T-34C Turbo Mentor: Aircraft profile

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The T-34C Turbomentor is an unpressurized two-seat, tandem cockpit low-wing turboprop trainer whose mission is to train Navy and Marine Corps pilots.

T-34C Turbo Mentor: An air-to-air right side view of a T-34C Mentor trainer aircraft.T-34C Turbo Mentor: An air-to-air right side view of a T-34C Mentor trainer aircraft.

Features

The T-34C is used to provide primary flight training for student pilots. As a secondary mission, approximately 10 percent of the aircraft provide pilot proficiency and other aircraft support services to Commander, Naval Air Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet; Commander, Naval Air Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet; and Naval Air Systems Command's "satellite sites" operated throughout the continental United States.

The T-34C was procured as a commercial-derivative aircraft certified under an FAA Type Certificate. The T-34C was derived from the civilian Beechcraft Bonanza. Throughout its life, the aircraft has been operated and commercially supported by the Navy using FAA processes, procedures and certifications.

T-34C Turbo Mentor: An air-to-air left front view of two T-34C Mentor aircraft flying in formation. The aircraft are assigned to the Airborne Board at Fort Bragg.T-34C Turbo Mentor: An air-to-air left front view of two T-34C Mentor aircraft flying in formation. The aircraft are assigned to the Airborne Board at Fort Bragg.

General Characteristics

Primary Function: Training platform for Navy/Marine Corps pilots.

Contractor: Raytheon Aircraft Company (Formally Beech Aircraft).
Date Deployed: Operational: 1977.
Unit Cost: $1 million.
Propulsion: Model PT6A-25 turbo-prop engine (Pratt & Whitney Aircraft of Canada).
Length: 28 feet 8 inches (9 meters).
Height: 9 feet 11 inches (3 meters).
Wingspan: 33 feet 5 inches (10 meters).
Weight: 4,425 Lb., Empty Wt. approx. 3,000 Lb.
Airspeed: Max: 280 Knots (322 miles per hour or 515 km per hour).
Ceiling: 25,000 Feet .
Range: Approximately 600 nautical miles.
Crew: Two (instructor pilot, student pilot).
Armament: None.

Source: US Navy

T-34C Turbo Mentor: A right side view of T-34C Mentor aircraft parked on the flight line.T-34C Turbo Mentor: A right side view of T-34C Mentor aircraft parked on the flight line.

Detailed background:

Source: wikipedia.org

The Beechcraft T-34 Mentor is a propeller-driven, single-engined, military trainer aircraft derived from the Beechcraft Model 35 Bonanza. The earlier versions of the T-34, dating from around the late 1940s to the 1950s, were piston-engined. These were eventually succeeded by the upgraded T-34C Turbo Mentor, powered by a turboprop engine. The T-34 remains in service almost six decades after it was first designed.

Design and development

The T-34 was the brainchild of Walter Beech, who developed it as the Beechcraft Model 45 private venture at a time when there was no defense budget for a new trainer model. Beech hoped to sell it as an economical alternative to the North American T-6/NJ Texan, then in use by all services of the U.S. military.

Three initial design concepts were developed for the Model 45, including one with the Bonanza's signature V-tail, but the final design that emerged in 1948 incorporated conventional tail control surfaces for the benefit of the more conservative military (featuring a relatively large unswept vertical fin that would find its way onto the Travel Air twin-engine civil aircraft almost ten years later). The Bonanza's fuselage with four-passenger cabin was replaced with a narrower fuselage incorporating a two-seater tandem cockpit and bubble canopy, which provided greater visibility for the trainee pilot and flight instructor. Structurally the Model 45 was much stronger than the Bonanza, being designed for +10g and -4.5g, while the Continental E-185 engine of 185 horsepower (hp) at takeoff (less than a third of the power of the T-6's engine) was the same as that fitted to contemporary Bonanzas.

