the Pinto was (and to a large extent still is) a common issue with trainer and fighter type aircraft. I flew T-37s and T-38s in pilot training and neither one would fly much more than an hour on full fuel in a training environment. The T-38 actually had the lower endurance, with 1 hour 15 minutes being a typical training mission, dropping to as low as 45 minutes if you used afterburner a lot. The T-37 gave missions of more like 1.5 hours training. Both aricraft could do better at high altitude on a cross country flight. In fact a big reason for the low endurance was the unusually low altitudes (for a jet) that we flew our missions. T-38s missions were typically between 12K and 26K while the T-37 missions were in the low teens and lower. Any jet will burn tons of fuel at such low altitudes, part of the reaosn for the poster's recollection of exceptionally poor range at altitudes below 10,000 ft.

Of course another issue with the pinto and t-37 was that they were unpressurized. Military regulations during my time in the USAF would not allow altitude of over 25K in an unpressurized aircraft so even on a long cross country (well maybe not so long) you would fly your T-37 at no higher than 25K, and the fuel consuption would suffer. My recollection is that we typicallyplaned cross country ranges of 300 or so NM on the T-37 and about twice that on the T-38, and we didn't land with NBAA IFR reserves either. I believe military rules required 20 minutes or 5% of takoff fuel at your destination, plus fuel to an alternate if one was required due to weather. That might only wourk out to a total of 20 minutes of fuel at the destination, although we always had more since we were practicing approaches when we got to where we were going.


Mike Curry, e-mail, 30.07.2009 18:21

I have one flying in Akron Ohio if anyone wants to visit.

Mike Curry


Rod Farley, e-mail, 05.02.2009 16:24

I also learned to fly in the Pinto, I don't remember which class we were in but we started flying the Pinto in August 1959. I concur with Dennis Young's remark about always landing with the low fuel light on. We normally didn't fly above 10,000 feet, but the sylabbus had one flight to 15,000 ft.-but we were "jet pilots". After flying the Pinto we went on to be the first class to fly the T2 Buckeye (when it was a single engine airplane. I flew F8's in the fleet and then spent 36+ years flying for United, but still have fond memories of the Pinto-sort of like your first love.
This being the 50th anniversary of my learning to fly in the Pinto, does anyone know where I might go to see one that is still flying?


Jack Thompson, e-mail, 28.08.2008 02:09

I'm supprised at the wing-span. I have owned a Temco Swift for 16 years with a IO-360 engine (Continental 210 HP) and the wing span on it is also 29ft 10 inches. If the Pinto is anything like my Temco SwIFT iT IS A GREAT AIRCRAFT. Jack Thompson


Bobby Gambrell, e-mail, 14.05.2008 23:57

I worked on this plane in 1957 for TEMCO in Grand Prairie,


Dennis Young, e-mail, 13.05.2008 21:53

I was in the sixth class at Pensacola to fly this great little plane while in primary flight training in the fall of 1959. One of the things I recall was we always landed with the low fuel light on as its max flight time was around one hour and fifteen minuets and because of this, the tower always cleared us for immediate landing ahead of the T34's who would have to go around until we were down.


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