T-28 History

From the very beginning of North American Aviation's (NAA) original prototype design for the Navy, follow along the T-28's history into the advanced jet transition trainer for the USAF, primary trainer and carrier qualification trainer for the USN, into it's role as a counterinsurgency warbird in the SE Asia conflict. The T-28 was unique in that it was one of just a few aircraft types that served all branches of the US military and many foreign military. After it's retirement it continued to served in many civilian uses and today is one of the more popular airshow aircraft performing worldwide.

T-28 Trojan Aircraft

1946-10-01 00:00:00


Responding to the Navy's request for a new basic trainer to replace the SNJ, engineers at North American Aviation developed prototype XSN2J-1, redesigning the SNJ's fuselage by converting the tail wheel with conventional tricycle gear, adding a tail hook for carrier landings and powering it with an 1100 hp1830-78 Wright Cyclone radial engine with a three bladed Hamilton Standard prop. Although the Navy did not award the contract to NAA, it left an indelible impression for future generations to come. If not for the Navy, the T-28 might not have been conceived.

1947-10-01 00:00:00

XBT-28 Prototype

A year later, the USAF recognized the potential of NAA's prototype XSN2J-1 to develop as their own trainer. NAA re-engineers it into a new prototype, XBT-T-28 to meet USAF specifications to replace their primary trainer, the T-6.

1949-09-24 20:49:06

XBT-28 First Flight

The XBT-28 was flown for the first time. Designed as a jet transition trainer, the cockpit and a/c systems were identical to the F-86 Sabre jet. Upon production it was designated as the T-28A model.

1950-06-15 20:49:06


The T-28A arrived at the Air Proving Ground, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, in mid-June 1950, for suitability tests as an advanced trainer by the 3200th Fighter Test Squadron, with consideration given to its transition, instrument, and gunnery capabilities. Found satisfactory, a contract was issued and between 1950 and 1957, a total of 1,948 were built. The A model had a 800 hp Wright R-1300-7 radial engine, two bladed prop and tricycle gear with nose steering.

1953-04-06 20:49:06

T-28B First Test Flight

R.A. 'Bob' Hoover after the first test flight of T-28B BuNo 137636

1956-05-01 19:05:53


The VNAF was created January 31, 1955. By mid May 1956, the United States started to train and advise the South Vietnamese Air Force. The VNAF was supplied with T-28's which could carry a small bomb load.

1961-01-01 00:00:00

Jungle Jim

President Kennedy authorizes 4400th CCTS to mobilize from Elgin Air Force Base to Bien Hoa South Vietnam to train South Vietnamese AIr Force to fly T-28's in offensive tactics. Becomes known as the 1st Air Commando Wing.

1961-06-01 00:00:00

Farm Gate

Codename for the USAF 4400 CTS T-28 unit and it's mission to support ground forces under fire. Flew with Vietnamese colors. After the Gulf of Tonkin incident the unit flew with USAF colors and became known as the 1st Air Commando Squadron then later as the 1st Special Operations Wing.

1962-08-28 00:00:00

First Vietnam War Casualty

A FT-28 Trojan (53-8376) was the first US fixed wing attack aircraft (non-transport type) lost near Lac ‑Hoa village at My Thanh in Soc Trang Province South Vietnam, during the Vietnam War. Capt. Robert L. Simpson, USAF, Detachment 2A, lst Air Commando Group, and Lt. Hoa, SVNAF, were shot down by ground fire on August 28, 1962 while flying Close Air Support (CAS). Neither crewman survived. The USAF lost 23 T-28s to all causes during the war, with the last two losses occurring in 1968.

1962-10-16 00:00:00

Capt. Bill L. Chambers

Capt Bill L Chambers flying FT-28 53‑8365 was shot down as an escort during a rescue mission and crash landed surviving with minor injuries. With the 6th Fighter Squadron, 1st Air Commando Group and temporarily assigned to Det 2A, Bien Hoa Air Base, South Vietnam.

1963-01-01 00:00:00

RLAF Lt. Sailbory Defects to North Vietnam

Lieutenant Chert Saibory, a Thai national flying for the RLAF in a T-28, defected to North Vietnam. Saibory was immediately imprisoned and his aircraft was impounded. Within six months the T-28 was refurbished and commissioned into the North Vietnamese Air Force as its first fighter aircraft.

1963-06-01 00:00:00


Cambodia also receives several T-28's. US Tech support pulls out after Prince Sihanouk expels MAAG. US returns in 1970 after he is overthrown.

1963-08-01 00:00:00


The Kingdom of Laos, RLAF initially receives 6 T-28's and USAF Mobile Training Team (MMT's) for instruction and maintenance at Wattey Air Base, Vientiane, Laos, flown to intercept and down supply flights. They were later to receive a total of 60 T-28's.

1964-01-01 00:00:00


Det. 6 1st Air Commando Wing departs Hurlburt Field for Udorn, Thailand. Primary mission to train Lao and Thai to fly T-28 as attack and bomber fighters mostly against supply trucks, gun positions and bridges.

1964-05-01 15:02:24

Air America

Air America pilots flew RLAF T-28's mostly as cover for rescue of downed US military pilots, later they flew bombing and strafing missions until additional Lao pilots were trained. The Air America pilots were the "A" team, Thai pilots were the "B" team and the Lao pilots were the "C" team, all flew under RLAF colors (some T-28's were unmarked) under the command of Det. 1 56th SOW.

1966-03-01 15:02:24

Project 404

U.S. government established Project 404 (sometimes referred to as “Palace Dog”), a system whereby military personnel could be "in the black" in that technically they were not in Laos. Individuals in Project 404 were assigned to out of country units and their in-country existence was classified for most of the 1964-1973 time period. Being in the Black allowed personnel to perform military duties as a civilian operating in Laos under the supervision of the Air Attaché (AIRA).

1966-04-01 15:02:24

Raven FAC's

A successor operation, code-named Palace Dog, began replacing the original Butterfly combat controllers. CIA officer Bill Lair working with Gen.Vang Pao recommended the use of Hmong interpreters flying in the back seat of aircraft (O-1's, U-17's, T-28's) flown by "sheep dipped" US military pilots operating under call sign "Raven." The Raven forward air controllers directed air strikes, marking enemy targets with smoke rockets, and then made bomb damage assessments. They were based in the five Military Regions in Laos: I) Luang Prabang, II) Long Tieng, III) Savannakhet, IV) Pakse, & V) Vientiane under the direction of the Air Attache (AIRA) and the Ambassador of Laos.

T-28 History

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