T-34 Update

  • E-Mail this Article
  • View Printable Article
  • Text size:

    • A
    • A
    • A

After nearly five months on the ground, the T-34 Mentor fleet is slowly finding its way back into the air. Thanks to a Herculean effort by the T-34 Association Inc., the FAA last week quietly granted owners a one-time 60-hour period to fly their Mentors, pending a permanent fix for the latest bout of spar cracking. Recall that a T-34 crashed in Texas on Dec. 7 after a center section spar gave way. Both occupants were killed. The FAA immediately grounded the fleet and the T-34 group went to work on a fix. To qualify for flight, each owner was required to compile a detailed history of the airplane and to inspect the center spar section for cracks around certain fasteners. Once approved, the flight envelope will be restricted to zero through 2.5 Gs and 152 knots. Only a handful had gotten airborne by late April but the return-to-flight pace was quickening. One of the first to fly was N34SY, a T-34 owned by General Aviation Modifications Inc. (GAMI), in Ada, Okla. GAMI is helping the T-34 Association engineer a long-term fix and this week's flight was to collect strain-gauge data. For a detailed report on the association's efforts, see the June issue of AVweb's sister publication, Aviation Consumer.