Trainer Aircraft: T-38 Talon and others
The most common planes seen flying around the Edwards area are these
trainers. Here at Edwards, these planes are used almost exclusively as
"chase planes" and have been in
the skies of the Mojave Desert since the 1960's; making them the one aircraft that has been flying
here the longest.
These chase planes follow and help out the test pilots
of experimental aircraft. In the Air Force, the main role of a trainer is
just that: to train future pilots. But here at Edwards, these stable and
easy to fly aircraft are crucial in helping with the flight testing of aircraft that have
never flown before.
Edwards is now using some F-16's as chase planes, too, and the
neighboring NASA Dryden Flight Research Center uses a couple of modified
Navy F-18's when conducting NASA experimental flights.