T-34B Mentor

Our T-34B Mentor Bu No. 140942




For photos of the disassembly of the Mentor, please click HERE.


For Photos of the transportation of the Mentor to her new home at the Air Victory Museum, please click HERE.









STATISTICS

Manufacturer

Beechcraft

Powerplant

One - Continental O-470-4 6 Cylinder Air Cooled engine Rated at 225 Horsepower

Crew

Two - Trainee and Instructor

DIMENSIONS

Length

29 ft. 11 in.

Wing Span

32 ft. 10 in.

Height

9 ft. 7 in.

Empty Weight

2,254 lbs.

Loaded Weight

 

Gross Weight

3,000 lbs.

PERFORMANCE

Max Speed

188 mph

Cruise Speed

170 mph

Combat Radius

 

Ferry Range

728 miles

Service Ceiling

19,500 ft.

Max Climb Rate

1,160 ft/min

Thrust/Weight

 

ARMAMENT

None




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.

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. Production of the T-34B for the United States Navy (USN) began in 1955, this version featuring a number of changes 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.