During 1953, the Navy began evaluating and
ultimately accepted the Beechcraft T-34 "Mentor" over
the Temco "Plebe" as its new primary trainer.
Originally produced and utilized as a trainer for the Air Force,
the Navy chose to make enough changes in the basic design to
warrant construction of a new model designated the T-34B. A
total of 423 of them incorporating many minor changes (including
adjustable rudder pedals, an on-off fuel selector switch, and a
small alteration to the rudder), were built for the Navy between
1954 and 1958. Flying out of a satellite field of NAS Pensacola
and from NAS Whiting Field, Florida, the Navy would use the
T-34B for over twenty years accumulating almost 100,000 flight
hours per year. One aircraft accumulated 5,115 airframe hours
which included 16,459 landings, 17,904 stalls and 4,604 loops.
During the 1970s the Navy upgraded the T-34B
to the T-34C by replacing the conventional Continental 225 hp
engine with the more efficient Pratt & Whitney 400 hp
turboprop along with some structural strengthening for higher
operational weights. As a result, max speeds were increased from
188 mph to 257 mph. Beechcraft produced 334 models for the Navy
in a run that would last from 1977 to 1984. The T-34C is still
in use as the basic trainer for the Navy.