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B-52D “Stratofortress”
BT-13 "Valiant"

Flight Trainers

Have you ever thought of learning to fly?  Well, getting acquainted with a basic trainers may inspire you.  The Foundation offers several for you to view and a T-37 cockpit to “climb on in” and dream the dreams of flight. The Aviation Training Exhibits contains several displays of aviation trainers. From the BT-13 primary basic trainer to a "climb on in" T-37 cockpit, we hope to encourage the thrill of flight in kids of all ages.

Training Aircraft at Travis AFB Aviation Museum


PT-19 Cornell 

The PT-19, developed by Fairchild in 1938 to satisfy a military requirement for a rugged monoplane primary trainer, was ordered into quantity production in 1940.  In addition to being manufactured by Fairchild during WW II, the "Cornell" was produced in the U.S. by the Aeronca, Howard and St. Louis Aircraft Corporations and in Canada by Fleet Aircraft, Ltd.

Some Cornells were powered by Continental radial engines and designated PT-23s, while others were produced with cockpit canopies and designated PT-26s. Altogether, 7,742 Cornells were manufactured for the AAF, with 4,889 of them being PT-19s. Additional Cornells were supplied to Canada, Norway, Brazil, Ecuador and Chile.

BT-13A Valiant

The "Valiant" was the basic trainer most widely used by the USAAF during WW II.  It represented the second of the three stages of pilot training: primary, basic and advanced.  Compared with the primary trainers in use at the time, it was considerably more complex.  The BT-13 not only  had a more powerful engine, it was also faster and heavier. In addition, it

required the student pilot to use two-way radio communications with the ground, operate landing flaps and a two-position variable pitch propeller.

Nicknamed the "Vibrator" by the pilots who flew it, the BT-13 was powered by a Pratt & Whitney R-985 engine. But to counter the shortage of these engines early in the BT-13 production program, 1,693 Valiants were produced in 1941-2 with a Wright R-975 engine and were designated as BT-15s.  By the end of WW II, 10,375 BT-13s and BT-15s had been accepted by the AAF.

T-33 shooting star

The T-33 trainer "T-Bird" came from the F-80 fighter, which also bore the name "Shooting Star". By adding three feet to the fuselage the world's first jet trainer was born. The cockpit grew to two places and the six machine guns came out.

The two seat, jet was designed for training pilots

already qualified to fly propeller —driven aircraft. Originally designated the TF-80C, the T-33 made its first flight in March 1948. Production continued until August 1959 with 5,691 T-33s built. The two-place T-33 proved suitable as an advanced trainer, and it has been used for such tasks as drone director and target towing. The U.S. Air Force began phasing the T-33 out of front-line pilot training duties in the Air Training Command in the early 1960s, as the Cessna T-37 Tweet and Northrop T-38 Talon aircraft began replacing it for the Undergraduate Pilot Training (UPT) program.

Flight Simulators / cockpit procedures trainers

Aircraft flight simulators were developed to enhance aviation safety, reduce training costs, and provide a controlled and versatile environment for training, testing, and skill development for pilots and other aviation professionals. Crews practice handling emergencies in the simulator, so, if need be, they react properly to real emergencies. Cockpit Procedures Trainers (CPT) allow pilots to practice basic cockpit procedures, like processing emergency checklists. Full-motion simulators provide motion and realistic scenarios for student pilots. They have become indispensable tools in modern aviation training and operations. Some of our CPTs are for display only, but there are  several "hands-on" CPTs in the "Kids Zone"- climb in one and learn what the pilot sees when he is flying. Use your imagination and see yourself flying safely through the air.


Link Trainer:

The term Link Trainer, also known as the "Blue box"  refers to a series of flight simulators produced between the early 1930s and early 1950s by Link Aviation Devices, founded and headed by Ed Link, based on technology he pioneered in 1929 at his family's business in Binghamton, New York. During World War II, they were used as a key pilot training aid by almost every combatant nation.

The original Link Trainer was created in 1929 out of the need for a safe way to teach new pilots how to fly by instruments. Ed Link used his knowledge of pumpsvalves and bellows gained at his father's Link Piano and Organ

Company to create a flight simulator that responded to the pilot's controls and gave an accurate reading on the included instruments. More than 500,000 US pilots were trained on Link simulators,[2] as were pilots of nations as diverse as Australia, Canada, Germany, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Israel, Japan, Pakistan, and the USSR.


