Boeing Air Force Trainer Completes First Test Flight

Boeing and Saab to land deal with US Air Force to provide service with next gen jet fighter trainer.

Boeing and Saab have announced that their next generation T-X aircraft trainer completed its first flight on December 20th.

Over the course of the jet’s 55-minute sortie, test pilot Steven Schmidt was able to prove that critical, though undisclosed, flight systems were certified for Air Force training standards.

Accompanied by chief pilot for air force programs Dan Draeger, the pair completed ground-based training and simulations.

“I’ve been a part of this team since the beginning and it was really exciting to be the first to train and fly,” said Steve Schmidt. “The aircraft met all expectations. It’s well designed and offers superior handling characteristics. The cockpit is intuitive, spacious and adjustable, so everything is within easy reach.”

The T-X trainer is facing competition to become the fifth-generation airframe. However, Boeing and Saab appear to have jumped out to an early lead over competitors, showing off several models of the T-X that are ready for flight and promising to have more rolling off the factory floor in short order.

A second T-X aircraft is currently in use strictly for ground testing, but is expected to fly in early 2017.

If selected as the Airforce’s next trainer, the T-X is expected to enter service in 2024. By that time most of the fighters in the U.S. Airforce’s arsenal should be stocked with F-22 and every flavor of F-35 fighter jets.

Given the T-X’s twin tails, which lend it high maneuverability, a state of the art cockpit and low maintenance costs, fifth-generation pilots should be well equipped for the 21st century’s most challenging missions.

The T-X will replace the aging T-38, once it takes to the sky’s.

For the latest Boeing T-X updates, visit or search #NewBoeingTX on Twitter.