|Fred Harl and Carmelo Turdo|
The T-34 was a Beechcraft private venture effort to propose a replacement primary training aircraft to replace the T-6 Texan in all branches of U.S. armed forces. Following World War II, Beechcraft developed the V-tailed Model 35 Bonanza featuring tricycle landing gear in 1947. The new trainer was based on the Bonanza heritage, but with tandem seating and single vertical tail design. From 1949-1950, Beechcraft put the YT-34 on tour across the U.S. to gain support for the project, and eventually bested other competitors for the primary trainer contract. Subsequently, the USAF began service with the T-34A in 1953, and U.S. Navy did the same with its T-34B in 1955. The USAF retired its T-34As in the 1960s, but the U.S. Navy continued to use its piston-powered trainers until their replacement with the T-34C Turbo Mentor in 1977. The civilian designations for the former military aircraft were A-45 (T-45A) and D-45 (T-34B). Also, T-34As (B-45) were sold to foreign countries, and others were built in Japan, Canada and Argentina.
Several hundred T-34s remain in civilian ownership to date, with many performing publicly in some capacity at airshows and fly-ins across the country. When flown within performance envelope, the classic T-34 can present a graceful aerobatic display at less cost than many other aircraft of its era. Airshow performers such as Julie Clark, the Lima Lima Flight Team and of course the Texas Twisters fly the T-34 with plenty of smoke to mark the smooth turns, loops and rolls of their aerobatic routines.
The Aero Experience Team brings to you some of the T-34s we saw at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2014 both in the air and in the Warbirds Area. Can you spot the Texas Twisters T-34s we featured in the previous post?