KEFD (Ellington Field) had a rare visit from VX-31 Dust Devils this past weekend, Jan 8-10, bringing with them a T-39D Sabreliner and a pair of F/A-18F Super Hornets. Of the three it was seeing the T-39D I enjoyed the most. That is because it is the only T-39 still in service with the Navy, and based on its BuNo (build number) 150992, quite possibly the oldest airframe in service with them today.
The Dust Devils are a test and evaluation unit based at China Lake, California. The Super Hornets are used as range support aircraft that can provide anything from “airborne target presentations to range instrumentation, threat calibration and photo and chase support”, while the T-39 is used “for captive flight-testing as well as evaluating various test articles inclluding seekers, fuzes and radar systems” Sometimes it is manned by project personnel for ” data gathering” and “system evaluation”. More information on the T-39D can be found here: http://www.navair.navy.mil/nawcwd/vx31/aircraft/t39.html
Article and Pictures by Bill Havel