T-38C, Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Test Pilot, Usntps, Test Pilot Students, F4d Skyray, Paint Scheme, Navy Test Pilot School

T-38C, Naval Air Station Patuxent River

History, Imagination & Opportunity Combine In The New Paint Scheme On This U.S. Navy Test Pilot School T-38

History, Imagination & Opportunity Combine In The New Paint Scheme On This U.S. Navy Test Pilot School T-38

10/24/2021 10:42:00 PM

History, Imagination & Opportunity Combine In The New Paint Scheme On This U.S. Navy Test Pilot School T-38

For two-thirds of its history, the U.S. Navy Test Pilot School has used Northrop’s small, fast T-38 trainer as a teaching tool. Clothed in a simple white and orange paint scheme , the jets are arguably the poster image for TPS. But with a freshly painted T-38C , there’s a new twist on that image.

The high performance, analog T-38s got their best-recognized white with orange stripe paint schemes in 1986 and nine of the ten Talons in the TPS fleet remain in the familiar markings. But in 2020, one of them was due for some major depot-level maintenance and a fresh coat of paint.

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Tail number 15 or “Tester 15” as the TPS squadron calls it, was scheduled to head to NASA’s Ellington Field near the Johnson Space Center in Houston. Ellington hosts a maintenance facility for NASA’s fleet of T-38N aircraft which the Agency has used for pilot proficiency/training for astronauts since the mid-1960s. The depot maintains TPS’ Talons too.

Tester 15’s upcoming maintenance sojourn got the staff at TPS thinking CDR DeBons says.“The tradition in a lot of Naval aviation squadrons, especially carrier squadrons, is that one of the aircraft has a special paint job. We looked at the [maintenance] timeline and thought, ‘All of our airplanes are orange and white. Why don’t we do a special custom paint job for one the T-38s, what we call a ‘CAG bird’ in the Fleet?” headtopics.com

“CAG Bird’ is a throw-back term, referring to an aircraft assigned to the Carrier Air Group commander before the title Air Wing commander became the norm. The school’s operations and maintenance teams discussed the idea and sent out an all-hands request for suggestions for a “cool paint job” to the 300 members of the command. That got David Rosol’s attention.

Rosol is a supervisor for USNTPS’ Aviation Life Support Systems Work Center. He saw the call for suggestions as “an opportunity to do something creative for the squadron.” His eight years with TPS come on top of a lifetime of interest in naval aviation stretching back to a childhood in which he built scale-model kits of Navy airplanes.

In a fitting circle, the kid who once glued together model airplanes now had the chance to design an important paint scheme for a real one.David Rosol's paint scheme for Tester 15 hit all the right notes with the instructors and staff at... [+]USNTPS.

US Navy Test Pilot School“I wanted to capture the history, not just of TPS, but of the test aircraft flown at NAS Patuxent River and their former paint schemes,” Rosol explains. “I brainstormed different ideas and came up with four or five I wanted to run with. I put them all on paper but two really caught my eye, one blue and one orange and white. I kind of ran with the blue.” headtopics.com

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David Rosol's inspiration can be seen in the Test Pilot School's crest, worn as a flight suit patch... [+]by instructors and staff.USNTPSRosol took inspiration the school’s shield and the patch its instructors wear, suggesting the colors, the stars, slide rule and orange flash in his scheme. Its inset silhouette of a Douglas F4D Skyray, a 1950s-era jet fighter that the school used in the 1960s, struck a chord with him as well.

“Some of the aircraft we had here at TPS back in the 1960s and early 1970s had that silhouette on the tail. I tried to bring that history back life. The orange stripe pays homage to all those other orange and white airplanes out there.”The unique two-seat TF-8A Crusader served with the Navy Test Pilot School in the 1960s and early

... [+]1970s. Note the F4D Skyray silhouette on its vertical tail.John H. Tegler collection“Dave’s two designs very quickly moved to the top of the stack and we spent some time discussing his blue and orange versions,” TPS’ Skipper says. CDR DeBons relates that Rosol had not just put them on paper, he took the time to paint and decal-up two small briefing models of the T-38 that the squadron uses regularly.

The squadron’s senior instructors and department heads put several competing designs to a blind vote and the result was unanimous. “Everybody went for Dave’s blue design.” DeBons says. Like his colleagues, DeBons appreciated the departure of the blue design with the orange hints to tradition “We all love it,” he affirms. headtopics.com

The newly painted Tester 15 returned from Houston in July, two days prior to the USNTPS change-of-command when DeBons took the helm of the squadron. The school currently has two classes aboard with a combined 62 students from the Navy Air Force, Army and foreign militaries. The senior class will graduate March 11, 2022 and with any luck, most of them will have had the chance to go up in the freshly redone airplane.

“When pilots see that they’re on the flight schedule to fly Tester 15, they’re happy because it gets a lot of attention and it’s cool looking” DeBons confirms. “We treat it just like any other airplane, it’s used for student syllabus flights.”Attention to the CAG Bird has extended across the Navy and to a recent international test pilots’ conference with other test pilot schools where Tester 15 featured prominently in USNTPS’ command brief.

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Paint is just paint but the morale and espirit de corps building qualities of the new scheme on Tester 15 are significant. They’re a little extra motivation for the USNTPS team including CDR DeBons who says he’s been lucky enough to fly the airplane - even though he’s not qualified in the T-38.

Read more: Forbes »

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More Fluff from forbes. Go look out the window. Things ain't going so well. To many americans hate each other, the new game, to worry about a fluff story about a paint job on a war (trainer) plane. History means the genocide of the native Indian Americans correct? Devils. new paint, same ole piece of sh&&

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