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Turkey grounds T-37 fleet for safety checks

The Turkish air force has halted flights with its Cessna T-37 jet trainers to perform technical checks on the type following two fatal accidents in the past six months.

A Pakistani instructor flying on an exchange tour and a trainee pilot were killed on 16 January when their aircraft crashed. Both crew members also died when their aircraft hit the sea near Izmir in a July 2011 incident.

 

© Turkish air force

Turkey began operating the T-37 in 1963, and has 49 B/C-model examples still assigned to the air force's 122nd Sqn at Izmir air base. The type is due to leave use in November, to be replaced by the Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) KT-1 turboprop.

Although suspended from flight operations, the air force said its T-37s will be returned to use after technical checks have been completed. The aircraft forms part of a pilot training system which also includes Alenia Aermacchi SF-260s and supersonic Northrop T-38s.

KAI and its local manufacturing partner Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) have so far delivered 24 KT-1s (one pictured below) to the Turkish air force, with another 16 scheduled for delivery by late this year.

 

© Turkish Aerospace Industries

Turkey is also developing a domestic trainer to support its incoming KT-1 fleet, with TAI's Hurkus ("Free Bird") to enter flight test in 2013.

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