Quick Facts

Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star

Most Popular Two-Seat Advanced Jet Trainer

Era: Jet Age

Part of the Air Zoo Collection

Location: Mounted outside

Flown by over 30 countries, Lockheed's T-33 Shooting Star became the world's most used two-seat advanced jet trainer! The T-33 is a two-seat jet trainer variant of the P-80 Shooting Star, America's first operational jet fighter. Lockheed created this Cold War era aircraft for pilots in training already skilled with propeller-driven planes.

Three Feet Made the 33

The T-33 came to be when Lockheed lengthened the P-80 fuselage about three feet and through the addition of a second seat, instrumentation, and flight controls. The Shooting Star first entered service in the early 1950s and Lockheed, as well as contractors including those in Canada and Japan, manufactured over 6,500 T-33s. Between 1953 to 1968, the U.S. Air Force trained all its pilots in the Shooting Star, which many affectionately called the "T-Bird."

The Air Zoo's T-33

Our Shooting Star rolled off the factory floor in Burbank, California and promptly went to work for the U.S. Air Force. By 1955, it flew with the U.S. Navy as a TV-2. The aircraft went to the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Center in the mid-70s before its retirement in 1975 and following that, spent time at Houston Community College in Houston, Texas. The Air Zoo acquired this T-33 through the U.S. General Services Administration Federal Surplus Property Program in 1993. The popular trainer greets Air Zoo visitors from its position outside of the atrium closest to the main entrance and parking lot.