Owners: T-28A: The Hunter Riley Family, T-34B: Billy “Smitty” Smith,
T-34C: Gregory Scileppi and T-28D: Ralph “SkyDoc” Glasser
Guests: Tom Donovan, Ralph “SkyDoc” Glasser, Mick “Thor” Thorstenson and Paul Walter.
Two iconic military aircraft will celebrate their 70th Anniversary this year. The people who operate and maintain these aircraft today will share the history of the T-28 and the T-34. After WWII the US military had over 45,000 trainers; but not a single one of them had a nose wheel; all were tail wheel aircraft. The Military realized all future fighter jets (transports and bombers) would be nose wheel, tricycle gear aircraft. They asked North American, builder of the successful AT-6 Texan, P-51 and B-25 to make an aircraft to fill the need for a high-performance trainer to transition from trainer to jets.
For over 35 years, from 1949 to 1984, T-28s served to train thousands of military aviators.
Interestingly, Bob Hoover was the test pilot for the T-28B. Warbird owners describe the T-28 as a real Cadillac in its handling.
The T-34 began in the 1940s designated as the Beechcraft Model 45 to replace the North American T-6. The maiden flight took place in December 1948. It was selected by 23 countries worldwide to train professional military pilots. The T-34 entered service with the USAF in May 1954 as the first
American primary trainer aircraft to be equipped with tricycle landing gear. Walter Beech so strongly believed that his nose wheeled Bonanza could be made into a very economical trainer that Beech used their own funds to develop the T-34 Mentor from the popular Bonanza. It was shown to the
public for the first time in July 1949. The Turbine conversion T-34C model made its last training flight for the Navy in 2012; 64 years after the first T-34 flew!