T-34A Mentor

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Manufacturer: Beechcraft Corporation
Designation: T-34
Version: A
Nickname: Mentor
Type: Trainer (Basic)
Length: 28' 8.5"
Height: 12' 8"
Wingspan: 33' 3.875"
Wingarea: 179.6 sq ft
Empty Weight: 2,960 lb
Max Weight: 4,300 lb
Crew: 2
No. of Engines: 1
Powerplant: Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-25 Turboprop
Shaft Horsepower: 550
Propellers:; 3-Bladed Hartzell constatn-speed
Range: 815 miles
Max Speed: 320 mph
Ceiling: 30,000

Designed in the 1940s for the United States military by Beechcraft Corporation, the T-34 Mentor is a single-engine, propeller driven trainer developed from the Beechcraft Model 35 Bonanza. By narrowing the fuselage and incorporating modern engines Beechcraft created a rugged trainer suitable for replacing the North American T-6 Texan military trainer of the Second World War. 

The first flight of the prototype was on December 2, 1948, after an extensive competition, the United States Air Force put the T-34 into service in 1953 as the T-34A Mentor, while the United States Navy followed in May 1955 with the T-34B.

The first production T-34A was delivered to Edwards Air Force Base, California, in October 1953 for evaluation, with deliveries to the Air Training Command beginning in 1954. The T-34A commenced service as USAF's initial primary flight trainer at contract pilot training bases across the southern United States, replacing the T-6 Texan trainers. 
The T-34A Mentor remained the standard USAF primary trainer until the introduction of the Cessna T-37 Tweet jet trainer in the late 1950s, replacing both the T-34A and T-28A. This also coincided with ATC's implementation of the Undergraduate Pilot Training program at various air force bases in the United States and the closure of the WW II era contract pilot training bases. As they were replaced by T-37s, many T-34As were turned over to USAF aero clubs at air force bases in the United States and USAF air bases overseas. In all, the USAF acquired 450 T-34As.

After construction in 1953 the museum’s T-34 Serial Number 53-3347 served as a training aircraft for the United States Air Force. After decades of playing a role in creating some of the finest pilots in the world, the museum’s T-34A Mentor served at the Barksdale Air Force Base LA before being transferred to the March AFB Aero Club prior to its transfer to the March Field Air Museum in 2022.