T-3A supplemental type certification issued by FAA
Released: 7 Jan 1999
RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas (AFPN) -- Air Education and Training Command completed the first step to get the Air Force's T-3A Firefly flying again recently.
The command recently received a supplemental type certification for the aircraft from the Federal Aviation Administration's Southwest Region Airplane Certification Office.
Issuance of the supplemental type certification is the first of many steps in the process of returning the Firefly to operational flying. The T-3A has been suspended from flying since July 1997 because of ground and air engine stalls.
The Air Force's T-3A Broad Area Review, completed spring 1998, agreed to implement a series of 10 modifications to the aircraft to correct the engine stoppage problem. The Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center at Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., previously contracted Science Applications International Corporation to develop the modification kit for the aircraft. The FAA then flew a prototype modified T-3A to determine the airworthiness of the modifications.
According to officials at the logistics center, the next steps include ensuring the fuel system fits as designed and verifying the installation instructions, updating the design drawings, finalizing production kits and completing the kit installation on the 110 aircraft.
There are several factors, such as changes to designs and lead times for buying parts, which may slow or delay the process. The FAA will flight test the first production aircraft to confidence check the installation process.
Once T-3As are returned to flight, AETC can begin another step on the road to returning to T-3 operations -- the process of screening and training instructor pilots.
AETC officials estimate a minimum of 18 to 24 months before the T-3A is back in operation. (Courtesy of AETC News Service)