T-28 Texan:

(Hands on) The North American Aviation T-28 Trojan is a radial-engine military trainer aircraft manufactured by North American Aviation and used by the United States Air Force and United States Navy beginning in the 1950s. Besides its use as a trainer, the T-28 was successfully employed as a counter-insurgency aircraft, primarily during the Vietnam War. It has continued in civilian use as an aerobatics and warbird performer. The USAF replaced the T-28 as a primary trainer in the mid-1950s with the piston-engined Beech T-34 Mentor and jet-powered Cessna T-37.

T-37  Tweet:

(Hands on) The T-37 is a twin-engine primary trainer used for teaching the fundamentals of jet aircraft operation and instrument, formation and night flying.  Affectionately known as the "Tweety Bird" or "Tweet," it was the first USAF jet aircraft designed from conception as a trainer (as opposed to a modification such as the T-33).  Its flying characteristics helped student pilots prepare to transition to the larger, faster T-38 "Talon" later in the pilot training program.  Side-by-side seating in the T-37 makes it easier for the instructor to observe and communicate with the student.

The XT-37 prototype made its initial flight on October 12, 1954, and the pre-production T-37A first flew on September 27, 1955.  Following modifications, the T-37A entered operational USAF service in 1957.  In 1959, the T-37B joined the USAF.  Similar to the -A, it had more powerful engines, a redesigned instrument panel and improved radio communications and navigational equipment. In time, all -As were modified to -B standards

F-100 Super Sabre:

(Hands on) Developed as a follow-on to the F-86 Sabre used in the Korean War, the F-100 was the world's first production airplane capable of flying faster than the speed of sound in level flight (760 mph).  The prototype, the YF-100A, made its first flight on May 25, 1953 at Edwards AFB, California.  Of the 2,294 F-100's built before production ended in 1959, 1,274 were -D's, more than all the other series combined.  The -D, which made its first flight on Jan. 24, 1956, was the most advanced production version.  Its features included the first autopilot designed for a supersonic jet and a low-altitude bombing system. The Super Sabre had its combat debut in Vietnam where it was used extensively as a fighter-bomber in ground-support missions such as attacking bridges, road junctions, and troop concentrations.

The trainer was poor condition in storage when we received it. After 165 hours of work spread over several months, Bob Jenkins, a volunteer at the Travis Air Museum, completed the restoration of our F-100D cockpit trainer.  This trainer was built in the 1950s by the Refectone Company of Stamford Connecticut, a major flight simulator company.    The rudder control system had been removed and required repair as well as installation.  Almost all the instrument lenses were broken and had to be replaced.  In addition, both the trainer and control console needed general repair and then had to be repainted.  Bob also built a stairway to provide access to the cockpit.  The F-100D cockpit trainer joined the T-37 and T-28 cockpit trainers at the museum as the most popular hands-on exhibits for children. They love nothing more than to jump in the cockpit, buckle up, and take off.


The Lockheed C-5 is among the largest military aircraft in the world. designed and built by Lockheed, and now maintained and upgraded by its successor, Lockheed Martin. It provides the United States Air Force with a heavy intercontinental-range strategic airlift capability, one that can carry outsized and oversized loads, including all air-certifiable cargo. Since the first C5A  arrived at Travis AFB in 1970, it has continuously been called upon to move cargo worldwide. Our C-5 simulator was actually used by aircrews at Travis AFB until it was retired.

Mercury Capsule:

(Hands on) Project Mercury was the first human spaceflight program of the United States, running from 1958 through 1963.Our first astronauts rode Mercury capsules into space in  suborbital, then full orbital flight.  Step into our Mercury capsule simulator and use your imagination to imagine yourself blasting off into space (with the help of the "rumble switch" by the entrance to simulate take-off)

Kid’s Zone Exhibit Area

Kid’s Zone Exhibit Area

Kid’s Zone Exhibit Area

Kid’s Zone Exhibit Area

Kid’s Zone Exhibit Area

Kid’s Zone Exhibit Area

Kid’s Zone Exhibit Area

Kid’s Zone Exhibit Area

Kid’s Zone Exhibit Area

Kid’s Zone Exhibit Area

Kid’s Zone Exhibit Area

Kid’s Zone Exhibit Area

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