Thursday , 23 March 2017

FAQ

Disclaimer: The information on the FAQ page is ADVISORY ONLY. Each pilot and/or owner is responsible for independently verifying the information displayed here. The T-34 Association does not warranty the correctness or completeness of the information shown.

The T-34 Association posts the following information as a service to members of the T-34 Association and the T-34 community. We do not thoroughly research the answers to questions. Anything that looks like advice on the page is one person's opinion. Add whatever you glean from it to your understanding of the subject that you are researching. Do not base any decision solely on what you read here.

How does this page work? We (webmasters) asked members of the T-34 Association for input for this page. They send questions and answers that they wondered about or have been asked and we put them up here for the world to see. If you are a "New to the T-34" person, you can send us a question (webmaster@t-34.com), we will farm it out to our "chat list" for a "crowd-sourced" answer, and put it here. We also have a "New Guy" forum on our website that is open to non-members who are seeking information about the T-34. Feel free to ask away.

Here is a crazy idea: For a mere $25 you can join the T-34 Association and get your email address on our "chat list" and ask your questions directly to the 200+ T-34 owners and pilots who hang out on the list. We take PayPal...it's easy and cheap...see the “Becoming a Member” 

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T-34 Basics

Q: What is the difference between the “A” and the “B”?

A: The main differences between the “A” and the “B” include:

- The certification category; the “A” was certified in the Acrobatic Category while the “B” is Utility category. This allows the “A” models to perform aerobatics.

- The fuel system; the “A” has L/R/OFF selector and feeds directly from the selected tank. The “B” has BOTH/OFF and feeds to a 4 gallon header tank.

- Seat & Rudder pedals; “A” has vertically and horizontally adjustable seat but fixed rudder pedals. The “B” has adjustable rudder pedals and the seat only adjusts vertically.

- Dihedral;  The “B” has 1 degree more dihedral than the “A”

Beyond those basic differences there are numerous STCs for engines, fuel tanks, avionics, batteries, etc. so differences between even the same model aircraft can be significant.

Q: How many gallons of fuel does the T-34 hold?

A: The standard T-34 has 50 gallons usable. Some T-34s have slightly smaller fuel bladders resulting in only 45 gallon usable. It is important to verify which you have. Additional STCs allow for a 40 gallon “wet wing” for 80 gallons total, Parks drop tanks for 102 gallons or 15 gallon tip tanks which also give an 80 gallon total. The Parks STC for the tip tanks also increases the MTOW to 3,200 and 3,600 for the drop tanks.

Q: How much baggage can be put in the T-34?

A: One of the great qualities of the T-34 is the ability to be a sort of jack of all trades. Its large baggage compartment easily allows for 4 normal airline size carry-on bags. The door has an irregular shape but the basic dimensions are 14 ½“ along the top, 19 ½“ along the bottom and 18 ½“ tall. It is 33 ½“ in width (or depth). The actual compartment is larger than the door but also has a slight irregular shape as rear cockpit bulkhead makes up the front of the baggage and it has a slight slope to it. The top is approximately 16”, the bottom is approximately 22” and it is 25 ½“ tall. The maximum baggage load is placarded at 100 lbs.

Q: Over the years, have heard something about bungee cords on the rudder/aileron hook up. Can you enlighten me on that?

A: The bungees were added as T-34s were converted to civilian use. The intent was to provide rudder input automatically with application of aileron. Most T-34s have had the bungees system removed through one of several STC's.

Buying a T-34

Q: What are the main items to look for when looking for a T-34 to purchase? What are the questions I should be concerned about and ask the seller?

A: Go to this page for a collections of responses from several T-34 owners to this question.

Insurance

Q: Insurance? What is the average "ball park" cost per year for a policy for a T-34 costing between $150K and $200K for pilots having lots of high performance and retractable time?

A: Liability insurance for “pleasure & business” is about $225 for $1M / $100k per passenger. Hull insurance is expressed in a rate per $100 of value. For example a $145,000 hull value would carry a $2,030 annual premium for a hull rate of $1.40 per $100.

Q: Is there one insurance company that provides the best and lowest cost service for T-34 owners? 

A: There are currently 3 companies providing insurance underwriting for warbirds. You will likely be with one of these. Remember that your Broker is not your Underwriter.

Q: Who can give me training for insurance purposes?

A: Your insurance underwriter will determine your specific requirements for based on your qualifications. A fairly common requirement is to receive a minimum of 10 hours of dual instruction in the aircraft. Your insurance underwriter will usually require this person be familiar with and qualified in the Beech T-34.

Inspections

Q: Are there any "required" inspections other than an "annual" for the T-34 due to its age or any other reasons?

