Today in 1958 the T-2 Buckeye flew for the first time. If you were a US Navy or Marine Corps jet pilot or Naval Flight Officer (NFO) from the late 1950’s until 2004 you received training in the T-2 Buckeye. Affectionately called the ‘Fightin Buckeye’ or ‘Pregnant Guppie’ because of its fuselage shape the T-2 served almost 50 years before it was officially retired in 2008.


A U.S. Navy North American T2J-1 Buckeye trainer aircraft (BuNo 148200) of training squadron VT-7 on the catapult of the training aircraft carrier USS Antietam (CVS-36) in the early 1960s.

The Buckeye was the first jet that carrier pilots in training used to initially land on the ship learning the trademark skill of Naval Aviation. The jet was designed to be a multi-role training aircraft and was utilized by the Navy in the intermediate jet training stage. Student pilots completed the intermediate jet training stage flying the T-2 when they successfully landed on the aircraft carrier for the first time. Then student pilots moved on to advanced jet training flying the A-4 Skyhawk.

All T-2 Buckeyes were manufactured by North American at Air Force Plant 85, located just south of Port Columbus Airport in Columbus, Ohio. 273 aircraft were built during its production run. The name Buckeye refers to the state tree of Ohio, as well as the mascot of the Ohio State University.” – Wikipedia

Aviation is inherently dangerous but carrier aviation especially so. October 29, 1989 a US Navy T-2C Buckeye piloted by a student pilot, crashed on the training carrier USS Lexington (AVT-16). Five people were killed including the pilot. Note that student pilots fly solo on their first carrier landings.

Watch the T-2 Buckeye Crash on the Lexington