T-34C Turbo Mentor: Training Wing 6 students spend six weeks learning the basics of air navigation, T-34 aircraft systems, meteorology, flight regulations and emergency procedures. After simulator training, trainees fill the front seat of T-34s for eight familiarization flights at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida. US Air Force Major William Kavchak, a T-34C pilot, prepares for takeoff on a flight with his wingman. This image was used in the May 2000 Airman Magazine article "Earning Wings of Silver & Gold".T-34C Turbo Mentor: Training Wing 6 students spend six weeks learning the basics of air navigation, T-34 aircraft systems, meteorology, flight regulations and emergency procedures. After simulator training, trainees fill the front seat of T-34s for eight familiarization flights at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida. US Air Force Major William Kavchak, a T-34C pilot, prepares for takeoff on a flight with his wingman. This image was used in the May 2000 Airman Magazine article "Earning Wings of Silver & Gold".

Following the prototype were three Model A45T aircraft, the first two with the same engine as the prototype and the third with a Continental E-225, which would prove to be close to the production version. Production did not begin until 1953, when Beechcraft began delivering T-34As to the United States Air Force (USAF) and similar Model B45 aircraft for export. In 1955 production of the T-34B for the United States Navy (USN) began, this version featuring a number of differences reflecting the different requirements of the two services. The T-34B had only differential braking for steering control on the ground instead of nosewheel steering, additional wing dihedral and to cater for the different heights of pilots, adjustable rudder pedals instead of the moveable seats of the T-34A. T-34A production was completed in 1956, with T-34Bs being built until October 1957 and licensed B45 versions built in Canada (125 manufactured by Canadian Car and Foundry), Japan (173 built by Fuji Heavy Industries), and Argentina (75 by FMA) until 1958. Beechcraft delivered the last Model B45s in 1959. Total production of the Continental-engined versions in the US and abroad was 1,904 aircraft Model 73 Jet Mentor

In 1955 Beechcraft developed a jet-engined derivative, again as a private venture, and again in the hope of winning a contract from the US military. The Model 73 Jet Mentor shared many components with the piston-engined aircraft; major visual differences were the redesigned cockpit which was relocated further forward in the fuselage and the air intakes for the jet engine in the wing roots, supplying air to a single jet engine in the rear fuselage. The first flight of the Model 73, registered N134B, was on 18 December 1955. The Model 73 was evaluated by the USAF, which ordered the Cessna T-37, and the USN, which decided upon the Temco TT Pinto. The Model 73 was not put into production.

Turboprop era

After a production hiatus of almost 15 years, the T-34C Turbine Mentor powered by a Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-25 turboprop engine was developed in 1973. Development proceeded at the behest of the USN, which supplied two T-34Bs for conversion. After re-engining with the PT6 the two aircraft were redesignated as YT-34Cs, the first of these flying with turboprop power for the first time on 21 September 1973. Mentor production re-started in 1975 for deliveries of T-34Cs to the USN and of the T-34C-1 armed version for export customers in 1977, this version featuring four underwing hardpoints. The last Turbine Mentor rolled off the production line in 1990

T-34C Turbo Mentor: Pensacola, Fla. (Jan. 26, 2005) - A T-34B Mentor trainer aircraft hangs in the North Atrium of the newly renovated Chevalier Hall building at the Naval Air Technical Training Center (NATTC) on board Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla. Chevalier Hall was rebuilt after being devastated with heavy damage from Hurricane Ivan in September 2004. Chevalier Hall is the home of aviation technical schools where new Sailors receive their initial training before being assigned to the Fleet. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 2nd Class Mark A. EbertT-34C Turbo Mentor: Pensacola, Fla. (Jan. 26, 2005) - A T-34B Mentor trainer aircraft hangs in the North Atrium of the newly renovated Chevalier Hall building at the Naval Air Technical Training Center (NATTC) on board Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla. Chevalier Hall was rebuilt after being devastated with heavy damage from Hurricane Ivan in September 2004. Chevalier Hall is the home of aviation technical schools where new Sailors receive their initial training before being assigned to the Fleet. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 2nd Class Mark A. Ebert