A: As with any GA aircraft if you operate it commercially (for hire) with passengers or for instruction then you must have a 100 hour inspection in additional to the annual inspection. Depending on which STC's and AMOC's your T-34 has there are different inspection intervals.

Engines

Q: I believe the Continental 225 HP 0-470 is the stock engine that came on the T-34, but recently saw one or two ads with the 0-550. I believe that to be a 285 HP engine, but not sure. 

A: The stock aircraft came with a Continental O-470. Some later aircraft had the O-470 260 hp engine. Many of today’s aircraft have been modified to the IO-520 BB (285 hp) or the IO-550 B (300 hp). A few have been upgraded to the IO-550 R (310 hp). The IO-520 BB can be converted to an IO-550 B during overhaul.

Q: What are the flight performance figures for these two engines? GPH, power settings, cruise speeds at the same altitude? Range? Etc?

A: There is a climb and cruise performance increase as well as reduction in takeoff roll with additional horsepower. The difference between an original 225 hp to a 300 hp can be quite significant (135 KTAS vs. 165 KTAS). An IO-520 at 6,000’ and 75% power will give a 165 KTAS while burning 15.5 gph at 50 degrees rich of peak. Range/Endurance is really dependent on throttle position and fuel tank mods!

Q: I've read some articles on GAMIjectors for the T-34. Do these really perform, worth the cost and save 1-2 GPH as published in the sales articles?

A: Depending upon the engine a savings of 1 – 2 gph is not uncommon when running LOP with GAMI injectors.

Q: What does a major overhaul cost on a 225 HP Continental? 285/300 HP?

A: Your overhaul cost will depend on how you operated the engine, its time since last overhaul and total time on the engine. Some average costs would be:

O-470 = $25,000

IO-520 = $28,000

IO-550 = $31,000

Operating Costs

Q: What do they cost to operate?

A: This will depend upon how the aircraft is operated (i.e. ROP, LOP, 75% power vs. 55% power, acro, formation, etc.) and where it is based. A good rule of thumb is about $150 per hour with fuel, engine, prop, and maintenance reserves. This does not include any fixed costs such as annual inspection, insurance, hangar, etc. 

Q: Is there adequate support and parts? Are they expensive?

A: The T-34 is based on the Beech Bonanza which is still in production. As a result there are plenty of parts available for the T-34 from many suppliers and since it is an American airplane it uses standard AN hardware so no need for metric wrenches or inventing parts!

Financing

Q: What loan company has been the most favored by the Association Members for an aircraft loan to purchase a T-34. What is the current interest rate and for how many years the loan is for?

A: There are several lenders who are willing to lend on warbird aircraft. In 2009 typical rates were 7.6% on a 20 year loan.

STCs

Q: Are there any STCs for the T-34 and what would they be?

A: There are numerous STCs available for the T-34 for upgraded engines, wing tanks, avionics, and much more.

T-34 Community

Q: What is the community like? (are they fun, communicative, welcoming, helpful, etc.)

A: The T-34 Association has more than 300 members worldwide. There are large gatherings of T-34s every year at Oskosh, Sun’n’Fun, Tulahoma, and numerous member hosted fly-ins throughout the country and virtually every region has a group of T-34’s nearby. Go to Becoming a Member, 

Q: How do I join the T-34 Association’s “chat list”?

A: First you have to be a member of the T-34 Association. Then to subscribe to the T-34 Association’s “chat list” send an email to t34chat+subscribe@googlegroups.com from the same email address for you in the T-34 Association’s member database and we will add your address to the list.

Airworthiness Issues

Q: Are the T-34s fixed?

A: Were they ever broken?...but that is another story. There are multiple AMOCs (Alternate Method of Compliance) for the ADs (Airworthiness Directive) that were issued by the FAA on the T-34 spars and center section. See Airwrothiness Issues page for details about the various AMOCs.

 Q: Why were the wings coming off?

A: Two words: Fatigue and abuse. Click here for details.

 Q: Are T-34s on the verge of being grounded for good?

A: No. In fact due to the recent AMOC's the T-34 fleet is arguably one of the safest and "newest" out there when it comes to aging aircraft.

Q: Are there any other flight control or mechanical problems I should be concerned about cropping up in the future as with the wing spar problem, such as corrosion problems, original flight instruments or avionics replacements, etc?

A: As with any aircraft a thorough pre-purchase inspection is highly recommended. The T-34 has been in service now for 57+ years and in that time has proven to be a rugged and reliable aircraft. A properly maintained and cared for aircraft has no life limit and with the attention that has been given the aircraft for the last 10 years the weakest areas of the aircraft have been addressed and now have long term improvements. There is no reason to not expect the T-34 to be flying for another 50+ years.

All information on the T-34 Association’s website is provided for your information.

You are responsible for determining applicability to your situation.