Beechcraft T-34B Mentor wood airplane model. The first flight of the T-34 was on December 2, 1948, by Beechcraft test pilot Vern Carstens. The United States Air Force ordered three test aircraft, which were given the designation YT-34. A long competition followed to determine a new trainer, and in 1953 the Air Force put the T-34 into service as the T-34A Mentor, while the United States Navy followed in May 1955 with the T-34B. T-34A production ran from 1953 to 1956, and licensed versions were built in Canada, Japan, and Argentina (75 by FMA). The US Air Force began to replace the T-34A at the beginning of the 1960s, while the US Navy kept the T-34B operational until the early 1970s. Mentors are still used in several Air Forces and Navies and have become very popular general aviation aircraft.