Military Aviation

T-3A Firefly

T-3A Firefly


The T-3A Firefly is a propeller driven aircraft used by the U.S. Air Force's Air Education and Training Command to screen pilot candidates by exposing them to military style traffic patterns, aerobatics and spins. It replaced the T-41 aircraft which is incapable of performing these maneuvers. It also teaches students takeoffs and landings, stalls, slow flight, ground operations and mission planning.


The T-3A is a Federal Aviation Regulation Part 23 aerobatically certified aircraft. It enables students to learn basic military style maneuvers which will be refined and built upon in future aircraft. The instructor sits in the left seat and the student in the right seat. The cockpit has dual throttles, stick controls, electric elevator trim and a sliding canopy.

The aircraft has a fully composite structure, an integral fuel tank in each wing and tricycle style, fixed landing gear. The fuel is automatically transferred by an engine-driven pump.


The T-3A is the newest version of Slingsby Aviation's T-67 Firefly line of military training aircraft. The prototype began flying in the summer of 1991, and the Air Force accepted delivery in February 1994. The T-3A is assigned to training squadrons in Hondo, Texas, and the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo.

General Characteristics

Primary Function: Primary screener in specialized undergraduate pilot training
Contractors: Slingsby Aviation Ltd., and Northrop Worldwide Aircraft Services Inc.

Power Plant: One Textron Lycoming Ltd. AEIO-540-D4A5 engine
Thrust: 260 horsepower
Length: 24 feet, 9 inches (7.5 meters)
Height: 7 feet, 9 inches (2.3 meters)
Wingspan: 34 feet, 9 inches (10.6 meters)
Maximum Takeoff Weight: 2,550 pounds (1,159 kilograms)
Speed: 155 miles per hour (.21 Mach)
Ceiling: 19,000 feet (5,790 meters)
Range: 352 miles (305.89 nautical miles)
Armament: None
Crew: Two (student pilot and instructor pilot)
Unit Cost: $295,000
Date Deployed: February 1994
Inventory: Active force, 112; Reserve, 0; ANG, 0

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