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Fri, Apr 16, 2004

The Return of The Red Knight

By ANN Correspondent Tyson Rininger

After taking an 11-year hiatus, the world famous Red Knight returns to the sky for the 2004 North America air show season. Although present at air shows in past years such as the Reno Air Races and Nellis Air Force Base, the Red Knight will be making its first official performance on April 17th and 18th at the annual EAA Sun and Fun convention in Lakeland, Florida. When he is not flying the former CT-133, Chris Rounds will have the aircraft on display in the Warbirds lot.

A solo aerobatic performer, the Red Knight was originally a part of the Royal Canadian Air Force's Training Command. Seventeen different pilots shared the aircraft from 1958 through 1969. The Red Knight performed at over six hundred air shows across North America despite being originally authorized to perform at only three. The Red Knight was commonly sent to venues considered too small for the aerobatics teams of the day. Despite having a comparably small budget in today's standards, the positive publicity achieved was tremendous. The Red Knight would often be an opening act for the Golden Hawks but also took part in many larger Canadian and US displays.

The Red Knight is a Canadian Silver Star more often referred to as the T-33 or T-Bird. The CT-133 Silver Star has a long and distinguished history with the Canadian Forces. Having evolved from America's first successful jet fighter, the Lockheed P-80, the T-33 was the world's first purpose-built jet trainer.

The RCAF's first introduction to the aircraft was in 1951, when the first of twenty Lockheed built T-33As were delivered on loan. The aircraft were known to the RCAF was the Silver Star Mk 1.

Canadair signed a license agreement with Lockheed to build T-33 aircraft for the RCAF on 13 September 1951. The Canadair T-33 built was to be powered by an uprated Nene 10 engine licensed by Rolls Royce and supplied by Orenda Ltd. Once in production, the aircraft were designated T-33 Silver Star Mk 3 by the RCAF. Eventually, a total of 656 aircraft were delivered to the RCAF between 1952 and 1959. The "T-Bird" has been used by a wide variety of Air Force and Navy units and continued its valuable service until the year 2000.

Specifications
  • Mk III
  • Crew / Passengers: 2 crew in ejection seats
  • Powerplant: one 5,100-lb Rolls Royce Nene 10 turbojet
  • Performance: Max Speed: 580 mph (930 km/h)
    • Cruising Speed at 35,000 ft asl: 450 mph (725 km/h)
  • Service Ceiling: 47,000 ft (14,325 m) Range: 1400 m (2,253 km) with tip tanks
  • Weights: Empty: 8,440 lbs (3,832 kg)
    • Gross: 16,800 lbs with tip tanks ( 7,627 kg)
  • Dimensions: Span: 42 ft 5 in (12.93 m)
    • Length: 37 ft 81/2 in (11.49 m)
    • Height 11ft 8 in (3.6 m)
    • Wing Area: 238 sq ft (22.11 sq m)
  • Armament: none - but provisions for two .50 cal Browning machine guns and under-wing pylons
FMI: www.redknightairshows.com

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