This week, the U.S. Air Force suffered two separate T-38 jet trainer crashes, one of them resulting in the death of the flight crew.
The first crash occurred during the morning of Thursday, February 18th 2021, at Beale Air Force Base, California. The aircraft had suffered a gear failure and performed a gear-up landing. According to a USAF press release, neither the pilots nor anyone on the ground was injured during the mishap, which is currently under investigation. The T-38 involved in the accident was assigned to the 9th Reconnaissance Wing, which operates the T-38 to provide currency to pilots for U-2 high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft and RQ-4 Global Hawk drones.
The second accident happened the following day, February 19th. According to TheAviationist, the aircraft involved was operating a training flight from Columbus, Mississippi, to Tallahassee, Florida. The T-38C, assigned to the 14th Flying Training Wing, crashed in a wooded area near Montgomery, Alabama. Sadly, a Japanese Air Self Defense Force 2nd lieutenant and a USAF instructor were killed in the crash.
— Jeff Sanders (@JeffSandersNews) February 20, 2021
Even though these accidents are completely unrelated, some questions regarding the aging T-38 fleet’s safety have emerged in the past years.
Despite that, the Air Force is planning to keep the aircraft in service as a supersonic jet trainer until its replacement by Boeing’s T-7A, which is expected to become operational in 2023.