The Temco Super Pinto
Introducing the Pinto
The Temco Model 51 had been initially proposed to the US Air Force in response to an Air Force competition for a jet-powered primary trainer, which was won by the Cessna T37 Tweet. The concept behind the Model 51 was an attempt to provide primary training in a jet-powered aircraft. The official name for the Model 51 was the Pinto.
The Pinto was a mid-wing, tricycle landing gear trainer with an enclosed cockpit powered by a single Continental J69-T-9 (license-built Turbomeca Marboré jet engine.
Pintos were equipped with many of the same features found in operational jets, including ejection seats, liquid oxygen equipment, speed brakes, along with typical flight controls and instrument panels.
Although the flight characteristics were considered good, the "wave off" capability was rated marginal due to being underpowered.
After its first flight in 1956, the prototype was sent to the Naval Air Test Center (NATC) Patuxent RIver...afterwhich Temco won a Navy contract to produce 14 of the aircraft, now designated TT-1.
The Dream Dies
Sadly, the Pinto was deeded a failure by the Navy, and no new Pintos were ordered. Furthermore, after several hundred Navy airmen earned their wings in Pintos, the Navy cancelled the program and surplused the Pintos...each with only about 500 hours apiece on the airframes.
The Super Pinto is Born
In 1968, Allen Paulson, president of California Airmotive/American Jet Industries bought a surplus Temco Pinto and reengined it with the CJ-610 producing more than three times the power at a weight penalty of only 20 lb. Developed for COIN (Counter-Insurgency) use the "Super" Pinto was a one-off but all except one other Pinto were later converted into "Super" versions.
Our Super Pinto
Our Super Pinto, N13PJ is one of 3 Super Pintos currently flying, out of 5 that are airworthy.
WHAM rescued her in 2011. She had been painstakingly refurbished in 2003, and then put away in a hangar...where she sat for the next 8 years.
Super Pinto Specifications
Length: 30 ft 9 in
Wingspan: 30 ft 0 in
Height: 10 ft 11 in
Gross Weight: 4,325 lb
Powerplant: 1 × GE J85 Turbojet, 2850 lbf thrust
Maximum speed: 450 kts, 517 mph
Cruising speed: 350 kts, 400 mph
Range: 347 nmi, 400 mi
Service Ceiling: 32,200 ft
Rate of Climb: 10,000 ft/min
Thrust to Weight: .66!