End of an era. Last training flight for the T-34C

Discussion in 'Modern' started by evangilder, Apr 28, 2012.

  1. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    On April 19, 2012, the era of the Hawker Beechcraft T-34C for US Navy training ended. Cmdr John Hensel (CO of VT-2) with student Naval Aviator Sarah Horn completed the final training flight for the T-34C Mentor, landing at NAS Whiting Field, Florida. The T-34C has been with TAW-5 since 1977 providing more than 2.8 million hours of instructional time.

    Sadly, a majority of these old T-34Cs are going right into the aluminum shredder. :(

    Here is a photo of the final taxi (US Navy Photo- Lt. JG Tim Mosso, photographer)
     

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  2. wheelsup_cavu

    wheelsup_cavu Well-Known Member

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    What a shame they aren't going to be sold to private collectors. I would think there would be great interest in them.


    Wheels
     
  3. gumbyk

    gumbyk Well-Known Member

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    #3 gumbyk, May 3, 2012
    Last edited: May 3, 2012
  4. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    Not really. They were in the process of phasing out the T-34Cs before this started happening. The T-34Cs have been operational since 1977. Some of the 34C models were reworked B models, some of which date back to the 50s. I'd say they were about due to retire. What really killed Hawker Beechcraft was the Light Attack contract that they didn't get to bid on that went to Embraer. But now it looks like the bidding process is back on. Don't know how that will effect HB, but I hope they can pull out and be okay. Both Hawker and Beech have some amazing histories.
     
  5. CharlesBronson

    CharlesBronson Well-Known Member

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    Nearly 40 years of good use, amazing, the T-34cs is still in service with the Argentine Navy.
     
  6. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    Yeah, it's used in quite a few other countries. Its a great airplane
     
  7. davparlr

    davparlr Well-Known Member

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    I remember well my last semester at the University of West Florida, when, after passing the Navy written pilot exam, I was invited to go for a flight. I went to Pensacola regional airport for my flight, I am not sure why not Whiting field or Sherman field, closer to UWF, I suppose. Anyway, I climbed into the back seat of a non-turbo T-34 and away we went. We flew over Pensacola Bay and did some loops and barrel rolls and rolls, probably meant to see if I got sick. I didn't. I thought that was totally cool.

    Too bad those are going to be scrapped. I would guess the airframe lifetime is used up. Life as a trainer is tough.
     
  8. Aaron Brooks Wolters

    Aaron Brooks Wolters Well-Known Member

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    It is sad to see them go but there are still some Bs out there in private hands doing quite well. I love going up in Bryon's when I get the chance.
     
  9. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    There are almost 100 A and B models still flying in civilian hands. There is one (maybe 2) of the C models in the civilian realm, but the rest are likely going to end up in the aluminum shredder, unfortunately. I got these photos about 15 months ago from Corpus Christi of a group of them lined up for shredding. The good news is that as the foreign ones get retired, they can sometimes end up back in the US, so there is still hope.
     

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  10. gumbyk

    gumbyk Well-Known Member

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    Anyone know why they haven't put them out for tender? Its not like they have any real military value.
     
  11. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    Not sure the justification for it. It's getting much harder to get the old military aircraft these days. I have friends in the warbird community that are looking to get some A-37 and T-37 parts out of the boneyard and just getting parts is darn near impossible anymore.
     
  12. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    That photo just makes me cringe......
     
  13. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    The US Government in its infinite wisdom have come up with several laws prohibiting the sale of surplus military equipment to the US public, this including aircraft. There is a liability factor involved when these aircraft wind up in civilian hands so the government feels it is just better to chop up these aircraft than deal with the potential liability. You can't buy one of these but you can import a MiG-29 into the US - Go figure!

    EAA News - Another Privately Owned MiG-29 Flies
     
  14. michaelmaltby

    michaelmaltby Well-Known Member

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    ".... The US Government in its infinite wisdom have come up with several laws prohibiting the sale of surplus military equipment to the US public ..."

    Twas ever thus ... military surplus doesn't stimulate the economy .... after WW2 or today ..:) Sadly.

    MM
     
  15. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    There will be a few around, although I doubt they will ever be as plentiful as the A and B models. NASA had their T-34C on display at Camarillo this year for the show. But it was sad to see it stuff in an out of the way corner. There are at least 2 other T-34s on the field there, I would have LOVED to have seen the C fly with one of the As or Bs like a Beech heritage flight.
     
  16. fubar57

    fubar57 Well-Known Member

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    Are there currently any in museums? Given the history of the lack of important aircraft such as this one preserved, one hopes maybe a few will be set aside.

    Geo
     
  17. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    I think the Navy Museum in Pensacola has a static display. There are others as well. Hopefully as they get retired with foreign fleets, they will make their way back to the US.
     
  18. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    There were some flying around this summer - I think I took these in May
     

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  19. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    This is just a personal observation, so there is no statistical value to the following comment...

    It seems to me that the Federal Government simply doesn't want to sell surplus aircraft because that would encourage GA, which seems to be under attack lately.

    On the other hand, it would certainly make sense to sell aircraft (whole or in part) to recover some expenses, much like they do with GSA vehicles. I'm not talking about the SR-71 or a F-117, but the older trainers and aircraft along those lines...hell, even the cold-war fossils languishing out at Davis-Mothan would make a few collectors quiver at the thought of the possability of a purchase...
     
  20. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    Unfortunately, there seems to be some truth to that, Dave. GA as a whole has been hammered by many factors. Fuel costs, regulations and a few bad apples have taken their toll on GA. That's not even taking into the account how the economy is. What many people don't realize is that when GA suffers, a lot of other things suffer as well. My last "boom" year was 2008. Since then, it's tougher to get planes together to fly, mainly because of the spiraling cost of AvGas.
     
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