|Fred Harl and Carmelo Turdo|
The T-34 was a Beechcraft private venture effort to propose a 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 it eventually won 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 the Texas Twisters fly the T-34 with plenty of smoke to mark the smooth turns, loops and rolls of their aerobatic routines.