Operational history

The first flight of the Model 45 was on 2 December 1948, by Beechcraft test pilot Vern Carstens. In 1950 the USAF ordered three Model A45T test aircraft, which were given the military designation YT-34. A long competition followed to determine a new trainer, and in 1953 the Air Force put the Model 45 into service as the T-34A Mentor, while the USN followed in May 1955 with the T-34B. The US Air Force began to replace the T-34A at the beginning of the 1960s, while the U.S. Navy kept the T-34B operational until the early 1970s. As of 2007, Mentors are still used in several air forces and navies.

The T-34A and C were used by the Argentine Navy during the Falklands War.

In 2004, due to a series of crashes involving in-flight structural failure during simulated combat flights, the entire US civilian fleet of T-34s was grounded by the Federal Aviation Administration. The grounding has since been eased to a series of restrictions on the permitted flight envelope.

The T-34C is still used as the primary training aircraft for United States Navy and Marine Corps pilots. The T-34C is currently being replaced by the T-6 Texan II but is still the primary aircraft at NAS Corpus Christi and NAS Whiting Field. NAS Pensacola has already completed the transition to the T-6 and the first T-6s are scheduled to arrive at Whiting Field in summer 2009.

The Mentor is the aircraft used by the Lima Lima Flight Team and Dragon Flight, both civilian demonstration teams. It is also used by aerobatic pilot Julie Clark, who flies her T-34 "Free Spirit" (registration N134JC) at air shows.

Variants

YT-34

Prototype, three built.

T-34A

US Air Force trainer. Replaced by the Cessna T-37 around 1960 (450 built).

T-34B

US Navy trainer. Used until early 70s when it was replaced by the T-34C (423 built by Beechcraft).

YT-34C

Two T-34Bs were fitted with turboprop engines, and were used as T-34C prototypes.

T-34C Turbo Mentor

Two-seat primary trainer, fitted with a turboprop engine.

T-34C-1

Equipped with hardpoints for training or light attack. Widely exported.

Turbine Mentor 34C

Civilian version

T-34C Turbo Mentor: Key West, Fla. (Nov. 9, 2006) - Cmdr. David Woodbury assigned to Strike Fighter Weapons School Oceana, Va., conducts a pre-flight inspection on a T-34C "Turbo Mentor" at Naval Air Station Key West. Squadron aviators piloted the aircraft, affectionately know as wiener, and two others from Virginia to provide incentive rides to local Sailors who have performed well in their jobs. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Timothy CoxT-34C Turbo Mentor: Key West, Fla. (Nov. 9, 2006) - Cmdr. David Woodbury assigned to Strike Fighter Weapons School Oceana, Va., conducts a pre-flight inspection on a T-34C "Turbo Mentor" at Naval Air Station Key West. Squadron aviators piloted the aircraft, affectionately know as wiener, and two others from Virginia to provide incentive rides to local Sailors who have performed well in their jobs. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Timothy Cox

Operators

Military operators

Military T-34 operators

Algeria

Argentina

* Argentine Air Force
* Argentine Navy

Bolivia

Canada

Chile

* Chilean Air Force
* Chilean Navy
* Being replaced by the T-35 Pillán

Colombia

Dominican Republic

Ecuador

El Salvador

France

Gabon

Greece

Indonesia

Japan

Mexico

Morocco

Peru

Philippines

Republic of China

Spain

Turkey

United States

* United States Air Force
* United States Navy
* United States Marine Corps
* United States Coast Guard

Uruguay

Venezuela

Civil operators

Chile

* Club Aéreo de Santiago

Turkey

* Turkish Aeronautical Association
* Istanbul Havacilik Kulubu

United States

* Dragon Flight
* Lima Lima Flight Team
* NASA
* The San Diego Salute

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