|STANDARD DATA: Seats 2. Gross wt. 2,950. Empty wt. 2,156. Fuel capacity 50. Engine 225-hp Continental.
PERFORMANCE: Top mph 189. Cruise mph 173. Stall mph 53. Initial climb rate 1,120. Range 975. Ceiling 20,000. Takeoff distance (50′) 1,200. Landing distance (50′) 960.
An outstanding buy in a military surplus aircraft, when you can find one, is the Beech T-34 Mentor. Built originally for the U.S. Air Force and Navy pilot training programs, a few are found now in civilian life. In Japan, the Fuji Company built 176 T-34s for Japanese and Philippine military forces. The Canadian Car and Foundry produced 125 Mentors, and an additional 75 were assembled in Argentina. The tandem two-seaters are today highly prized for civilian use since they are fully aerobatic if all FAA maintenance advisory bulletins have been followed. A series of in-flight wing failures has led to a number of airworthiness directives as well.
The Mentor makes wide use of standard parts from the Beech Bonanza. The landing gear was designed to survive the hard simulated carrier landings practiced by student pilots. Mentors are often found in military flying clubs and, due to top military maintenance, are usually in top condition. If you can find a T-34 with all airplane logs complete, you’re no doubt getting an excellent plane for your money. Under a U.S. Navy development program, Beech has upgraded T-34 Mentors to turbine-powered YT-34s. Using only 400-hp from the 715-hp turbine engine, the modified aircraft have exceeded 275 mph. The ultimate objective was to provide all-new turbine-powered aircraft in the Navy pilot training program.