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The T-34 was the brainchild of Walter Beech, who developed it as the Beechcraft Model 45, a 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/SNJ Texan, then in use by all services of the U.S. military.

The basic aircraft began use in the late 1940s in South American countries, Japan, Spain and Turkey. In March 1953, the USAF ordered it as its new primary trainer, with the T-34A Mentor designation. Early versions of the T-34, dating from around the late 1940s to the 1950s, were piston driven with a Continental O-470, 225 hp engine; a total of 450 were acquired by the USAF but another 1,454 were built by companies in other countries for their use.

In 1954, the Navy acquired 423 of the T-34Bs. In 1973, Beech received a Navy research contract to see if the aircraft could be fitted with a 400 h.p. Pratt and Whitney turboprop engine and the latest electronics equipment. These were designated the T-34C Turbo-Mentor. In 1975, the Navy switched to the T-34C as their primary pilot trainer.

A T-34C-1 armament systems trainer version was developed with four underwing hard points for bombs, rockets, flares, anti-tank rockets and gun pods. They were widely exported.

The T-34 was replaced by the T-37 jet trainer by the USAF in the late 1950s and by the T-6 Texan II for the Navy in the mid-1980s.

The National Museum of WW II Aviation features WWII-era veterans!!


There are few WWII-era veterans left, and the National Museum of World War II Aviation is providing an opportunity for the community to meet-and-greet some of these honored WWII veterans.

Sunday, August 16, 2020 - 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The National Museum of World War II Aviation
775 Aviation Way, Colorado Springs, 80916

Scheduled to appear are:
Ed Beck—Army POW captured during the Battle of the Bulge who escaped from captivity.
Marilyn Doenges—Army nurse who served in the UK and Northern France
JJ Inman—P-51 pilot who flew missions in China
Noe Romero—Served on the U.S.S Yorktown at the Battle of Midway
Bill Roche—B-17 waist gunner who was shot down by German aircraft twice.
Cole “Junior” Griego—U.S. Navy Medic in the Battle of Iwo Jima

Advance admission purchases are advised for this event because advance ticket holders will be given priority to enter the museum. Appropriate social distancing and face masks will be required and strictly enforced.**

Historic note: 75 years ago on August 14, 1945 the Japanese surrendered, and hostilities in WWII ceased. The formal surrender of Japanese forces was signed Sept. 2, 1945.