SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE--The T-38A, a training jet used for more than 40 years by the Air Force, took off for the final time at Sheppard Air Force Base on Monday morning.
Sheppard's final T-38A was piloted by Colonel Jeffrey Kendall to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona where the plan will end up in the "boneyard".
"It's kind of a melancholy feeling takin' the last T-38A out," said Colonel Kendall, who learned how to fly in a T-38A in 1983 as a rookie Air Force pilot.
The T-38A with its instrument panel full of manual dials is being replaced by the T-38C, which features a digital panel with push buttons, and amenities like GPS and digital heads up display.
"The interaction with the C model is much more easy for our newest generation of student pilots," Col. Kendall said. "They come in and have computers in their rooms and Nintendos and Playstations at home. They come here and they fit right at home pushing all the buttons and changing all the displays."
According to Loren Stendahl, a contracted civilian flight simulator instructor, the T-38C simulators and T-38C planes make an easier transition to the newest generation of fighters like the F-15, F-16, and F-22.
"Hopefully because we've upgraded here it makes their transition to moder fighter aircraft much easier than it was with the old analog displays we had before," Stendahl said. "It's a lot easier for the younger kids than it is for us old people who have to re-learn stuff."
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