Today In Aviation History – March 26, 1956 – First Flight Temco TT Pinto

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March 26, 1956.  First flight of the Temco TT Pinto.

The Temco Model 51 had been initially proposed to the US Air Force in response to an Air Force competition for a jet-powered primary trainer, which was won by the Cessna T-37 Tweet. The concept behind the Model 51 was an attempt to provide primary training in a jet-powered aircraft. The official name for the Model 51 was the Pinto.

The Pinto was a mid-wing, tricycle landing gear trainer with an enclosed cockpit powered by a single Continental Motors J69-T-9 (license-built Turbomeca Marboré) jet engine. The aircraft carried no armament.

The TT-1s were equipped with many of the same features found in operational jets, including ejection seats, liquid oxygen equipment, speed brakes, along with typical flight controls and instrument panels. Although the flight characteristics were considered good, the “wave off” capability was rated marginal due to being slightly underpowered.

After its first flight in 1956, the prototype was sent to the Naval Air Test Center (NATC) Patuxent River to be evaluated alongside the Beech Model 73 Jet Mentor. Fourteen of the aircraft, designated TT-1, were produced between 1955 and 1957

The picture above is of a “Super Pinto” taken at the 2013 Thunder Over Michigan air show.  In 1968, American Jet Industries (AJI) (later to become Gulfstream Aerospace) re-engined a TT-1 Pinto, replacing the J69 with a 2,850 lbf (12.7 kN) General Electric CJ610 (the civil version of the J85), with the modified aircraft, the T-610 Super Pinto, flying on 28 June 1968. The new engine significantly increased performance, with maximum speed reaching 450 kn (518 mph; 833 km/h), and AJI marketing the aircraft as a light attack aircraft. The prototype Super Pinto, together with drawings and production rights, were purchased to the Philippines Air Force, which planned to build the aircraft as the T-610 Cali.