The Beechcraft T-34 Mentor is an American 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 more than six decades after it was first designed.
The Dixie Wing, CAF, T-34, N687HV is one of those significant trainers used to train many thousands of Navy/Marine Corps and Air Force pilots, which may well have included some of the Blue Angels pilots you have enjoyed watching. Our T-34B is a Beechcraft design and was delivered to the US Navy in August, 1955, which makes it one of the earliest T-34s to enter Naval Service. From 1955 to April 1976, it trained many Navy/Marine Corps pilots at Whiting Field, FL, Saufley Field, FL, And Corpus Christy, TX. It was then placed in storage at Davis Monthan, AZ until its retirement from the Navy in 1979. N687HV then began its second military career when it was sold to the Dominican Republic Air Force, who sent it to a civilian T-34 overhaul specialist company where the airframe was overhauled and a new upgraded higher horsepower IO-520 285hp engine was installed. After serving the Dominican Republic Air Force well for many years, N687HV was sold, along with several others, to a civilian owner and was moved to its new home in Florida. There, it sat unused for about 5 years. Although it was now kept in a hangar, its previous life was spent outside in tropical humid weather which took its toll on the airframe in the form of surface corrosion and general neglect. Fortunately for N687HV, it was then donated to the Commemorative Air Force and assigned to their Dixie Wing. The airplane was then brought into airworthiness compliance by a Certified Repair Station with extensive T-34 experience, where they completed the necessary FAA Air Worthiness Directives and repairs. Then it was relocated to its permanent new home with the Dixie Wing at Peachtree City, Georgia.
On December 15th, 2016, the CAF Dixie Wing’s Beechcraft T-34B Mentor took to the skies for the first time after a meticulous restoration by unit volunteers. General George Harrison and Jack Van Ness took off around 2:30pm from Atlanta Regional Airport and flew around the patch for about an hour. During the flight, they followed strict engine break-in protocol and tested the various aircraft systems. Read more…